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How to Kill Cedar Stumps

By Lucinda Gunnin ; Updated September 21, 2017

Cedar trees can be a real hassle to get rid of completely. Even if you cut down the tree, the cedar's root system can still be quite damaging and invasive to anything around it. So, to be truly done with a cedar tree, not only do you have to chop down the tree, but you have to kill the root system as well. While it is possible to kill a cedar stump by a variety of different methods, the fastest and most reliable manner is via the use of a screw jack and a little elbow grease.

Don a pair of tough and sturdy work gloves and protective eye-wear.

Dig a hole beneath the cedar stump just deep enough that you can slide the non-extended screw jack into place underneath it. You want the screw jack to be in contact with the base of the stump and the ground with almost no clearance between the two.

Place the screw jack beneath the stump in the hole that you have prepared. Extend the riser on the screw jack manually until it is pressed firmly into the bottom of the cedar stump. Then use the turning bar and extend the riser a few inches. Use a hatchet to cut away roots as they erupt upward through the ground to help release the stump.

Continue raising the stump a few inches and cutting back the roots that are exposed until the screw jack is at full extension.

Repeat the process of digging under the stump, placing and raising the screw jack, and cutting back the roots that are revealed along the three other cardinal points of the tree stump. By the time you are finished with the fourth and final location, the cedar stump should be sufficiently loosened that it can be removed via the use of any standard stump puller.


Things You Will Need

  • Work gloves
  • Protective eye-wear
  • 20-ton screw jack
  • Turning bar
  • Shovel
  • Hatchet
  • Stump puller

About the Author


Lucinda Gunnin began writing in 1988 for the “Milford Times." Her work has appeared in “Illinois Issues” and dozens more newspapers, magazines and online outlets. Gunnin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Adams State College and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.