How to kill & remove tree stumps & roots + best killers

Trees spice up our farms and homes, but there comes a time when the inevitable has to happen. We are forced to cut down a tree that is decades old, if not more. Cutting down trees is pretty easy, especially when hiring someone to do it. Spending money on hiring professionals to deal with it can turn out to be expensive.

Bonide stump-out

Stumps left after trees have been felled are an eyesore and require to be dealt with in the fastest and most economical DIY method. Leaving them at your home will lead to other plants mushrooming from the remains.

How do you kill them fast?

heart shaped tree

Killing tree stumps and roots top our wishlist immediately after we fell a tree. Getting it done becomes a nuisance that troubles us so often. Plants shooting off the roots make our gardens and farms worse than we wanted when cutting down trees.

We can apply many methods to kill the stumps and roots almost immediately after cutting down a tree. The methods discussed here have been tried and worked successfully for many people who previously faced a similar problem.

stump being removed

We have also worked on an article on the best extensions cables. It has been received with much appreciation by people globally. If faced with a dilemma on which cord to choose due to the length involved, you could use our cables by length link.

Killing tree stumps fast requires methods that apply more mechanical action than chemical action methods, like:

  1. Using a grinder
  2. Digging out roots.
  3. Burning it

Become more effective and yield the results required. That’s what we’ll teach you today.

How to kill tree stumps and roots fast

Killing tree stumps need prior planning. Some trees require you to prepare well in advance. You’ll need to acquire the money for materials and skills to carry out the task ahead of you. The methods used should be chosen as keenly as you choose a basement crawl space humidifier.

We have discussed some of the methods involved. Here’s how to go about removing a tree once you decide on which to go on with.

1)              Using a grinder.

stump grinder

Grinders have come out on top of the methods you can use to kill tree stumps and remove them from the compound. It’ll barely take any time.

Stump grinders are encouraged for people who enjoy carrying out physical tasks at home in their free time. Like flux core welders, you are advised to read and understand the instructions before use.

To use a grinder, you should consider renting one from the local store where they stock and know the cost of renting one. You should also get to know which grinder they have in stock. Is it good for the task you are about to embark on?

Get the right dimensions of the stump remover if you have obstacles in your intended working area. They include garden gates. Get to know the grinder ground clearance if you work in a rocky area. Suppose you’re unsure of the dimensions. Use our SAE to Metric chart. These will help you prepare well in advance for the day ahead of you.

Renting these machines is quite costly. You should ensure all the preparations are ready. That way, you don’t get charged for the time you don’t use the piece of equipment. The preparations made before using a grinder should be meticulous. Treat it the same way we are required when setting up amp wires and breakers.

Before renting it, ensure that you have a reliable means of transport to get the machine to your work site. Some companies will have it delivered and pick it up once done. Others leave it to you to cater for its transportation.

How to remove them with a grinder

Burning itDigging it outRemovers
tree being removed

Removing tree stumps requires enough preparation time to give you an easier time while operating the grinder.

How to remove trees with a grinder

  1. Ensure your protective equipment (PPE) is required when operating the grinder.

    The PPEs include safety goggles and earmuffs. Use safety boots with steel toe caps to lessen the severity of an accident.

  2. Clear the stump area with a shovel or ax by removing unwanted material.

    Remove any rocks and other debris.

  3. Using a chainsaw reduces the tree stump to a lower level to make it easier for the grinder to work on it from the ground level.

  4. Position the grinder wheel a few centimeters above the stump and turn it on.

  5. Lower the wheel to the stump and move it side to side, letting it do its work.

  6. Grind it until its diameter is evenly around 4” below the surface.

  7. Fill the hole left with chips and loosen the top surface soil to cover it.

       2.) Digging it out

Another effective method of dealing with tree stumps and roots left after the tree has fallen is to remove both. You should note that this method is only advisable for small to medium-sized trees. Larger sizes will have you working longer than is necessary. At times, you will be unable to complete the task.

Step 1: Dig around the stump, deep enough to get to the roots.

Step 2: Remove the loose soil to gain access to the roots.

