How to Cut Shrub Stumps


There is an old saying that when there is work to be done, you can only have two of the following three: fast, cheap or easy. The same thing may be said of removing a shrub stump. One of the fastest, least expensive methods for removing a large shrub stump is to sever the stump from its roots and dig it out of the ground. This process is considerably simpler on shrubs than it is for larger trees with a more extensive root system.

Step 1

Make an initial cut in the trunk of your shrub on the side of the trunk in the direction you want the shrub to fall. Cut only 1/3 of the way through the tree's trunk. Use a hand saw or an ax. Make this first cut between three and four feet above the soil line. This will make the stump taller and give you something to grasp as you cut the stump from the ground.

Step 2

Saw through the shrub on the other side of the initial cut with your hand saw by positioning the saw or ax slightly higher on the trunk than the initial cut. Push the shrub over in the direction you wish it to fall. By cutting your stump in two parts, you avoid pinching and binding the blade.

Step 3

Dig a hole around the stump of the shrub four feet wide and two feet deep with a grub hoe to expose the root system. Cut through the roots with the grub hoe or branch loppers.

Step 4

Push the shrub stump over on its side to expose any roots on the underside of the shrub. Cut through these roots with the ax, grub hoe or branch loppers.

Step 5

Grasp the stump at a point between the soil line and the top of the stump. Pull upward and twist the shrub to pull it free of the ground.

Step 6

Fill in the hole with loose soil, using a shovel.

Things You'll Need

  • Ax
  • Hand saw
  • Branch loppers
  • Grub hoe
  • Shovel


  • LSU Ag Center: Stump Removal from Home Grounds
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Removing Trees and Shrubs
  • Univeristy of Florida IFAS Extension: Vanishing Stumps

Who Can Help

  • Colorado State University Extension: Stump Removal
Keywords: cutting shrub stumps, removing stumps, digging out stumps

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."