Garden, Home, Home Improvement

Removing a Tree Stump

tree stump

An Alternative to Using a Grinder to Take Out the Remnants

Removing a Tree Stump

That problematic tree in the yard has been cut down and you’ve hauled away all the branches. All got that’s left now is that big tree stump sticking up out of the yard like a bad molar. So how are you going to remove the tree stump? For most of us it boils down to three choices. The first one is that you can call someone that has a stump grinder to take care it out for you. But wait a minute, you’re a DIY kind of guy/gal so that’s out of the question.

removing tree stump

Secondly, you could go to a local home improvement center and rent a tree grinder to tackle the job. That’s a superior choice but it involves renting a heavy piece of equipment. Now this narrows it down to option three – the DIY way. This is how to go about removing a tree stump by yourself.

tree stump grinder

Stump Removal Tools Needed

All purpose utility bar

Heavy duty digging spade



Trenching Around the Stump

trenching around the stump

The first and main operation in the stump removal process is carving out a trench 8 to 12 inches wide surrounding the radius of the tree stump. It’s like a small moat. The inner side of the trench will be at a minimum of 15 to 20 inches away from your stump. This will afford you lots of area to work with. Trench the moat downwards and in the direction of the stump’s underside Think of a teacup’s shape. Use the spade to do this.

This trenching is easier when your dirt is wet, obviously, so tackle this job following a rain if possible. There are two objectives of this step: to methodically remove the trunk from the dirt and to expose the stump’s roots so that you can cut them out.

Cut Out the Stump’s Roots

stump roots

As your moat becomes deeper, it will begin to expose tree roots. Your utility bar will have a flat end for hammering on and on the other end a flat blade. The blade should maintain a sharp edge for root cutting. If it’s not, sharpen it using a file or grinder.

You’re going to take out sections of your stump’s roots as you find them. Slash the sections at the inside and outside edges of your trench so that the roots won’t get in the way of the digging process. Drive the bar’s blade into a root beginning your cut and them slam the opposite end of the bar with your hammer to drive it through. If you need to sharpen your blade, do it.

As you make progress, the tree trunk will become looser in the ground. Periodically wiggling it in a back and forth motion will make your trenching, if not more fun, more doable. Also, it will allow you an easier shot at roots going downward instead of out.

Soon you’ll be at looking at the final anchor root (the tap root). Cut through it. You’re done!

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