Two Ways to Remove a Tree Stump Without a Grinder

A stump is a surprisingly stubborn object. It can take months or years to see the decay begin to set-in, and, that’s just the beginning of a very long decomposition process. It will take a lot more time for a stump to fall apart and for the root system to no longer hold it firmly in-place. Because of the problems stumps present: tripping hazards, lawn mower obstacles. And, being unsightly, you’ll want to deal with it right away instead of letting nature take it’s very slow course.

The answer for some people is to rent a stump grinder. These big, powerful machines seem to be a quick ticket to ridding the ground of a stump. However, looks can be fooling, because it requires a lot of experience and labor to use a stump grinder. It won’t magically disintegrate the stump in one fell swoop, it takes a whole bunch of effort and is a dangerous machine to use for those without experience. The good news is, there are two ways to remove a tree stump without a grinder.

Two Ways to Remove a Tree Stump without a Grinder

Before you get too excited, you should check with your local waste pickup and disposal service to ensure the stump will be hauled away. If that’s not an option, you can burn out the middle, fill it with potting soil, and plant flowers. Another use it to make it into an anchor for something, like a table and umbrella set, or, if it’s still tall enough, you can turn into a fixed table top. Yet another option is to cover it with rocks, creating an ad-lib rock garden.

Cutting down a tree is a fairly easy way to rid yourself of an obstructive, dead or otherwise unwanted tree, but you must still contend with the stump long after removing the log. Although stumps eventually decay naturally, you can easily trip over stumps or run over them while mowing, causing extensive damage to you lawn mower. Garden centers sell stump removal products–chemicals intended to decay the stump for easier removal–but you can use a less harmful method to get rid of the tree stump. —San Francisco Chronicle

However, if you really want to be rid of a stump, you can also call-in a professional service to dig it up in its entirety and haul it away. Of course, this will be a very costly option because it’s labor intensive, no matter the method of manual removal. Speaking of manual removal, that’s one of the ways to remove a tree stump without a grinder.

Manual No Grinder Stump Removal

For small and medium size stumps, these can be removed manually without too much effort. It’s worth cautioning, though, this is still dangerous work, by its very nature. To get rid of a small or medium size stump, do the following:

  1. Dig with a mattock. Using a large mattock, dig around the stump to expose the roots and tap-root. You won’t necessarily see the entire root-ball, but, you will expose much of what’s left in the ground.
  2. Shovel loose dirt out-of-the-way. Shovel the loose dirt away (which will likely be quite plentiful). You’ll need a clear area in which to work in order to get the entire stump and root-ball out of the ground.
  3. Chop through the tree roots. Use a mattock or ax to chop through the tree roots to begin to loosen them from the stump and out of the ground.
  4. Break through the tap-root. Now, use an ax to get through the root-ball to the tap-root. This will take real effort but for smaller stumps, will loosen enough that you can begin to pull it out partly or entirely.
  5. Work the stump and roots out. Cut through the tap-root with an ax for medium size stumps. Once it is compromised, you’ll be able to extract the whole thing out of the ground.

Backfill the hole after removing the stump and tamp it down at least two to three times to ensure it is firm enough to prevent caving-in.

Chemical No Grinder Stump Removal

Another way to remove a stump without a grinder is to use a tarp and mulch to speed up the natural decaying process. While this won’t allow you to remove the stump immediately, it’s a safe and easy option for getting rid of it.

  1. Drill holes into the stump. To start, drill several holes, as deep as possible, into the stump.
  2. Fill the holes with water and fertilizer. Fill the holes with water, then with high nitrogen fertilizer.
  3. Soak the surrounding ground. Saturate the ground immediately surrounding the stump.
  4. Cover the stump with a plastic tarp. Place a plastic tarp over the stump and cinch it into place with rope.
  5. Spread mulch over the tarp. Cover the tarp with mulch to trap the moisture and prevent it from being an eyesore.

Now, you’ll just have to wait. Occasionally, you can repeat steps 2 through 5 to help keep the process going and lessen the time needed.

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