So, you’ve finally cut down that old tree in your yard, but now you’re left with a massive stump. While some homeowners may leave these tree stumps in place, mowing the lawn around them, others prefer to remove them. But removing a tree stump isn’t as easy as cutting down a tree.
With roots embedded deep into the ground, stumps can remain intact for years or even decades. With a little bit of work, however, you can get rid of old tree stumps.
Dig it Out
The simplest – but not the easiest – method of removal for old tree stumps is digging it out of the ground. Using a shovel, dig a perimeter around the stump and eventually underneath it.
The goal in doing this is to expose the root structure, which is essentially what’s holding the stump in the ground. Depending on the species of tree and its age, you may have to dig several feet to reach its roots.
After digging and exposing the roots, use a root saw to cut them. Some people use an axe to cut the roots, but this isn’t recommended due to the possibility of accidentally striking a rock. Use a root saw to cut through the roots, and when you are finished, dig up and remove the stump.
Another solution is to burn the stump. Before doing so, however, you’ll make to make sure there’s plenty of clearance around the stump to prevent nearby grass or debris from catching fire. Next, place several sticks on top of the log to serve as tinder. Now pour some grill lighter fluid over the stump and set it ablaze.
Burning is an excellent way to remove old stumps, but it’s fairly time consuming. Even small stumps may take 6-12 hours to fully burn. Larger stumps can burn for well over 24 hours. And you should never leave a stump burning unattended. If you need to leave for any reason, either have someone watch the fire or put it out.
Hire a Professional
If this sounds like too much work, you can always hire a professional to remove your old tree stump. We have both the tools and expertise necessary to remove old stumps. Many homeowners make the mistake of leaving parts of the root structure behind, causing the tree to regrow. Professional landscaping and tree removal companies will remove all of the root structure.
The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.
If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or
Dee Francis says
Burning a tree stump seems like an interesting method to remove it. Perhaps I should consider this as a way to remove a tree stump in my yard. I suspect that I may have a dead tree that should be removed, so I also need to figure out how to remove the stump. I’ll consider burning it if digging out the stump proves to be more difficult than I anticipated. Thanks for the tips!
STEELE HONDA says
Really nice post Roy! I learned a lot about how to remove a tree stump. I really liked how you said that, ” Many homeowners make the mistake of leaving parts of the root structure behind, causing the tree to regrow. Professional landscaping and tree removal companies will remove all of the root structure.”. I have never removed a tree stump before but hiring a professional to do it looks like the easiest option.
Jackie Oliver says
I had no idea that I could dig a tree stump out myself! My husband and I just moved into a new house, and there are a bunch of tree stumps in the backyard, that I want gone. I think we might try digging them out, and if that isn’t possible, then we might try to burn it out. Anything to get rid of them!
Justin Knox says
Thank you for the professional. I have a stump that is close to a couple other trees, so I am not sure about the best method for removing it. I am wondering if hiring a professional would be the wise choice for me. Would a professional most likely use a grinder?
Andre Beluchi says
Removing an old tree stump is what has me wanting to do for the old stumps that are still stuck in my front yard. What would I need to do to prepare the area for a removal? This is what has me thinking about maybe marking a line of the area for someone to do the removal.
Jorge McMillan says
My dad and I are in the planning process of removing some old tree stumps from his property. We weren’t sure what approach to go with at first, but after looking at these points, I think our best bet will be burning it. Lucky for us, the stumps are already clear of anything that can burn and we plan on being out there all day, so we will be there to keep it attended.
Skylar Williams says
I have a few stumps I have been thinking of removing. Burning it seems really risky for me. I have a lot of other greenery around the stumps. Digging it out would take a long time for me. I think I’ll just have to hire a professional.
Zequek Estrada says
I think hiring a professional is the best option for removing a tree stump. Though digging it out and burning sound like it would effective, it sounds dangerous and time-consuming. There are some things that are best left up to professionals.
Interesting approach. I’m dealing with a similar issue, so i appreciate the information… [edited by admin – link removed]
Kenneth Gladman says
Burning out a stump can be very effective but you want to know exactly what you are doing. You can find videos online to help you through the process. I like that you mentioned making sure you have plenty of clearance around the area, you don’t want an accident.
