Tree stumps can be a pesky sight in your yard, but not everyone has access to a grinder for removal. If you find yourself in this situation, fear not! There are alternative methods for how to remove a tree stump without a grinder.

In this article, we’ll explore various DIY approaches to help you bid farewell to that stubborn stump.

How To Remove A Tree Stump Without A Grinder

Before we dive into the removal process, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Any DIY project carries its share of risks, so it’s essential to invest in proper safety gear and ensure you have the right tools for the job.

Equip yourself with work gloves, steel-toed boots, and eye protection. Additionally, it’s important to keep children and pets away from the work area during the stump removal process.

If you’re up for a bit of physical exertion, removing a tree stump manually is a viable option, especially if the stump has aged and dried out.

Follow these steps to get started:

  • Gather the Necessary Tools: To tackle the manual removal process, you’ll need a few key tools at your disposal. Make sure you have a shovel, mattock, bow saw or ax, and a heavy steel digging bar.
  • Clearing the Surrounding Area: Begin by unearthing the soil around the stump and clearing away any dirt. Take your time with this step, as it may require considerable effort, depending on the stump’s size.
  • Cutting Through the Roots: Once the roots become visible, it’s time to cut through them. Utilize the sharpened end of the ax to sever the roots. Continue unearthing and cutting beneath the root ball until you reach the taproot.
  • Dealing with the Taproot: Once you’ve exposed the taproot by removing the soil around it, use either bow saw or an ax to cut through it. If you’re confident in your abilities, opt for the ax. Keep in mind that cutting through the taproot may require some strength and persistence.
  • Pry or Pull the Stump Out: As you keep cutting through the roots, you’ll eventually gain enough leverage to try prying or pulling the stump out. Apply steady force while ensuring your footing is secure.

Burn Away the Stump: How To Remove A Stump Without A Grinder

how to remove a stump without a grinder

If you’re looking for a straightforward and effective way to remove a tree stump, burning it can be a viable option.

However, it’s crucial to ensure the wood is dry and to check with your local fire department for any regulations regarding backyard fires.

Burning tree stumps may require some preparation, but it’s considered an easy method of removal without the need for a stump grinder.

Preparing For The Burn

To successfully burn a tree stump, careful preparation is key. Follow these steps to get started:

  • Exposing the Stump: Begin by digging around the stump using a shovel, exposing as much of it as possible. Dig underneath to uncover some of the roots as well.
  • Drilling Holes: Using a large drill bit, create holes all over the top of the stump and around its base. As you uncover the roots, drill additional holes into them. The diameter of the drill holes should be around 2 inches.
  • Soaking with Kerosene: To ensure effective burning, soak the stump with kerosene. Pour the kerosene into the drilled holes, allowing it to penetrate as deeply as possible. Over time, continue topping up the kerosene to maintain saturation.
  • Surrounding the Area with Charcoal: Before starting the fire, surround the stump and its immediate surroundings with plenty of charcoal. This provides additional fuel for the fire and helps maintain the burn.
  • Allowing Time for Burning: After approximately three days of soaking the stump with kerosene, you can start the fire. The outer portions of the stump, exposed to oxygen, will generally burn relatively quickly. However, the internal parts may require treatment with hot coals or additional charcoal. Keep in mind that the fire may burn for around four days.

Tree Stump Removal Chemical: How To Remove A Tree Stump By Hand

If you’re dealing with a larger stump and manual removal seems daunting, utilizing chemicals can be a helpful solution (find out the best tree stump killer). Chemical removal expedites the decay process of the stump, making it easier to remove.

However, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s directions for application, timing, and rates when using chemical stump removers.

Keep in mind that some chemicals can be toxic, potentially causing skin irritation or health issues. Additionally, certain stump removers, such as those containing high nitrogen content or potassium nitrate, are combustible and pose a fire hazard.

Preparing For Chemical Treatment

Chemical removal requires patience as it takes time for the substances to work their magic. While it may be slower compared to manual removal or burning, the process can still be effective.

