How to Remove Tree Stumps Naturally


The most natural way to remove a tree stump is to allow it to rot. Rotting a stump can take more time than digging one out, but it is the least labor-intensive method of removing a stump. Rotting is also the safest method of removing a stump, because you use no tools and do not run the risk of injuring yourself due to back-breaking labor.

Step 1

Cut the stump as close to the ground as possible. Rotting occurs more quickly if there is less wood to rot.

Step 2

Drill 1-inch diameter holes, spaced 1 inch apart, in staggered rows spaced 1 inch apart throughout the top of the stump. Each hole should be drilled straight down into the stump. These holes expose more of the surface of the wood to decay.

Step 3

Pour 1 cup of liquid fertilizer that is high in nitrogen (10-0-0) over the stump. Nitrogen helps feed the microbes that decay the stump and will hasten the decay. Do not add so much fertilizer that it burns the surrounding plants.

Step 4

Pour a cup of melted sugar over the stump after the second year. Fertilizer will no longer feed the microbes after the first year. Instead, sugar provides carbon to feed the organisms.

Step 5

Water the stump so that it is damp, but not saturated. Cover the stump with strips of sod to help keep it moist. The stump will quickly rot in this environment.

Things You'll Need

  • Chain saw
  • Drill
  • 1-inch drill bit
  • Garden hose
  • Sod
  • Nitrogen-rich fertilizer (10-0-0)
  • Melted sugar


  • LSU Ag Center: Stump Removal from Home Grounds
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Stump Removal for Homeowners
  • Colorado State Univeristy Extension: Stump Removal

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Vanishing Stumps
Keywords: removing tree stumps, rotting a tree, decaying tree 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."