Step 3: Cut off the roots.

Step 4: Continue digging to get to the main root, the taproot.

Step 5: Cut off the taproot and remove everything.

       3.) Burning

Burning takes very little time to kill a tree compared to chemical processes. A chemical process may take several months to achieve the same result. Before burning, you need to start the preparation process two days prior. It ensures burning it down completely is easy.

Step 1: Drill holes into the stump that will create space to pour your fuel and for proper air circulation for burning to occur.

Step 2: Pour a removal powder to make the wood porous.

Bonide product

Step 3: Pour the fuel. You can use either kerosene or fuel oil. Leave it to be absorbed.

Step 4: Set it on fire, leaving it to burn while you are around to prevent the fire from spreading. Once burnt to your satisfaction, extinguish the fire and cover it with topsoil.

Before using burning as a method, ensure that the local laws allow such practices to be carried out.

Does stump killer work & what is it?


What is a stump killer?

A stump killer is defined as a chemical substance you can apply to kill and accelerate its rotting process. Once done, you can successfully remove the stump.

They are the preferred method when dealing with several stumps that require being killed and removed. It is more of a hands-off approach. If you have several, you can easily deal with all of them on the same day. Unlike the mechanical methods like digging it up, it could take a day to remove one from the ground.

Stump-out removal product

This method is preferred due to its low cost of operation. You can work on the project alone without getting very tired. For instance, you could prepare more than 5 stumps in a day using these chemical solutions.

Many people are skeptical of these, casting doubts on whether they work or not. If applied correctly and following the manufacturer’s instructions, they do work.

Unlike mechanical methods, chemical methods may take several months to work. Their effectiveness is unmatched, despite them working at a slower pace. They work by speeding up decomposition, leading to earlier rotting of what remains.

For a stump that is already rotten, pick up a pickaxe to chip it out. Do so until you get to a level above the ground you consider low enough not to be a nuisance. Cover the remaining part with topsoil or grass.

How long does it take for this chemical to work?

They do not have a defined time frame in which they work. Their effectiveness and results depend on the type that needs to be worked on. Generally, hardwoods take longer to decompose than softwoods. The hardwood will take longer to decompose for the same brand and amount applied.

However, it is estimated that this process takes 2-8 weeks to work.

How to rot a stump

Accelerating the decay rate requires much planning and preparation to ensure that all goes on as planned. First, you need a compound rich in nitrogen. The commonly used product is nitrogen-based fertilizers. Nitrogen speeds up the decay rate for people living in areas with animal manure that can also be used.

We have outlined some of the steps needed below:

Step 1: Cut the stump as near the ground as possible using a chainsaw.

Step 2: Drill holes vertically and diagonally with a large drill to ensure that the airflow will be enough to aid in the process.

Step 3: Remove the bark and loosen the soil around it to ensure proper aeration.

Step 4: Pour the type of chemical you will have chosen and add water. The water applied will help the chemical soak faster into the tree.

Step 5: Cover the ground around and on top with mulch and pour water on top and around. It will soak in the water, which will speed up the rotting more.

Chemical options

Chemical killers are preferred because they are less manual. It only requires you to prepare the stump and apply whatever chemical you have chosen. Sit back and wait for it to die undisturbed.

Chemical methods use substances like Round-Up or Spetracide to hasten the decomposition. It makes the wood more porous and easier to remove once fully decomposed.

How to apply it:

Step 1: Cut the stump till you get as close to the ground as possible.

Step 2: Using a drilling bill, drill holes almost 1” wide on top of the stump. Do so to provide spaces where you will pour the chemical. Try to make the holes at least about 5-7 inches deep for the chemical to get as far in as possible.

Step 3: Apply the chemical, pouring it in the drilled holes as advised by the manufacturer on the packaging paper. If the chemical is in granular form, you should add some water for maximum absorption.

Step 4: Check the rotting process to determine whether to add more chemicals from time to time. It will decay and be ready for removal with a pickaxe in a few weeks.

