How to remove tree stumps without equipment

Updated February 21, 2017

Tree stump removal is a tedious and potentially dangerous job. Equipment such as stump grinders, chainsaws, lifts and tackle are all considered nearly essential for complete stump removal. Although when used separately or together, they are an effective means for the removal of virtually any tree stump. But most people do not have access to specialised equipment. A far simpler and equally effective way requires a hand drill with a spade bit, and stump remover powder.

Attach an 8-inch or 10-inch long, half-inch wide spade bit into a drill chuck. Drill six to eight holes around the inside of the tree stump.

Sprinkle tree stump remover powder into each drilled hole. Tree stump remover can be found at virtually any hardware store or on line. The remover will literally rot the tree stump over the course of several weeks, and turn the stump spongy.

Pull out the spongy rotted tree stump when the process has been completed. The longer the powder is left to work, the spongier the tree stump becomes and the easier it will be to remove it. If the tree stump remover is left in the stump long enough, chunks of the stump can literally be pulled out with gloved hands.


Many tree stump removers recommend burning out the tree stump using kerosene when the remover has done its job. Although this is a viable and effective way to remove the remaining trunk, extreme caution must be used. Chicken wire must completely envelope the stump, all leaves must be removed from the general vicinity, and the stump will smoulder for days before the fire goes out. Take all of this into consideration before attempting to burn out a stump.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill with spade bit
  • Stump remover powder
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About the Author

Dale Yalanovsky has been writing professionally since 1978. He has been published in "Woman's Day," "New Home Journal" and on many do-it-yourself websites. He specializes in do-it-yourself projects, household and auto maintenance and property management. Yalanovsky also writes a bimonthly column that provides home improvement advice.