How to rot a tree stump with a chemical

Updated February 21, 2017

Use a chemical tree remover to almost effortlessly rot your tree stump. Chemical tree stump removers are typically made of potassium nitrate, a chemical that speeds up the rotting process. The end result is a spongy textured leftover stump that is easily removed from the ground with an axe. These products usually come in granular form and you only need to add water to activate it.

Attach a 1-inch spade bit and spade extension to your drill.

Drill a series of holes around the perimeter in the top of the stump. Make the holes about 12 inches deep and keep them about 3 to 4 inches from the stump's edge. Drill holes around the base of the stump, about 3 to 4 inches down from the stump's edge. Drill in at a 45-degree angle to connect with the holes in the stump's top.

Pour about 113gr. of the stump remover granules into each of the holes on the stump top. Fill a spouted container with water. Position the spout in the top of the stump holes and pour the water in until filled.

Allow the stump to sit for about four to six weeks to rot.


Break up the stump after it decomposes with an axe. Some stump remover chemical directions suggest burning the rotted stump. Burning requires pouring fuel oil over the stump, lighting it and allowing it to burn until the stump is completely burnt down to ashes. This is an effective means of removal, but does require extreme caution. Enclose the stump with fencing, remove leaves from around the stump and watch it closely.


Use stump removers only on older stumps, not on freshly cut stumps. Keep kids and pets away from the rotting stump.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • 1-inch spade bit
  • Spade bit extension
  • Spouted container
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About the Author

Sommer Leigh has produced home, garden, family and health content since 1997 for such nationally known publications as "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Midwest Living," "Healthy Kids" and "American Baby." Leigh also owns a Web-consulting business and writes for several Internet publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in information technology and Web management from the University of Phoenix.