There are various reasons why a tree may need to be removed. A lightning strike, for example, may cause a tree to become unstable. Trees age and die naturally, just like humans. Disease and bugs afflict them. 

In-home settings, aging, sick, and dying trees can be hazardous. Storm-damaged trees might collapse or shed limbs, posing a danger. This has resulted in the loss of a large number of lives. When a tree must be removed, the stump is left behind.

Everything you need to know about stump rot and stump removal will be covered in this post!

Stump removal: why should you do it?

It doesn’t make sense to leave a stump after going through the hassle of having a tree removed. The following are a few of the most compelling reasons to get rid of stumps in your yard:

  • Aesthetics: Looking out into the yard and seeing old stumps dot the landscape is a pain. They’ll look considerably worse as weeds and other plants grow on them, which will unavoidably occur over time.
  • Space-consuming: Most people prefer their yards to be as big and open as possible, and stumps obstruct that.
  • Safety issues: While some stumps are easily visible, others are hidden by grass, weeds, and other vegetation, posing a tripping danger. Stubbing your toe on an old tree stump is the worst.

Tree stump assessment

Because certain stumps are more easily removed than others, several approaches can be used. It will be much easier for you in the long run if you are prepared ahead of time and know which approaches and procedures to employ for certain jobs. 

Pine tree stumps, for example, are less difficult to remove than deciduous tree stumps. Pine tree roots are usually broad, flat, and shallow, but deciduous tree stumps’ roots are long and deep.

What makes removing a stump simpler? The strongest predictors of stump removal difficulty are the tree’s age and size. Said, the older a stump becomes, the easier it is to get rid of. Similarly, little stumps are less difficult to remove than massive stumps. 

Another consideration before deciding on a stump removal procedure is the quantity of stumps to be removed. Do you want to go out and manually remove 100 stumps? Why not 3? This information will assist you in determining the best stump removal techniques and strategies.

Removing the stump

Tree Stump

It takes three to seven years for a tree to decay in its natural habitat. The length of time depends on the climate and whether the tree is hardwood or softwood. The time it takes for decay to occur is influenced by local climatic conditions. For quick decomposition, humidity and moisture content is critical.

Trees are frequently chopped down to approximately waist height, leaving a stump. These are an unattractive annoyance. Cutting the stump down to the ground level can go a long way toward solving the problem. However, the remnants must be dealt with. Leave it alone, hire a stump grinder, burn it, or find a technique to get it to decay as rapidly as possible.

Tree stumps may not constitute a significant threat and can be let to decompose naturally. However, in a household setting, this is neither practical nor safe. The tree may continue to grow or send forth suckers that will spread around the garden and become invasive. Trees and fallen branches may be a major stumbling block. 

The landscape in smaller areas such as backyards and gardens must be free of risks and user-friendly. Farmers must clear trees and stumps when creating fences, and local governments must ensure that the public environment is safe. You might be able to turn the tree stump into a great seat or a surface for an outdoor table if you’re particularly resourceful.

Stump burning

There are a few environmental issues with burning the stump out. The fire’s smoke is nasty and will affect everyone. The fire may need to burn for days. The fire might spread down into the roots, making it harder to suppress. The fire might go out of hand and spread to surrounding trees and structures. Stump removal may be done more efficiently.

Stump digging

One method of removing a tree stump from your yard is to dig it out, but this may be time-consuming and even harmful to your yard or garden. This procedure allows you to remove as many tree roots as possible while preventing the stump from growing. Consider hiring a professional with excavating equipment to perform the work to save time and effort.

How to dig a tree stump out

  1. Dig around the stump as much as you can to expose as many roots as possible.
  2. Cut the bigger roots using a chainsaw, hatchet, or handsaw. As you dig further, you may come across tiny roots that you may remove with clippers or loppers.
  3. Lift and remove the stump from the ground once you’ve removed all of the roots surrounding it.
  4. Fill the hole with dirt and topsoil or mulch to finish.

Take note that this process might take several hours depending on the size of the tree stump and the root structure.

Stump grinding

It’s tough to grind a stump, and the machinery is heavy and expensive. Hire a tree service that specializes in stump grinding and removal. Stump grinders are expensive equipment that grinds the stump and roots into small bits using a high-speed disk with teeth. This is a rapid tree stump removal solution that will solve the problem while also saving you money.

Chemical tree stump remover

Most commercially available products contain potassium nitrate, while some comprise alkalis that degrade lignin in wood or enzymes that thin cell walls. Lignin makes the wood rigid.

From fall through winter, use chemical stump killers on freshly cut stumps. Reapply chemicals every one to two weeks, or as needed, according to the label. Always be aware of the hazards while working with chemicals, read all directions carefully, and wear all appropriate safety equipment.

Once the tree has been removed, use a big drill bit to drill multiple holes in the wood on the top and sides of the stump down to ground level. Pour the chemical into the holes, ensuring it penetrates the tree as deeply as possible. Wet the whole stump with hot water, careful not to dilute the chemical too much. Cover the area with a weighted tarp and wait. 

