How to Kill Stumps


Unwanted tree stumps in the yard can be a nuisance and a safety hazard. Small children are especially susceptible to tripping over stumps and injuring themselves since they are generally more likely to run around in the yard. Stumps can also cause damage to lawn mowers if you accidentally run one over. With all the dangers associated with tree stumps, it's no wonder that people want them removed. Hiring someone to pull them out can be an expensive and messy job, so it is not always the best route to take. You can kill stumps using common, inexpensive materials.

Step 1

Cut the stump with a chainsaw so the top of it is level. It is important that the stump is level so it can decay at the same rate. If a chainsaw is not available, do the best you can with a hand saw.

Step 2

Chop the stump with a hatchet. You only need to chop once every couple inches. This will help the stump absorb moisture more efficiently, thus speeding up the decaying process.

Step 3

Spray the stump with a hose. Make sure the outer three inches of the stump are thoroughly moist as this is the area mostly responsible for transporting water to and from the roots.

Step 4

Apply a water soluble 2,4-D herbicide to the stump. Follow the directions on the container as all herbicide applications are slightly different.

Step 5

Spray just enough water to cover the stump after the herbicide application. The water will help the herbicide pass flow through the entire stump and roots.

Step 6

Water the stump daily to ensure it stays moist. Only apply the herbicide once every three weeks.

Step 7

Repeat the steps until the stump completely decays.

Things You'll Need

  • Chainsaw
  • Hatchet
  • Hose
  • 2,4-D herbicide


  • St. Lawrence: Killing Trees & Stumps
  • Washington State University: Tree Stump Removal
Keywords: kill, decay, tree stump

About this Author

Kenneth Coppens is a part-time freelance writer and has been for one year. He currently writes for Demand Studios, eHow, Associated Content and is the Indianapolis Craft Beer Expert for Examiner.