How to Remove Stumps & Exposed Roots


Although a tree may be cut down, only half of the organism has been removed. The rest of the tree is under the ground in the stump and root system. Removing the exposed roots and stump can be a labor-intensive process. Although you can hire it out to someone with heavy machinery, you can remove the tree and the exposed roots yourself quickly and dig up the roots. This process is known as grubbing. Grubbing can be quite strenuous, but according to Louisiana State University's agriculture department, it is the easiest method of removing a stump.

Step 1

Dig a 2-foot-deep trench around the tree trunk in a 4 foot wide circle using a mattock or grub hoe.

Step 2

Cut through each root you find, using an ax, a pair of branch loppers or a mattock.

Step 3

Push the tree stump on its side and cut through the roots below the tree with an ax.

Step 4

Pull the trunk out of the soil by yanking and twisting to sever the remaining roots.

Step 5

Dig around big surface roots with the grub hoe. Cut through the sections of roots and remove them as you expose them.

Step 6

Fill in the hole left behind in the with loose soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Mattock
  • Grub hoe
  • Ax
  • Branch loppers


  • Louisiana State Univeristy Extension: Stump Removal
  • Alabama State University Extension:Stump Removal for Homeowners
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Vanishing Stumps

Who Can Help

  • Colorado State University Extension: Stump Removal
Keywords: removing stumps, grubbing stumps, digging up 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."