How to kill tree stumps with salt

Updated February 21, 2017

Unwanted tree stumps are unsightly blemishes in your yard that can be obstacles to proper landscaping. Accidentally mowing over roots from a low tree stump can damage your lawn care equipment. Killing the tree stump makes it easier to remove completely at a later date. Overdosing the stump with salt will effectively kill the stump.

Attach a 3.7 cm (1 1/2 inch) drill bit to an electric drill.

Drill a series of holes into the top of the tree stump. Make each hole on a 30- to 45-degree angle and 25 cm (10 inches) deep. Space the holes 5 cm (2 inches) apart in a circle around the top of the stump.

Repeat the drilling on the side of the stump. Make the holes the same depth and angle, and space them 5 cm (2 inches) apart in a ring around the stump.

Pour rock salt into each hole until the hole is full.

Cover each hole with duct tape so rainwater does not dissolve the salt.

Check the holes in two weeks. If the salt level has lowered, refill the holes. Repeat this until the stump is dead.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric drill
  • Drill bit, 3.7 cm (1 1/2 inch)
  • Rock salt
  • Duct tape
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.