How to Dig up Small Stumps


Removing a small tree or shrub typically doesn't end by just cutting it off near the ground. Unless you don't mind the years it takes for the stump to naturally rot, you will need to manually dig it up. Also, depending on the species of the tree or shrub, it may re-sprout from the stump and grow back to its original size within a few years. Digging up the stump is a labor-intensive project, but a few common garden tools can make the process a little easier.

Step 1

Dig a circular trench around your stump 12 inches away from the center. Dig down approximately 12 inches all the way around the stump.

Step 2

Thrust the landscape bar into the trench all the way around the stump to sever small and medium-sized roots. Angle the landscape bar toward the center of the shrub and thrust it into the soil again to sever the roots under the stump.

Step 3

Wiggle the stump periodically to determine if it is coming loose. Once all of the roots are severed, grasp the stump and pull it out of the ground.

Step 4

Fill the void left by the stump with garden soil. Re-use the soil you dug from the trench. Depending on the size of the stump, you may need to add additional soil into the void.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or garden spade
  • Landscape bar
  • Gloves


  • This Old House: Removing Tree Stumps
Keywords: dig small stumps, remove small stumps, landscape bar, dig a trench, garden soil

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.