How To Remove A Tree Stump When You Don't Have A Grinder

If you have access to a stump grinder, then removing a tree stump is pretty simple. But what if you don't have one of these machines or don't feel comfortable using one? You're not doomed to live with that tree stump in your yard until it rots away 15 years from now. Here's an alternative stump removal method that relies on just a few simple supplies.

You'll need:

  • A large container of potassium nitrate (this is often sold as stump removing compound at landscaping stores)
  • A standard drill with large bits
  • Gloves
  • Plenty of water -- preferably warm
  • A shovel or trowel
  • Some topsoil
  • Grass seed

This process will take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months depending on the size of your stump and how long it has already been sitting. Still, it is much faster than waiting for the stump to naturally break down. 

Start by drilling a bunch of holes down into the stump. Use as large of a drill bit as possible, and drill down to the full depth of the bit. You really can't make too many holes, so be generous. Spacing them an inch apart is a good starting point -- and then you can go back and add more if you have the patience.

Once you have the holes drilled, put on your gloves and pour the potassium nitrate (it's usually a powder or granules) over the stump. Make sure plenty of the compound makes its way down into the holes and that there's a generous layer of it on top of the stump, too. Again, you really can't use too much. 

Next, pour warm water over the potassium nitrate. It should dissolve and slowly be absorbed into the stump. 

Wait a week, and then put your gloves on. Feel the stump --- parts of it should be taking on a spongy texture. Pull any spongy pieces off of the trunk, using the shovel or trowel to help you.

Once you've removed all of the spongy wood you can, repeat the drilling process. Apply another layer of potassium nitrate and water, and let the stump sit for another week. Then, remove the spongy wood again. Repeat this process each week until no more stump remains.

Once you've dug out the stump completely, fill in the hole with topsoil. Then, sow some grass seed on top, water it in, and step back to admire your work!

For more tips, contact a company like Brown's Tree Service.