Tyler Meredith says
It’s interesting to read about some of the different ways you can remove stumps. it makes sense that burning or digging it out could be effective. It’s something to remember because I recently had some trees removed and I want to have the stumps removed so I can plant grass. Thanks for the post!
John Ferrell says
I like that you said that we could just dig it out. If I was going to try to remove an old tree stump then I would probably end out doing what comes to my head first, dig it out. I think that if you hire a professional to remove your tree stump then you might end out with a better result and you might save some time.
Jade Brunet says
I did not realize that it was best to use a root saw to cut roots after exposing them. It is true that using an ax could pose the possibility of accidentally striking a rock. My brother had his stumps professionally removed and was happy to see that the hired specialized used top notch equipment to ensure safety.
Zachary Tomlinson says
I appreciate that you said that hiring a professional is always an option. I think that everyone should realize that it’s not bad to hire someone to do something that you can’t do. My dad has a huge back yard that is full of tree stumps that continually need grinding. I wonder what I can do to help.
I like that you point out that professionals are able to get all of the roots out so that the tree never grows back. I can see why some people might think they can do it themselves, but stop after getting most of it out. My wife and I have talked about removing a couple tree from our backyard. I’ll have to recommend that we have someone do it for us when we are able.
Jade Brunet says
I did not realize that there were different ways to remove a tree stump. Placing sticks on top of the stump to serve as timber if you choose the burning option would be a good idea. Interviewing several tree services would be a good thing to do before hiring so you can get a variety of bids.
Lauren Jones says
My grandma wants to remove the maple tree on her property line in order to put up a fence, and she is wondering how the stump should be removed. It is good to know that the simplest way to remove a stump is by digging it out. Thanks for informing me that one should dig a perimeter around the stump and eventually underneath it. I will be sure to share this article with my grandma, thanks again.
Definitely hire a professional tree service if you want the stump taken care of properly. It’s the best option for sure.
Jake F says
Honestly, I have seen way too many residential homeowners going on the cheap running over to Home Depot to rent some tools to try their darndest to try and remove a tree stump. They do more damage before they have to turn around and are forced to call a tree expert. Hey, you wouldn’t cut your own hair, instead you would go to the barber. Same is true for the removal of a tree stump.
I like that you mentioned how you need to dig the stump out completely in order to remove it. My mother has a huge stump in her front yard that we have tried to remove time and time again; however, it is really big and is quite difficult to remove. One thing that you said that I think will be of use was that you should just dig a huge hole all around the stump, which would allow you to slowly dig underneath it. Thanks again, and I will make sure to start digging the next time that I get to my mom’s house!
Gary Puntman says
I haven’t thought of burning my tree stumps to get rid of them. I’ll have to consider doing this though. It could be a good alternative that could be easy. It’s good to know that this could be a lengthy process though, like you said.
I have cautioned my customers from using the burning method. Recently had a call from a client in the local area as they tried the burning method. Ended up that the tree stump was too close to their fence and ended up damaging their fence. Also, resulted in some interesting insects including a colony of ants scrambling out of the stump as it started burning.
Ken Partain says
Thanks for sharing your experiences. That’s certainly something to consider.
Henry Killingsworth says
A couple of days ago, one of the trees in my yard got blown over by a storm that moved through my city. I need to get the stump out of my yard before it starts to attract unwanted pests. I found it interesting when you explained that it is important to expose the root system when attempting to dig it out. My back is bad, so it would probably be best if I hired a professional tree service to come and pull the stump out for me.
Ken Partain says
I agree Henry. Removing a stump is a big job, one best handled by pros with the proper equipment. Thanks for reading.
Kelly Hanson says
Removing stump is not an easy job. Thanks for these tips. outdoor kitchen contractor
Kelly Lowell says
Thank you for sharing these tips. outdoor kitchen company
Tammie Houston says
I didn’t realize that there were people that offered tree removal services. There are quite a few dead shrubs, trees, and stumps on my parents’ lot and I wanted to get it cleared so that I could build a gazebo there for them to enjoy. I was planning on burning it all, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to contain the fire. I’ll just opt to hire some professional land clearing services to do it for me, as I’m sure they’d do a better job of it than I ever could.