How to Use Tree Stumps


The easiest part of removing a tree from your yard is cutting down the trunk. Tree roots run deep and removing the stump can be back-breaking work--impossible if you do not have the right tools. Also, hiring a professional to remove the tree can be expensive. Because of the difficulty involved in removing a tree stump, many homeowners decide to leave the stump on their property to decompose on its own. However, while it remains, it can be used for several decorative purposes.

Step 1

Use a stump grinder to grind down the stump. Then use the chips for mulch or add them to your compost pile. Stump grinder rentals are expensive: they can cost over $100 depending on the size of the machine. However, it is one of the few ways to remove a stump with no digging and a minimal amount of effort. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding its use and ask the rental agent to give you a demonstration before taking it home.

Step 2

Turn the tree stump into a planter. Excavate the center of a large tree stump with an axe or chainsaw then fill it with potting soil and a cascading plant like edging lobelia, wave petunia or fragrant trailing scandent begonia. Or, place a bottomless large planter over a smaller tree stump, fill it with soil and plant it. The soil and the plant's roots will help accelerate the decomposition of the stump.

Step 3

Hire a professional saw carver to carve your tree stump into an interesting shape or figure. Larger, taller stumps are ideal for fashioning into figures. Find a chainsaw artist through the United Chain Saw Carver's Guild or some other professional organization. Or, put on protective gear and attempt to carve the stump yourself with a chainsaw and chisel. A simple garden seat is an ideal first-time project. You can always use it as a planter if you make any mistakes.

Step 4

Turn your stump into a trellis. Attach fencing spikes to the stump and plant climbing vine plants like wisteria, clematis or climbing roses next to the stump.

Things You'll Need

  • Stump grinder
  • Chainsaw
  • Chisel
  • Planter
  • Potting soil


  • University of Florida: Vanishing Stumps
  • New Mexico State University: Tree Stumps
  • United Chainsaw Carvers Guild
Keywords: stump planter, use stump, tree stump, carve stump

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.