If you have to remove a tree that's growing too close to the foundation, or electricity lines or you have a diseased tree, you want to make sure you remove the tree and stump completely. Whatever the reason for removing trees and tree stumps, the process will take either time or money.
Pulling or Digging
Pulling or digging a tree stump is also known as grubbing. It can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive job, but it's one of the fastest and least expensive ways to remove a tree stump, according to Louisiana State University AgCenter. You can do this with heavy equipment such as a backhoe, which may increase the expense of the stump removal, but it reduces the amount of manual labor.
You can also dig a trench around the tree, deep and wide enough to expose the main root system. Saw and chop at the roots to break them from the tree trunk, then pry, pull or push the stump out of the ground.
Grinding and Chipping
Tree specialists have tools they use to grind the tree stump, or chip it apart into many small pieces. This process is fast but it can also be expensive, notes Colorado State University Extension. You'll get the tree stump removed to ground level, but the roots will usually be left in the ground.
Helping the stump to rot is another way to remove it, but this process can take several years to complete. Louisiana State University AgCenter recommends this as the safest and most natural method.
To help a tree stump rot, cut it as close to the ground as you can and then cover it with mulch or compost so it stays moist. The first year it will need a small amount of extra nitrogen to encourage bacteria and insects to start eating it. After the first year you'll need to add sugar to encourage the rotting process.
You can also use various chemicals to help with tree stump removal. These chemicals may be harmful to other plants and trees in your yard, and all of them will take time before you can tell if they're working. Louisiana State University AgCenter notes that potassium nitrate, sulfuric acid and nitric acid will work, but that some other chemicals may be ineffective.
With most chemicals, you drill several holes into the tree stump, mix the chemical according to package directions, then put the chemical mixture into the drilled holes.