Here’s how you can prepare the stump for chemical treatment:

  • Drilling Holes: Using a drill and a large bit, create 1″ holes around the perimeter of the stump. These holes should be approximately 12″ deep and positioned about 3-4″ back from the edge. Additionally, drill holes at a 45-degree angle, about 3-4″ down from the rim, connecting them with the other holes.
  • Applying Chemicals: Pour 3-4 oz of tree stump removal chemicals into each of the drilled holes, then fill the holes with water. Ensure that you follow the instructions provided by the chemical manufacturer to achieve the desired results. It’s essential to take precautions when handling potentially harmful substances.

How To Get Rid Of A Stump In 2 – 3 Days

how to remove a tree stump by hand

To speed up the decay process, maintaining moisture levels within the stump is crucial. While you may not see immediate changes, the following steps can aid in expediting the process.

  • Periodic Chipping: Chip away at dead portions of the stump periodically, exposing fresh wood beneath. This allows for better absorption of the chemicals and promotes faster decay.
  • Reapplication of Chemicals: Reapply the stump removal chemicals to the remaining wood beneath. This continuous application helps sustain the decay process.
  • Protective Measures: Cover the treated area with plastic sheeting to shield it from rain, preventing the compound from being washed away.

Safety Measures And Required Tools

When opting for chemical stump removal, safety should always be a priority. Take the following precautions:

  • Wear a paper gas mask during the application of chemicals to protect yourself from potential fumes.
  • After completing the job, thoroughly wash your hands and disinfect the tools used to prevent contamination of other trees in your yard.

The tools you’ll need for chemical removal include:

  • Plastic tarp
  • Drill and a large bit
  • Garden mulch
  • Chainsaw
  • Longbow saw
  • High nitrogen garden fertilizer or potassium nitrate tree stump removal granules
  • Hay


1. What is the fastest easiest way to remove a tree stump?

The fastest and easiest way to remove a tree stump is by using a stump grinder.

A stump grinder is a powerful machine that grinds the stump and its roots into small wood chips. It quickly breaks down the stump below ground level, allowing for easy removal or covering.

However, stump grinders are heavy and often require professional expertise to operate safely.

2. How to remove small tree stumps?

For small tree stumps, you can use a combination of hand tools and physical force to remove them.

Start by digging around the stump and exposing the roots. Use a hand saw, pruning shears, or an ax to cut the roots, then pry the stump out of the ground using a pry bar or shovel.

3. How to rot a tree stump fast?

If you want to rot a tree stump quickly, one method is to drill holes into the stump and fill them with a commercial stump remover or a high-nitrogen substance like potassium nitrate. Afterward, cover the stump with a tarp to retain moisture and promote decomposition.

4. How to remove a tree stump with Epsom salt?

To remove a tree stump with Epsom salt, drill several holes into the stump’s surface and around the edges.

Fill the holes with Epsom salt and then add water to help dissolve and spread the salt into the stump. Cover the stump with a tarp to retain moisture.

Over time, the Epsom salt will work to dry out and break down the stump, making it easier to remove

5. What is the best way to remove a tree stump DIY?

The best DIY method to remove a tree stump depends on its size and your preference. Common techniques include using a stump grinder, manually digging and chopping the roots, burning the stump, or using chemical stump removers.

Assess the size and accessibility of the stump, and choose the method that suits your capabilities and equipment availability. Always prioritize safety and follow proper guidelines when attempting to remove a tree stump on your own.

Conclusion: How To Remove A Tree Stump Without A Grinder

When considering stump removal options, both burning and stump grinding have their pros and cons.

The choice ultimately depends on your landscape plans and the number and size of the stumps you wish to remove. Additionally, your level of expertise with the necessary tools should be taken into account.

Manual removal, such as burning, can be cost-effective but demands significant labor (check out: How much does it cost to remove a tree stump?).

It’s important to note that if you choose to do the job yourself, you’ll need to consider the disposal of the wood and debris generated during the process.

Some manual removal methods require patience as they may take longer than expected, especially if you have an upcoming event or deadline for using the area. Burning a tree stump offers a relatively easy and effective removal method.

By following safety guidelines, checking local regulations, and taking necessary precautions, you can bid farewell to that stubborn stump and create a clean and welcoming space in your yard.

By Robin M

Robin remains an active participant in the skilled trades community. His hands-on involvement in projects, coupled with a genuine enthusiasm for helping others succeed in their home improvement pursuits, reflects his commitment to empowering readers with the knowledge they need to tackle projects confidently.

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