How To Kill A Tree Stump Fast

There are many ways to kill a tree stump slowly if you have the time and patience for it.

But most of us don’t, which is reasonable when we are talking about tree stumps that could hurt someone.

Ways to kill your tree stump fast include getting a stump grinder, digging out the roots by hand, burning the stump out, using a stump killer, and using Epsom salts.

Read on to find out which option is the best for you.

Get a stump grinder

The fastest way you are going to find to get rid of your tree stump is to get a stump grinder, which you can find here to purchase from Home Depot.

You can also check your local hardware store to see if they have one to rent.

It gets right into the stump and grinds it down until nothing is left.

This is nice because if you try taking everything out by hand, then you could miss something and the tree could grow back.

It will grow back slowly but surely of course, but grow back nonetheless.

They are big machines to use, though, so it will take some skill to work the machine to grind down the stump.

You might need a few people to help you with the project.


  1. This is going to get rid of your tree and stump. By the time you are done, the tree won’t grow back and you’ll have that space in the ground to do with it what you want.
  2. This is the fastest option, depending on how fast you plan to go. Because the machine is so big, you might want to take a day or two to grind out tree stump.
  3. You’ll only need you and a few friends to use the machine. You can even switch off every once in awhile to see who holds onto the machine while it grinds. Then, once you get tired enough, switch off with your friend and make sure he/she is safe while they are doing the grinding.
  4. Major injury to operator is minimal if they are being safe.
  5. Relatively cheap to rent if you can get the job done within a day.


  1. The machine is rather big and it might take a little bit of time and training to get used to it.
  2. Injury could occur to the operating and they aren’t paying attention or anyone else that might be around the front of the grinder.
  3. The grinder costs quite a bit if you plan on purchasing the grinder. If you are going to need the grinder for more than one day, the cost for rent is going to go up as well.
  4. If you don’t want to do the job yourself (which the rest of these options you can do yourself), then you’d need to hire out to someone else to do it for you. Check in your local listings to see how much a job like this would cost.

Dig out the roots by hand

Your next option is a much cheaper option than the stump grinder, but the tradeoff is it’s going to take quite a bit more time.

This is digging out the roots by hand.

What you’ll need for this is a shovel, pickaxe, some gloves, a hand saw, and a lot of energy.

Once you get these items, then you begin to dig out the stump.

Start about 6 inches from the base of the stump and then dig down.

You shouldn’t start any closer to the base than this, otherwise, you will immediately run into the base of the tree underground.

This is pointless because you need to get to the roots to get the stump out of the ground.

So start digging.

If you come across some roots in the ground, pull out the hand saw and saw at the root until you’ve gone clean through.

Once you’ve dug out that section, then start digging around the tree in a circle.

And again, once you come across a root, use the hand saw to cut through it.

When you’ve got all the way around the tree, then grab some friends and pull the stump out of the ground.

Then you are all done.


  1. Relatively inexpensive option. You’ll just need the items described above, if you don’t already have them in your house.
  2. You should be able to have the tree stump out of the ground within 1 to 2 days, depending on how big the stump is and how many roots you have to saw.
  3. You can have multiple people working on getting the stump out of the ground at the same time, instead of doing all the work yourself or one person at a time.
  4. You don’t have to worry about what chemicals you might be putting into the ground and whether or not plants are going to grow in that part of the ground.


  1. It is going to be a lot of work. Digging around the tree is long and monotonous and if you are doing it by yourself, plan on taking a lot of breaks.
  2. You might have to rent a truck and purchase some straps, depending on the size of your stump. If the stump does deep into the ground and has a lot of roots, the only option is to pull that stump out with a truck and some leverage.

Burn the stump out

Burning the stump is a great option that takes a few days to get the full effect.

There are two options you need to consider before you can start burning your stump.

Saw and burn

For this option, you’ll need a chainsaw.

Once you have your chainsaw, you’ll cut a chessboard pattern into the tree stump.

Make sure to cut the pattern at least as deep as you feel comfortable and make sure the squares are at least 2X2.

This will allow the fire to get deep into the stump of the tree so it kills it off.

Drill and burn

For this option, instead of creating a chessboard pattern, you are getting a drill bit into your drill.

Then you drill holes into the top and the side of the stump.

Just like the saw and burn, this gives the opportunity for the fire to get deep into the stump.

Once you’ve selected your option, you’ll want to do it a day or so before you plan on burning your tree stump.

After you’ve drilled your holes or used your chainsaw, make sure to clear out the space around your stump.

If you don’t clear the space, you run the danger of starting your yard on fire.

And who knows how far it would travel if you couldn’t put it out in time.

Then, soak some clothe with lighter fluid and stick them into the holes or throughout the chessboard.

After that, you can light the clothes on fire.

Then keep an eye on the fire and make sure it doesn’t get out of control.

And if the fire goes out, then you can start it up again.

Keep the fire going until you feel like the stump has been sufficiently burned.

Then put out the fire and cover the remaining stump with dirt.


  1. This should be pretty easy work, outside of the preparation work. Other than that, it’s waiting for the fire to do its work.
  2. You don’t need very many materials to perform the task outside of the chainsaw or drill bit, depending on which option you choose.


  1. There’s the potential to cause a lot of damage if you let the fire get out of the control. Make sure to have plenty of water around in case you need to put the fire out.
  2. Could take up to 4 days to burn the stump down all the way.
  3. You’ll need to make sure the stump is pretty dry or trying to make it burn won’t work.

Use a stump killer

Using a stump killer is slower than the above option.

But it also probably takes the least amount of labor to accomplish.

In the case of using the stump killer, you first get out your chainsaw and cut the stump to the ground as close as you can get.

Then, get out your drill bit and drill some holes in the stump.

Just like with the burn option, you want to get the stump killer as deep into the stump as you can get.

This will help the stump killer finish off the stump.

Also, remove as much of the bark as you can.

Next, put on safety gloves and goggles.

Then fill in all the holes with the stump killer.

Check back regularly and refill the holes with stump killer, if needed.


  1. Very little maintenance is needed, you just have to check on it regularly.
  2. Very few tools are needed, so not an expensive option.


  1. You are using a stump killer, and that may have negative effects on your soil. The stump killer might make it difficult for you to grow other things in the soil.
  2. You have to be really careful with the stump killer, wearing goggles and gloves. If the stump killer gets on your skin or you accidentally swallow it, then you should go to the hospital.
  3. It will take some time for the stump killer to actually kill your stump. It could take anywhere between 2 and 6 months for it to finish the job.

Use Epsom salts

Our final option for killing your stump fast is using Epsom salt.

Just like with the stump killer, you will need to drill some holes into the stump.

Once you have the holes drilled, fill in the holes with the Epsom salt.

When they are good and filled, pour water over the top of the stump and the Epsom salt.

Then, cover the stump with a tarp and use rocks or stakes to keep the tarp down.

The Epsom salt then pulls the moisture from the wood, eventually killing.

You might have to check every few days and apply more Epsom salt as needed.


  1. Healthier option for your soil than stump killer.
  2. Very little time is spent using Epsom salt to kill your stump.


  1. It could take anywhere betwen 6 months to a year to get rid of your tree stump.
  2. You might have to apply the salt multiple times for it to actually work.


There are so many different options you have to kill your tree stump.

Your best option depends on how much money you are willing to spend and how much time you are willing to invest.

So take some time to figure out what option might be best for you and start working on it.

Bill Lantz

Bill Lantz is a database analyst by day and a weekend warrior by... weekend. He's currently building up his own miniature homestead in Central Utah with his wife and six kids. Some of his interests include knowing random trivia about films, reading history books, and playing video games with the boys.

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