How Do I Remove a Tree Stump Without a Grinder?

September 5th, 2022 0 Comments

Axe embedded in tree stump to illustrate remove a tree stump without a grinderAs a professional tree service company, we get asked a wide variety of questions, but one of the most common is, “How do I remove a tree stump without a grinder?” We have lots of suggestions, and today we’re going to share those ideas with you.

But let’s move back one stage first. Your tree just had to come down. Maybe the goal was to improve lighting or airflow. Perhaps a safety concern was your motivation. Or, maybe you simply didn’t like how it looked.

Whatever the reason, the end result was pretty satisfying.

But – you’ve traded the space where a tree once stood for… a TREE STUMP!

Just when you thought the job was done and the work was over, you realize there’s more to be done. But, this time you don’t have a plan.

Why Does the Tree Stump Have to Go?

The reason is this. Your tree is down, but this doesn’t mean it’s gone. The tree stump is a reminder that the base of the tree and all of the underground roots are very much still alive.

So, what’s the problem with that?

Tree Growth

Left unattended, the roots attached to the tree stump have the potential to keep growing. These roots typically grow deep, wide, and fast, making it hard for you to control. Before you realize it, these tree roots start to be destructive.

Uncontrolled roots have the potential to break pavements, sidewalks, and foundations. They even have the strength to

  • puncture underground pipes,
  • grow in sewers, or
  • break through an underground pool or septic tank.

Even when tree roots don’t grow deep, they can still be damaging. They can continue growing right under the surface of your lawn. This robs your grass of essential nutrients and prevents seed absorption.

Pests and Diseases

Insects are attracted to decaying tree stumps. These pests pose an environmental concern for your other plants, trees, and even your home. Tree stump removal clears the problem and ensures that future plants and trees grow healthily.


Tree stumps can be dangerous for you, your family, or your neighbors.

1 They can cause a tripping hazard. Anyone can injure themselves in a fall.

2 They give you a hard time maneuvering equipment such as lawn mowers around the stump, and that can be dangerous as well.


Plain and simple, tree stumps are an eye sore. They can steal the beauty from your otherwise well-maintained lawn.

No Professional Grinder? Here Are Some Options

We’ve given our reasons for stump removal. And a professional tree grinder would be an obvious solution for some. If you already know you’d like to hand over the job to experts, give us a call for a quote.

But if that’s not an option right now, the question remains, “How do I remove a tree stump without a grinder?” Here are three possible ways forward.

1 Rot the Stump with Chemicals

One method of stump removal is through the use of chemicals. Whatever chemical you choose, the process will still be the same. Chemical removal is ideal for large stumps, and it’s inexpensive, but it can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 months.

You have to repeat the following process once a month:

  1. Prep the stump by allowing it to dry out some.
  2. Drill holes in the stump.
  3. Fill the holes with chemical.
  4. Cover the stump (with a tarp, for instance).
  5. Apply mulch over the cover.

The effectiveness of different chemicals is debatable, but some of the most common chemicals include:

  • Potassium nitrate
  • High nitrogen fertilizer
  • Epsom salt or rock salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vinegar
  • Bleach (not recommended due to environmental reasons)
  • Gasoline or diesel fuels (not recommended due to environmental reasons)

2 Remove the Stump Manually

Another way to remove a tree stump in an affordable way requires some muscle work and lots of personal time! This good old-fashioned tool method is best used to remove small tree stumps.

Using tools, you’ll need to do lots of digging and chopping. Some tools that come in handy include: shovel, axe, hatchet, hand pruning saw, hoe, pick, sledge hammer, wedge, or chainsaw.

Sounds like hard work? The process can be summed up as follows:

  1. Dig down around the stump.
  2. Sever visible roots.
  3. Expose the tap root.
  4. Sever the tap root.
  5. Extract the stump.

3 Controlled Burn

Another method of removing a tree stump without a grinder is to burn it. This can be quick and inexpensive but you will need to follow some important safety measures.

  1. Drill holes in the stump and fill with a powdered tree stump removal product to make the wood porous.
  2. Pour kerosene or fuel oil into the holes.
  3. Soak the stump completely.
  4. Ignite the stump and watch it closely, ensuring a slow, controlled burn.

Why Seek the Help of a Professional?

One advantage of using a professional tree services company is that you avoid the risks and stay safe. For example, there are

  • plumbing and utility lines to consider,
  • specialized equipment that you would have to handle, and
  • hazards you can’t anticipate as well as a professional can.

However, perhaps you’re considering the tree stump removal cost and wondering if you can save money by tackling this on your own. Sure, you can potentially save money this way.

The downside, however, to trying to remove a tree stump without a grinder is that you’ll have to give up lots of time and carry out back-breaking work in return.

And just maybe you’re thinking that you can avoid the situation altogether and wait for the stump to go away on its own. That’s fine too – if you have between five and seven years, or longer, to wait for that to happen.

Remove the Stump for Good with B&R Tree Service

As you’ve probably learned by now, if you want to try your hand at removing a stump on your own, it will either take a lot of effort, a lot of time, or both.

If you’d like to pass this task on to someone else and be done with it, consider the benefits of utilizing a professional tree stump removal service.

Our expert team at B&R Tree Service in central and eastern Massachusetts provides a comprehensive list of tree services, including stump removal. We have the experience to tackle the most difficult stumps, in any location, and are here to answer all of your questions.

Contact us to find out how B&R Tree Service can help you with all of your tree-related projects.

Image attribution

Stump Grinding
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