How Do You Remove a Tree Stump?


Remove a tree stump cut close to the ground by drilling holes, filling them with potassium nitrate and boiling water, waiting a few months, then burning the stump. The process is slower than stump grinding and works best on stumps of trees cut at least a year prior to the beginning of the process.

  1. Drill the holes

    Use an electric drill and a 1-inch drill bit to drill holes around the perimeter of the stump. Drill the holes at 8- to 12-inch intervals. For larger stumps, drill more holes in the center of the stump. Drill holes at a 45-degree angle around the base of the stump.

  2. Fill the holes

    Fill each hole with potassium nitrate. Pour boiling water on top of the potassium nitrate to dissolve it.

  3. Wait a few months

    The potassium nitrate speeds the breakdown of the stump but requires several months to act. During this time, the stump becomes soft.

  4. Eliminate the stump

    Check with local authorities concerning any burning prohibitions. With their approval, fill the holes with kerosene or fuel oil. Allow the oil to soak into the wood for at least a week. Clear the area around the stump. Set the stump on fire. Stumps burn and smolder for several days. If burning is not an option, remove any of the soft wood to below ground level, then fill the hole with topsoil.