How to Remove a Tree Stump Without a Grinder

A tree stump in the middle of a grassy field, without a grinder.

Removing a tree from your property is a big job, and what people often forget is that they then need to do something about the stump that’s left over. In some cases, removing a stump is as much or even more work than felling a tree in the first place, so it’s good to look at your options. The first choice is to hire a professional such as Charlotte Tree Service to do the job for you, which may be more costly than doing it yourself, but will take far less time and hassle. Another option is to buy a stump grinder, which will cost you several hundred dollars and is probably just as expensive as having a professional come to the job for you. If you aren’t planning on removing multiple stumps in the next few months or years, hiring a stump grinder may be a good compromise, as it will cost less than buying one outright.

When should you remove a tree stump?

As mentioned, removing a tree stump can take a considerable amount of time and effort, making the job more straightforward. It may be worth waiting for the stump to dry out. If you can wait for a year or even more for a stump to dry, this is a good option, but we understand that this isn’t always possible, so you may want to begin the process of removing a tree stump as soon as possible after you’ve felled your tree.

How to remove a tree stump manually

If you have a small or medium-sized tree stump to remove, you don’t need much more than essential tools and elbow grease. Larger stumps will take some more effort and equipment, so make sure that you have the right tools for the job before you get started. One of the best tools you can use is a mattock, which you can use to dig the ground around a stump and a sharp side for chopping and hacking bits away.

Start by digging the area around the stump with a spade or the broad side of your mattock, and be prepared to move a significant amount of it. You’ll need to dig deep enough to access the tree roots, so you can start chopping through them.

Once you can see roots all around the stump, take an axe or the sharp side of your mattock and start to sever your way through the roots. These will often get thicker as you make your way under the stump, so a hand saw may be useful to cut through any that are too thick for your ax. As you make your way through the roots, you’ll be able to take your spade and start to use leverage to lift the stump out of the ground.

Steel pole can also be useful here as you can wedge it under the stump, and pry it out as you cut through more roots. As you get closer to pulling the stump out, you may be able to tie a rope around the stump and use a pickup or vehicle with a tow-bar to give it an extra pull out of the ground.


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