How to Remove A Tree Stump Without A Grinder?

Once you have killed and removed a tree, you will be left with a tree stump. Leftover stumps can ruin the look of your property and can also bring a lot of pests and diseases. Removing a tree stump can be very intimidating, especially if you have to use a grinder. Are there any methods for removing a tree stump without any grinder? Let’s take a look.

The easiest and the fastest method of removing a tree stump is by removing it manually by either digging and pulling it out of the ground or using a mechanical machine for doing so. You can also choose to burn the stump or rot it using chemicals.

removing a leftover stump without grinder

How to Get Rid of a Tree Stump Without A Grinder?

There are a number of methods through which you can get rid of a tree stump without using a grinder. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Manual Method

If you are dealing with a small to medium-sized tree stump, you can manually remove it quite easily. Although keep in mind that you might require one more person’s help in some cases.

For this method, you will need a shovel, an ax, chainsaw, or a Sawzall and safety equipment such as work gloves, eye protection, and steel-toed work boots.

  1. Using an axe or a chainsaw, cut down the stump to the ground
  2. Dig around the base of the stump using a shove. Dig about 2-3 feet down
  3. Using a shovel, loosen the root ball of the stump
  4. Cut the connecting roots using an axe or a sawzall
  5. Using the shovel like a level, push the stump above the soil a little bit to make it loose
  6. If you are dealing with a smaller stump, you can probably pull it out of the ground by tying a rope around its circumference and pulling it
  7. If the stump is a little bigger, you might need a couple of people to help you do it.
  8. With even larger stumps, you will need to tie the rope to the back of a machine and pull it out.

Recommended reading: How much does a stump weigh?

Chemical Method

If you are dealing with a large stump or if you don’t want to use the manual method, you can rot the stump using chemicals. This will make the stump very easy to remove once it has completely rotten.

You will need a portable sprayer to deliver the herbicide, a drill bit, an ax, tarp, mulch, and a herbicide like Potassium Nitrate, Nitrogen heavy herbicides such as Tordon RTU.

  1. Cut down the stump using an axe to as close to the ground as possible
  2. Drill deep holes into the stump 1 inch apart. Drill holes over the entire area of the stump
  3. Fill the holes till the top with the herbicide
  4. Let the stump absorb the herbicide and cover the stump with a tarp. The tarp will retain any moisture and block sunlight to the stump which will accelerate the rotting
  5. Put some mulch over the tarp and around the base of the stump. Water this mulch to further retain the moisture.
  6. Every two weeks check the status of the stump and remove the top layer which has already decayed. Repeat steps 2-5 till the stump completely rots.

You can brush some herbicide over the leftover roots to make sure that the tree is completely dead.

Burning Method

You can also burn the stump to remove it from your property. But keep in mind that this mind depends on the legality of burning stumps in your area, so make sure to check with your local authorities before going ahead.

For this method, you will need a drill bit, some fuel like kerosene, and a long lighter.

  1. Drill deep holes into the stump, about 1 inch apart. Drill holes over the entire area of the stump.
  2. Fill the holes and the entire stump with kerosene. Make sure not to overpour it or else it will start puddling near the base.
  3. Light fire to the fuel and observe from a safe distance.

Make sure that there is no wind during this day otherwise the embers can get carried long distances.

Once the entire stump has been burnt, you can cut and remove the remaining root ball easily.

How Much Time Does It Take to Remove a Tree Stump?

If you are going to manually remove a tree or simply burn it, then you can see the result simultaneously. But if you decide to rot them using chemical herbicides, then it can take anywhere between 6 months to a few years for the stump to completely rot.

The time will depend on the size, species, condition of the tree as well as the climate of the area you live in.


You can remove a stump from your property by either removing it manually by digging it out or by using an excavator or other heavy machinery. You can also rot the stump by using commercial herbicides or by burning it down.

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