DIY Tree Stump Removal

Updated July 20, 2017

When clearing trees from your lawn or field, you must remove the stump as well to ensure no regrowth. Depending on the species and age of the tree and the availability of equipment, stump removal can range from quite easy to very difficult. Consider the site conditions, size of your tree and help you will need before trying to remove a stump.

Determine the species of the tree you're removing. The root growth of the tree will affect your method of removal. For example, a pine tree grows shallow, lateral roots that are easily cut from the stump. Some deciduous trees grow deep taproots and require more digging to get at them.

Dig in a wide circle around the stump to expose the roots. Alternate between a shovel and spade, depending on space between roots.

Cut exposed roots with the landscape bar (a heavy steel bar with a flat blade at one end) by dropping its blade onto the roots. Or use the long-handled pruners, hatchet, pruning saw or chainsaw to cut roots. Before applying a blade to a tree root, brush off any sand or soil on the area to be cut. Debris on the wood when you cut will dull the blade.

Wiggle the stump from time to time as you work to see how loose it has become. Alternate between exposing new roots with the shovel or spade and cutting them free. The time it takes will depend on your tool of choice and how extensive the tree roots are.

Pull the stump upward and out once you've cut all the roots. A mini-excavator, tractor, or skid steer can help a lot in this last step if you have a particularly deep-rooted tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Landscape bar
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Long-handled pruners
  • Pruning saw
  • Chainsaw
  • Hatchet
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