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How to kill a tree stump with oil

After a tree has been cut down, its living stump continues to send out tiny branches. The only way to ensure the stump will not sprout is to kill it. The use of motor oil together with fire forms one very effective method of eliminating a stump. Spreading the motor oil over the tree roots is not enough to kill the tree and is harmful to the environment. Drilling into the stump, pouring motor oil into the holes and setting the stump on fire kills the stump without polluting the surrounding ground.

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  1. Insert the drill bit into the drill motor and ensure that it is securely in place.

  2. Turn on the drill and drill six 30 cm (12 inch) deep holes into the top of the stump. Space the holes four inches apart and at least three inches toward the centre of the stump from the perimeter.

  3. Drill holes at a 45-degree angle downward through the bark, starting 7.5 cm ( 3 inches) below the top of the stump. These holes must intersect with the holes drilled from the top, but they may be only 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) deep.

  4. Insert a funnel into a hole drilled into the top of the stump. Pour 118 ml (1/2 cup) of motor oil into a measuring cup and then pour the oil into the funnel so that it goes into the tree stump. Repeat this process until oil has been added to each of the six holes drilled from the top of the stump. Wait two weeks for the oil to fully soak into the stump.

  5. Light a match and drop it into a hole on the top of the stump. Set each hole on fire in this manner. Drape the chicken wire over the stump to keep local animals from getting too close to it. Let the fire smoulder. It will go out on its own and the stump will be reduced to ash.

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Things You'll Need

  • Drill motor
  • 2.5 cm (1 inch) drill bit, 30 cm (12 inches) long
  • Funnel
  • Motor oil
  • Measuring cup
  • Matches
  • Chicken wire

About the Author

Amanda Hevener has been a freelance writer and photographer since 2006. She is a member of the Akron Press Club. Her writing has appeared on SeededBuzz,, Baseball Fandom and Deep Left Field. She reviews restaurants for AltOhio and other websites. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English from Ashland University.

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