Natural Tree Stump Removal

Removing tree stumps naturally is a great way to get rid of unsightly stumps while not breaking the bank or your back having them dug out. The key to removing a tree stump naturally is harnessing the natural processes of decay, and putting them to use working on your stump. Commercial stump removal chemicals can be hazardous to the surrounding environment, and as such, many homeowners are opting to use natural removal methods.

Cut Low

The closer you can cut your tree or existing stump to the ground, the more success you will have removing it by natural means. The less wood that is left in your stump, the less fungal and bacterial growth will be required to decompose it to a point beneath ground level. Try to cut your tree or stump down to a height of less than 12 inches above the ground.

Drill Holes

Drill as many holes as you can in your stump. Holes will give a place for rain water to accumulate and fungus to gain a foothold on your stump. It also helps expose more of the stump's surface area to the elements. Drilling several smaller holes is better than drilling one large one. Make them as numerous as you can, and as deep as you can.

Cover Up

If possible, cover your stump up with organic material that will decay, further encouraging decay within the stump. Grass clippings work well for this, as they give off heat as they rot, further improving conditions for fungal growth. Leaf litter is also a good material to encourage rot. Keep the area damp as much as possible, and replenish organic material as it decomposes and you begin to see bits of the stump poking through.


Adding nitrogen to your stump and the organic material you heap over it will help encourage bacterial and fungal growth. Until the stump itself begins to decay, fungi will have trouble growing in the nitrogen depleted environment. Add a small amount of fertiliser to the mix, but be careful not to add too much, as you can burn surrounding lawn or plants. Follow the instructions on the fertiliser label and use as directed.

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About the Author

Andrew Leahey has been a writer since 1999, covering topics as varied as technology how-to guides and the politics of genetically modified organisms to African food supplies. He is pursuing his J.D. while renovating an 1887 farmhouse located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.