This is a lengthy procedure. Check the progress every two weeks and reapply water if the tree stump has turned dry. The job is finished after the wood has become mushy and spongy.

Potassium nitrate is used in the majority of chemical stump removers. Because of the high nitrogen level, the decaying process is accelerated. Manure, blood meal, and compost are all natural sources of nitrogen. Epsom salt and rock salt are natural potassium nitrate substitutes. 

The salts dehydrate the soil, depriving the stump of vital nutrients. Salts also dry up the wood, hastening the rotting process. If the tree is still living, the task becomes considerably more difficult. You must first eliminate the tree. This process will be aided by denying the tree sunshine and moisture. For a few weeks, cover tree stumps with manure and compost and a dark tarp.

Homemade options to remove a stump

Before you get your hands dirty with physical removal, here are a few options for removing a tree stump.

Epsom salt

This is a popular DIY approach for destroying tree trunks since it speeds up the breakdown from three to seven years to six to twelve months. Magnesium and sulfur, which are good to plants but lethal in big doses, are found in Epsom salt. 

Overdosing the stump with Epsom salt causes it to lose moisture, which kills it and speeds up the decomposition process. Here’s how to get rid of a tree stump using Epsom salt:

  • Using a power drill and a wide drill bit, cut deep holes in the stump approximately an inch wide.
  • After coating the top of the stump with Epsom salt, spritz it with water.
  • Cover the stump with a tarp to prevent the material from being washed away by rain.
  • To guarantee that this method is successful, repeat it every few weeks.

The stump will die in two to three months if this procedure is effective and will be close to full disintegration after a year. This is a terrific option for homeowners looking for a more natural way to get rid of their tree stump.

Rock salt

Rock salt, like Epsom salt, may help destroy and rot a stump with little effort. Here’s how to use rock salt to destroy a tree stump:

  1. Make holes in the stump using a drill.
  2. Rock salt should be used to fill the holes.
  3. Pour dirt and mulch over the stump once all the holes have been filled and the stump has been coated in salt.
  4. Pour water over the mulch to dissolve the salt, aid in root absorption, and compact the soil.

Continue to moisten the stump every few days for one to two months to keep the saltwater solution moist, increasing absorption and the growth of fungus that can speed up the breakdown of the stump. You may also use a potassium nitrate fertilizer to help the fungus grow faster.

Plastic bag or tarp

Forcing darkness on a tree stump is perhaps the simplest means of killing it. The tree stump will perish if it is not exposed to sunshine, hastening decomposition. Two to three months should be enough time for rot to begin. Using a plastic bag or sheet, destroy a tree stump as follows:

  1. Cut the stump with a chainsaw, hatchet, or handsaw as near to the roots as feasible, similar to earlier methods.
  2. Wrap a black garbage bag around the stump.
  3. Use big boulders or bricks to weigh the sack down. If the stump is small, cover it with a dark-colored pail or container.

Compared to physical removal procedures, this process involves little to no effort, although it is slower.

Boiling water

To try this remedy, you only need hot water and no other substances or solutions.

  1. As much of the root structure of the stump as feasible should be exposed.
  2. Drill holes in the roots and on top of the stump to allow the scalding water to reach as much of the root system as possible, thereby killing the roots with heat.
  3. Pour boiling water over the roots once they are completely exposed. The root system will be badly damaged and killed due to the water’s heat.

The natural decomposition process might begin after the stump and roots have died.

How to identify a rotten stump

Tree Stump

There are several telltale indications to determine when stump removal is the best option. The following are a few examples of warning signs:

Mushroom-like growth 

Stump rot can be identified by the appearance of “fuzzy” tree stumps or the presence of grey mushroom-like growth on the stump’s top and bark.

Tender and wet 

Stump rot is present when the tree stump becomes softer to the touch, mushy in certain parts, or “spongy.”

Presence of bugs or pests 

If a swarm of insects has taken up residence in the stump, it’s a sure indicator of decay. A decaying stump will almost certainly be infected, although healthy trees and tree stumps contain some bugs.

You may start the removal process once you’ve determined that your tree stump has stump rot. A decaying tree stump is significantly easier to remove than a healthy or budding tree stump.

How can a tree stump rot quickly?

The chemical approach is the quickest way to remove a tree stump without using a grinder. By injecting chemicals into the holes drilled into the stump, you may hasten the natural decay process and disintegrate the remaining tree fibers and roots. 

It’s one of the most effective techniques to eliminate a tree stump in your yard. You’ll need to follow the steps below to implement this approach.

