Tree Stump Removal 101: Understanding Your Options

If you're having a problematic tree removed from your property, one of the last decisions you'll have to make in the process is determining what you want to do about the tree stump. Usually, tree removal services don't include dealing with the stump unless you specifically request it. Even then, you'll have options as to how that tree stump is handled. Here's a look at some of the things that you need to know about your stump removal options.


The first, and sometimes simplest, solution for dealing with a tree stump is to just leave it to decompose on its own. If the stump is located somewhere far enough from your home to not worry about pest infestation threats, you can cut grid lines in the top of the stump and drill a couple of holes to help encourage pests to settle in it. From there, the tree stump will naturally decompose, but it will take many years for the process to be completed. 

You'll also have to watch the stump for any signs of disease presence since the exposed trunk can be vulnerable to disease exposure. If you see any signs of disease, you'll need to call a stump removal contractor to physically eliminate the stump so that it doesn't spread to other trees on the property.

Chemical Treatment

Many stump removal contractors opt for a chemical treatment to kill and eliminate a tree stump. With a chemical removal process, holes are drilled in the stump and then a chemical product is poured over the stump and into those holes. 

Most chemical treatments work because the potassium nitrate actually causes the wood fibers to decompose rapidly. Within a couple of months, the entire stump will be soft and crumbling, making it easy for you to shovel the remnants out of the yard.


Another option for stump removal is to burn the stump. If you want this process to be effective, you'll have to drill a few holes in the stump and then pour fuel over the stump to encourage the fire. Then, light the stump on fire and allow it to burn until the fire burns out from lack of fuel.

This is a simple way to eliminate the stump all the way to the roots, but it must be done under careful supervision and only when there is no threat of fire danger conditions. Make sure that you clear it with your local fire department before you have a stump removal contractor burn a stump in your yard.


Grinding is the option that many homeowners choose when they want a tree stump out of their yard in a timely manner. The tree stump grinding process involves using a stump grinding machine to break up the stump into tiny pieces that you can then scoop out and dispose of. Grinding allows you to eliminate the stump and the root structure beneath. 

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