How to Remove Tree Stumps

Written by Andrew Hampson

Tree stumps can be a big inconvenience; maybe it is blocking space in your garden or just being an eyesore. Either way people want them removed but often don’t know how to go about it safely and effectively. There are a couple of methods that work quite well and some methods that do not, so let’s take a look.

Dig It Out (recommended for very small stumps)

This is the method that most people come up with when thinking about how to remove tree stumps. It is a simple method but one that requires some physical effort. If you have the opportunity then leave the stump as high as possible when cutting the tree down, this can be used as a lever to snap any roots that you have not cut. Start by digging around the stump and exposing the roots as much as possible. Once you have most of the roots exposed, sever them (with a saw or axe). When these roots have been severed, you will be able to pry the stump out of the ground with your spade. Most trees have a tap root that travels directly down and can be quite tough to sever but that’s where the lever comes in, just use the lever by pulling and pushing it in different directions and the tap root should give way.
If the stump is in your lawn or in the flower bed then fill in the hole with loam. Loam is a mixture of soil, sand and silt. You might have an issue with this bit of ground sinking slightly over a few weeks so be sure to top it up with more loam. This method isn’t advisable if the tree was quite large and the roots are too thick and deep to dig out.

Grind It Away (recommended for all stumps)

You can hire a stump grinder if you are qualified to do so or a more advisable method would be to hire a professional with a stump grinder. This machine will grind away the whole stump, right down to the roots just below ground level. You will be left with a pile of grindings mixed with soil. Most people just spread the excess on the garden and leave the remainder in the hole or you could replace them with loam and remember to put more on that area over time so it doesn’t sink.
This method can be problematic if the tree stump is very close to a wall or fence, as the machine can damage these structures, however, an experienced tree surgeon will be able to deal with these eventualities with ease. It is also advisable to use a reputable company as they will scan the ground first with a C.A.T scanner to search for underground services that can be damaged. The last thing anyone needs is a gas leak or the cable TV going off.

Chemical Agents (not recommended)

This method in my experience does not work. The stump will remain in situation for years to come and the chemicals can prevent other agents (i.e. fungus) from rotting the stumps away naturally. The agents themselves can be very toxic to humans and to the environment. Some chemical agents can leave the ground barren and unusable for months or even years.

Burn It (not recommended)

This involves building a fire with the stump at the centre and logs stacked around and on top of it. Most tree stumps will be too wet for this and it is very difficult to burn the stump below ground level even if the stumps are dry. The remaining parts of the tree stump end up charred which again can prevent natural agents from degrading the stump naturally. This method will more than likely preserve the stump and it will remain an eyesore for longer than it would normally.

Contact Us Today

If you are wondering how to remove tree stumps then we can help. We are experienced tree surgeons based in Manchester and surrounding areas. If you require any help with tree stumps, or trees in general then please feel free to either fill out our contact form or by calling us on 0161 300 9789.

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