Tree trunk removal is difficult when the tree that you have removed is of considerable size, due not only to the size of the tree stump, but also due to the large root system of a mature tree. Several ways exist to remove a tree trunk: manually, naturally, mechanically and chemically. Chemical trunk removal is one of the slowest methods.
How Chemical Removal Works
Potassium nitrate is common in most chemical tree trunk removal products. The potassium nitrate speeds up the decomposition process of the tree trunk. Fertilizers containing high nitrogen content will also speed up the decaying process. These products work to aid in the decay of the stump. As the decay progresses, the stump becomes soft and mulch-like, making removal much easier.
The application method consists of drilling holes throughout the surface of the tree trunk/stump, using a large-size drill bit. Enough holes should be drilled to enable the chemical to work throughout the surface area of the tree stump. The chemical is then prepared according to the manufacturer's directions and applied to the tree stump by filling up the drilled holes with it.
Time Required for Decomposition
The time required for the stump to decompose can take from weeks to months, depending upon the size of the trunk. This process takes time because you are actually chemically aiding in the rotting or decomposition of the tree trunk. The application of chemicals expedites this natural process.
After the Decaying Process
Once the trunk has decayed sufficiently (i.e., it has become mulch-like), it can be removed by breaking it up with an axe or pick axe, and the material discarded. Note: you may have to repeat the entire process several times, reducing the size of the stump gradually, until you have it down to ground level.
If you find that this method is too slow, consider grinding the stump down with a mechanical stump grinder. Stump grinders can be rented from equipment rental stores; professional tree services will also remove the stump for you using a stump grinder. This machine grinds up the stump (6 to 12 inches below the surface). So, if time is a factor, this is the quickest and most thorough method available. Not only does it remove the stump but it also chops up the roots below the surface.