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How to Burn Tree Stumps

Burning tree stumps may not be the quickest way to get rid of them, but it is certainly one of the cheapest ways. Instead of paying a tree-care service to come to your home and remove the tree stumps with a stump grinder or backhoe, you’ll save money by burning the tree stumps. You’ll also avoid breaking your back trying to dig out the tree stumps, especially if the trees were larger and had extensive root systems. To burn tree stumps, you must first check with your local fire department, take a few safety precautions and prepare the stumps for burning.

Prepare the tree stump for burning by drilling holes into the sides of the stump around the top. Bore the holes at a slanting angle, making holes that are 8-10 inches deep and 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Fill the holes in the tree stump with salt peter or a chemical stump-killer. Pour hot water into the holes to dissolve the salt peter and distribute it throughout the stump.

Add more hot water several times after it dissipates until all the salt peter or stump-killer is gone. This process helps to prevent the tree stump from burning out of control and to prolong the smoldering of the stump so that all of it burns to ash.

Place pieces of scrap wood on top of the tree stump. Light the scrap wood on fire, and watch for the stump to catch fire and begin to burn. Allow the tree stump to smolder until all the stump turns into ash. Afterward, remove any remnants of tree roots using a shovel.


Keep a garden hose or bucket filled with water handy while you’re burning the tree stumps. This is a good safety precaution just in case the fire gets out of control. Take extra care when you’re burning tree stumps that are close to your house, buildings or other trees and plants.


Be sure to check with your local fire department before burning tree stumps. You may need to obtain a fire permit, have a site inspection performed and/or refrain from burning the stumps during certain times of the year. Do not attempt burning tree stumps without contacting your local fire department first, and following all local safety codes.

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