Natural Tree Stump Rotting Agents

Written by andrew leahey
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Natural Tree Stump Rotting Agents
Stumps of less than a foot in height are easiest to rot. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Removing a tree stump manually can be an arduous task. Many homeowners opt to cut their tree down as close to the ground as they can and then turn to methods of hastening the natural decaying process to remove the rest of the stump. Caustic chemicals that encourage rot can be hazardous to the surrounding landscape and some homeowners prefer to use natural agents to encourage their stump rotting.

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Bore Holes

Boring some holes into your stump is the easiest, most environmentally friendly way to begin to encourage decay. Holes will expose more surface area to the effects of nature and will help wood-decaying fungi get a foothold on your stump. Drill as many holes as you can, as deep as you can. Better to drill a series of smaller holes than one large hole, as more surface area will be exposed.


If your tree stump is small enough in size, consider covering it with sod. Sod or rolls of grass, will not only hide the unsightly stump from view, but will keep conditions moist and conducive to decay within the stump itself. Throw some top soil over the stump and roll out several pieces of sod to lock in the moisture and speed up the rotting process.

Grass Clippings

Dumping grass clippings from a mulching lawnmower on the stump is a great way to hasten the decaying process. As the grass decays into mulch and eventually topsoil, bacteria feeding on the grass will migrate into the stump and hasten its decay. Additionally, decaying grass clippings give off heat, which will help encourage mould and fungal growth in the wooden stump.

Nitrogen Fertilizer

For the first year or two after your tree has been cut down, adding some nitrogen fertiliser to your stump may help fungi grow. As the wood has not had time to decay, there is a lack of nitrogen in the area, which can inhibit fungal growth. Careful addition of small amounts of nitrogen can encourage not only fungal, but bacterial growth and further hasten your stump's departure.

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