How to Destroy Tree Stumps


Homeowners will periodically need to remove trees from their yard, and the remaining stump can create an eyesore or obstacle if not completely removed. Stumps can be removed through chemical rotting, grubbing the stump out of the ground, or hiring a company to grind the stump remains. Chemically treating a stump works on stumps larger in diameter than 14 inches but requires patience as the process takes several months. Grubbing a stump works best on stumps smaller than 14 inches in diameter. Grinding the stump is the most costly option but works on all stump sizes.

Chemical Removal

Step 1

Drill holes that are 1-inch wide and 12-inches deep into the top of the stump. Place each hole at a distance of 1-inch apart. Drill 45-degree angled holes around the perimeter of the stump if it is sticking out of the ground.

Step 2

Pour 4 oz. of stump remover chemical into each of the holes, followed by enough water to fill the entire hole. Stump remover chemicals are available at hardware and garden stores. Verify the amount of chemical needed by thoroughly reading the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 3

Let the stump chemicals work for four to six weeks. The stump will show visual signs of rotting. Destroy the stump with an ax once it is soft enough to easily break up.

Grubbing Removal

Step 1

Use the grubbing method on 3 to 4-foot tall stumps. Dig a trench that's 1 to 2 feet wide and 1 to 2 feet deep around the base of the stump.

Step 2

Cut the lateral root system with an ax or saw. Remove additional dirt from the root system if necessary.

Step 3

Place a pry bar under the stump. Pry and rock the stump back and forth to loosen the root system.

Step 4

Cut any roots that are holding the stump in place by chopping with an ax or using a tree pruner. Pull the stump and attached roots out of the ground.

Step 5

Fill the hole left by the stump with topsoil and pack in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Chainsaw
  • Drill
  • 1-inch long drill bit
  • Stump remover chemical
  • Water
  • Ax
  • Protective gear
  • Water hose
  • Kerosene
  • Matches
  • Shovel
  • Pry bar
  • Topsoil
  • Tree pruner


  • Reader's Digest: The Family Handyman: How to Remove a Tree Stump Painlessly
  • LSU Ag Center: Stump Removal from Home Grounds
  • St. Lawrence County Cooperative Extension: How to Kill a Tree Stump
Keywords: tree stump removal, destroy tree stump, chemical stump treatment

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.