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How to Burn a Tree

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017

One of the easiest and least time consuming ways to remove a tree from your property is to cut it down and burn it. Before you attempt this process, check the burning code in your area to make sure it allows you to light fires on your property. Most areas require you to obtain a burning permit that may require a site inspection. If no site inspection is required, it will be up to you to make sure the fire is not near any buildings or other flammable material. It is also a good idea to keep an adequate pile of sand and a large bucket nearby to douse flames in an emergency.

Use an axe to cut down the tree so that the remaining stump is roughly 1 foot above the ground.

Chop the tree up into logs of a manageable size.

Drill air holes into a 55-gallon metal barrel. The number of holes are up to you, but there should be enough to allow air circulation.

Drill holes throughout the stump. Drill the holes at a diagonal angle, and make them as deep as your drill will allow.

Fill the holes with the stump killer according to the manufacturer's instructions. Products such as Stump Remover, or simple salt peter will break down the wood fiber of the tree, and allow it to absorb the kerosene more easily.

Pour boiling water into the holes. This will dissolve the stump killer and distribute it throughout the stump. After the water has dissipated, pour on another dose until all of the stump killer is dissolved.

Soak the tree stump with kerosene.

Light the stump carefully with a barbecue lighter.

Place the 55-gallon barrel on top of the stump, and let it burn out.

Lay the pieces of wood in a pile, add a bit of kerosene to them and light them.

Re-light either fire if it goes out.


Things You Will Need

  • Axe
  • Drill
  • Stump removal chemical
  • Barbecue lighter
  • 55-gallon metal barrel
  • Sand
  • Bucket


  • You are more likely to be granted a fire license between the months of October and May.

About the Author


Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.