How to rotate a tree stump

  1. If feasible, start on a dry day or after a few dry days. The tree stump will be hunting for moisture and nutrients in this manner and will absorb the chemicals more quickly.
  2. Use a chainsaw to chop the remaining section of the tree as near the ground as feasible if you are capable. The chemicals will have less substance to chew through as a result. Chainsaws may be dangerous, so always exercise caution and wear steel-toed boots and eye protection while using one.
  3. Drill several holes through the top of the stump and down the sides in a downward direction after the tree stump is as near the ground as you can comfortably get it. The larger the drill bit, the deeper the holes should be, and each hole should be a few inches deep.
  4. After you’ve drilled holes in the stump, you’ll use chemicals to break down the remaining wood. The kind of chemicals you may acquire for this type of endeavor is strictly regulated in Oregon. You’ll get the best results with a commercial fertilizer that’s heavy in nitrogen, but cow dung is also useful. Epsom salt is another more realistic option. It’s also a cost-effective alternative, as a 19-pound page costs as little as $10. It possesses dissolving capabilities comparable to nitrogen, although it is a more organic approach. When you’ve decided which chemical to employ, fill the holes with as much of it as possible.
  5. Then moisten the ground surrounding the stump and the stump’s top and sides. Cover the damp stump with a plastic sheet to keep the moisture trapped around it. Finally, moisture will aid the chemicals in breaking down the wood particles more quickly.
  6. The following step is to spread mulch on top of the plastic sheet. Organic mulch, like hay or tree bark, is ideal for this job since it retains moisture and keeps the tarp in place.
  7. Although this step is optional, you can add boulders and stones to help weigh down the tarp and keep it in place.

Once you’ve done all these stages, you’ve officially rotten a tree stump. Because this is a speeding up of nature, and we all know how slow nature can be, you can anticipate it to take some time to work. What can you do to hasten the process of stump rot even more? You can repeat the decaying process if you see the mulch has dried out.

Why would you want your tree stump to rot?

Before we go into how to destroy a tree stump, it’s important to understand why and when you should consider rotting a tree stump for easy removal from the earth.

If you’ve chopped down a tree for any reason and need the room for something else, removing the tree stump from the ground will allow you to do so while keeping the area safe for you and your family. As previously said, removing a live tree stump is difficult. 

Alternative techniques such as digging out a live tree stump are time-consuming, while employing a tree stump grinder is costly and requires the assistance of specialists. When all of this is taken into account, rotting a tree becomes necessary.

Getting rid of the rotten stump

The removal procedure becomes a little simpler now that the tree stump is softer and showing indications of stump rot. If you have the back for it, digging is the simplest choice. Remove as much softwood from the top of the stump as possible, then dig around it to get rid of the roots.

Remove the roots from the ground by chopping them off at the stump with an ax, then following them as far as possible with a hoe. After the roots are gone, you may want to burn the rest. This won’t take long if the tree trunk is entirely dead. Fill the resultant hole with dirt, prepare for cultivation, or sow the grass area once all the wood has been removed.

Things to avoid when killing tree stumps

Tree Stump

To guarantee safety and effectiveness while removing or destroying tree stumps, consider the following factors:

  • When poured in large quantities over a stump, bleach can destroy it, but we recommend avoiding this procedure since it might harm the surrounding plants. Using a natural technique like Epsom salt, which is great for plants and soil, would be far healthier for your yard’s ecosystem.
  • Avoid using diesel fuel or gasoline to burn tree trunks since these solutions don’t provide the slow, efficient burn required to break down the wood effectively. Diesel and gasoline are both hazardous to the plants in your yard. We recommend using only a small amount of kerosene and kindling wood for your stump fires.
  • Even if your city allows you to burn a stump, keep an eye on it until it’s completely gone to prevent it from spreading outside the regulated region. When utilizing tree removal equipment such as a chainsaw or stump grinder, you should also take measures and wear the appropriate protective gear.
  • If your stump is near plants that you want to protect, be cautious while applying chemicals to it and keep them away from any other plants. While the magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt is beneficial to plants, too much of it can cause them to dry up.

Getting rid of old tree stumps

It may be difficult to get rid of a huge tree stump. It’s possible that the city won’t take it up with the rest of your yard garbage. Check with your city to see if it will be picked up. If not, inquire if there are any other possibilities. Certain local recycling sites accept large tree trunks.

If you have a lot of tree stumps to get rid of, renting a wood chipper and using the wood chips for other tasks around the yard can be worth it. You might be able to burn your old tree stumps if it’s legal in your region. Be careful to cover them with scrap wood first if you do this. It may take a long time for the stumps to burn entirely away if they are particularly huge.

Many stump removal firms may carry away old tree stumps for an extra price or include it in the cost of the job, so make sure to inquire before hiring one.

How to make the most of your space

Fill up the hole with dirt after removing a tree stump, then put grass seed over the top and cover with mulch hay. Keep a close eye on it and give it plenty of water. After the grass has grown over the area, you may utilize it any way you choose. 

Even if you only keep the area green and uncluttered, you’ll notice a significant improvement in the appearance of your yard.

Final words

When it comes to stump rot and tree stump removal, it’s better to wait until the stump is entirely decayed before attempting to remove it. The removal procedure will be quicker, but you may not even need huge, expensive instruments like a stump grinder to get the job done.

We hope you found our stump rot information useful. Best of luck!