Digging Up Small Stumps


Leaving a stump in the ground is not advised. Depending on the species, some will sprout and grow again. Leaving stumps behind can also pose a safety hazard to those who might trip or fall over them, or provide a home to insects. Cutting down a tree is the easy part. Removing the stump from the ground requires more work. While it is a labor-intensive chore, using the right tools can speed up the project.

Step 1

Dig a 12-inch deep ditch around the stump roughly 12 to 15 inches away from the center. The ditch should be 5 to 8 inches wide.

Step 2

Insert a landscape bar or crowbar into the ditch and wiggle it back and forth to cut small roots. Repeat the process all the way around the stump.

Step 3

Push the bar into the ditch at an angle toward the center of the stump. Wiggle it back and forth to cut roots under the stump. Repeat the process all the way around the stump.

Step 4

Push the crowbar beneath the stump and push down. This should partially lift the stump and sever more roots. Repeat the process on the opposite side of the stump. If the stump is completely loosened, pull it from the ground with your hands. If it is not completely loosened, use a shovel to lift up one side of the stump so you can see and cut any roots that remain attached.

Step 5

Fill the hole that is left behind with soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel Landscape bar or crowbar Loppers


  • University of Minnesota: Removing Trees and Shrubs
  • Tree Surgeon Register: Removing a Tree Stump
  • Colorado State University: Stump Removal

Who Can Help

  • This Old House: Removing Tree Stumps
Keywords: digging up stumps, dig up stumps, manual stump removal

About this Author

Leigh Walker has been working as a writer since 1995. She serves as a ghostwriter for many online clients creating website content, e-books and newsletters. She works as a title flagger and writer for Demand Studios, primarily writing home and garden pieces for GardenGuides.com and eHow.com. Walker pursued an English major/psychology minor at Pellissippi State.