Best tree stump killers

There are thousands of stump killers in the market today. Getting to know the best has always proven to be a daunting task. After using different products and consulting professionals, we have come up with a list of the top tree removal solutions.

Most of these products use potassium nitrate to accelerate the decaying process due to their high nitrogen composition.

  1. Roundup tree stump and root killer

Roundup is a product that uses glyphosate as its main component to kill the remaining growth. It works effectively and goes after the roots in a systematic way. Once the herbicide is sprayed or poured, it is absorbed and transported to the roots by the freshly cut tree.

Roundup can also kill weeds that are a nuisance growing on gravel and pathways. It is so potent that it easily kills the Japanese Knotweed, which is hard to kill.

Method of application

A cup of Roundup is diluted with 9 cups of water. Spray the mixture in a freshly cut area. The sprayed mixture will then be absorbed, killing the roots and thus stopping the regeneration of the plant.

For optimal results, follow the instructions on the packaging. It takes 2-4 weeks for the decomposition to take place.

After removing the stumps and the roots, wait about a week before planting anything new on the same spot. Consider adding new soil as well.

With Roundup, you get good value for your money because a 250 ml bottle can be effectively used 16 times. You can also use it to kill weeds and other plants.

  1. Spectracide

Spectracide is potassium nitrate-based which is preferred for use because it does not affect neighboring plants. It is also a pocket-friendly option, best recommended for medium-sized tree trunks.

It is designed with an easy-pour opening to direct the granule to where you want without wastage. For optimal dissolution and results, you are advised to use hot water.

  1. Gordon’s, 32 oz

Gordon’s is a ready-to-use option that decays the remains to the roots. It is used with a brush killer. It has so much potency that the 32 oz bottle can be split across several uses before disposal.

It comes in a fluid form packaged in a squirt bottle designed to make it easier to apply the liquid into the drilled holes. After pouring the highly concentrated liquid, you can add water for several uses.

You need to be careful when using it because it kills the surrounding vegetation and plants.

  1. Bonide

Made from an inorganic substance known as sodium metabisulfite, Bonide is granularly packaged in a can. It comes with an easy-to-use cap for application.

Bonide stamp out is designed for trees older than 12 months. Use it on freshly cut ones but for preventing plant regeneration. You will have to reapply for the solution months later. You can use it to kill weeds in your garden as well.


What is the fastest way to remove a tree stump?

Getting rid of a tree stump is not for the weak-hearted. It’s a time-consuming and strenuous process. But the fastest way you can remove a tree stump is by using a tree stump grinder. With the grinder, it should only take you a couple of hours for a clean job. But if you’d like an alternative, burning the tree stump is also a reasonably timed method.

What is the cheapest way to get rid of a tree stump?

Using heavy machinery may allow you to remove a tree stump quickly, but it comes at a reasonably high price. But if you’re looking for cheaper options, chemicals work best! Chemicals such as glyphosate and triclopyr are readily available at a comparatively low retail price.

How do you remove a stump without a grinder?

Removing a tree stump may be the most efficient with a grinder. Still, multiple other options make the removal a speedy process.

Instead of a grinder, you can chemically remove the tree stump. The chemicals rot the stump, making it easier to extract from the soil. Alternatively, you can burn the tree stump using kerosene and stump out the chemical. Lastly, you may manually remove the tree stump using axes and manpower.

How does Epsom salt remove a tree stump?

The Epsom salt acts as a drying agent. It removes the moisture from the tree stump and the soil, leaving it completely dry. Unfortunately, over time the stump begins to wither and rot. And by the end of 8 to 10 weeks, the tree stump dies.

What will dissolve tree roots?

The most group of chemicals to help dissolve tree roots are chemical herbicides. The most common herbicides include glyphosate, imazapyr, triclopyr amine, and triclopyr ester.

Other than chemicals, you may even use rock salt to dissolve tree roots. It’s even though it might be slightly more time-consuming.

What chemical kills tree roots?

Chemical herbicides speed up the removal of tree roots, either by inhibiting growth or interfering with protein synthesis. The most commonly used chemicals include dicamba, triclopyr, picloram, imazapyr, and glyphosate.