Rooting Out The Problem: The Best Tree Stump Killers

Take the hard work out of removing tree stumps with our handpicked selection of stump-killing solutions.
Tried & Tested: See Our Testing ↓
Written & Tested By: Archie Rich | Updated:
Best Tree Stump Killer
Archie Rich/DIY Works
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Although you may be tempted to leave a tree stump as it is, eventually, it’ll begin to decay, attracting fungi and pests, which can threaten other plants in your garden.

Luckily, the latest selection of stump killers avoids laborious digging and frustration, so removing unwanted tree stumps has never been easier (regardless of their size).

To assist you in selecting a tree stump killer, our handpicked selection lists top-performing solutions, chosen based on our first-hand experience using multiple to kill tree stumps of all sizes. Our testing and up-to-date research further ensure the quality of our recommendations.

Roundup Tree Stump Super Concentrate
Best Overall: Roundup Tree Stump Super Concentrate
Resolva Xtra Tough Tree Stump Killer
Best Value: Resolva Xtra Tough Tree Stump Killer
EcoPlug Maxx Plugs
Best Professional: EcoPlug Maxx Plugs
S4M Copper Tree Stump Killer
Best Nails: S4M Copper Tree Stump Killer
Gallup Super Strength Glyphosate
Best Glyphosate: Gallup Super Strength Glyphosate
SBK Tree Stump Killer
Best Glyphosate-Free: SBK Tree Stump Killer

How The DIY Works Team Tests & Rates Tree Stump Killers

As keen gardeners, the team at DIY Works have had to deal with many tree stumps over the years and we’ve done so in multiple ways.

From removing a tree stump with a grinder to using some of our recommendations listed above, we’ve certainly succeeded several times. Although it can be removed by hand, it’s a very tiresome and time-consuming task that you may regret starting. Considering that the tree stump killers listed above can be applied in a matter of minutes, it’s really not worth doing it by hand unless it’s a small stump that can be removed using a mattock.

Below are photos we took while testing two different tree stump killers. As you can see in the first photo, we used the EcoPlug Maxx plugs (favoured by professionals), and we drilled them into a large stump and it appears to be working several months later. The second photo uses a strong solution of Roundup’s stump killer, and as you can see, it has caused the stump to completely rot and it was falling to pieces when we were using a spade to dig it out.

best tree stump killer uk

Archie Rich/DIY Works
best tree stump killers

Archie Rich/DIY Works

During our ongoing testing of the tree stump killers, we analyse their effectiveness at killing the stump, ease of application, the time it takes to get to work, and their ability to be used on other roots and plants.

To keep up our commitment to reviewing and testing the latest tree stump killers (for this article), we are continually testing the latest offerings from top brands in the UK. This means that when we notice a brand has released a new and improved formula, we will attempt to buy it and put it to the test where applicable.

As well as our testing and experience using multiple tree stump killers with great success, we also based our recommendations on the latest research and several factors. Some of the factors that we considered included the stump killer’s effectiveness, formulation, ease of use, ability to be used on other plants (i.e. Japanese knotweed) and value.

The Best Tree Stump Killers

At DIY Works, our content is 100% independent and we would never recommend a product that we wouldn't use ourselves (read our editorial standards and how we test products).

1. Best Overall: Roundup Tree Stump Super Concentrate

(How We Review →)

Roundup has an excellent reputation for its range of products and its tree stump killer is a great example. According to the brand, their formula can be used to kill up to 16 stumps and it’s achieved by using a paint brush to apply the formula as a neat solution straight onto the cut stump. As well as eliminating tree stumps, it’s also highly effective at killing ivy, nettles and even the dreaded Japanese knotweed and it does so by the formula travelling down to the roots.

Pros
  • Powerful glyphosate based formula
  • Effective at killing all types of weeds as well as tree stumps
  • Formula travels all the way down the stump to kill the root
  • Suitable for stumps up to 45 cm in diameter
  • Easy to apply using a paint brush or the supplied pipette
Cons
  • Relatively expensive when compared to the alternatives

The popularity of Roundup’s Tree Stump Killer is a clear indication of its effectiveness and we’ve had great success with the formula over the years (as shown in the “How We Rated” section). It’s also very simple to use and has the bonus of being dilutable and used to kill other weeds in your garden too. However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t expect results overnight as it’ll take a while for the formula to kill off the stump but it’ll certainly do the job successfully.

2. Best Value: Resolva Xtra Tough Tree Stump Killer

(How We Review →)

One of the cheapest tree stump killers that’s produced by a reputable brand is the Resolva Xtra Tough. In the box are two 100ml sachets that contain glyphosate and they are designed to treat up to 6 stumps. In terms of using the formula, it’s very easy to apply as you simply open the sachet and pour it evenly across the cut surface of the stump.

Pros
  • Very easy to use with the pre-measured sachets
  • Offers great value for the money
  • Produced by a reputable gardening brand
  • Can be diluted and sprayed onto weeds
  • No mess as the sachet is simply poured straight onto the stump
Cons
  • Although it states that it treats 6 stumps, during testing we used a single sachet per stump

Whether you only need to treat one or two stumps or want a cheap formula that promises results, the Resolva Xtra Tough is a great option to consider. The pre-measured sachets are easy to use and as it’s developed by a reputable brand, you can be confident that it’ll provide successful results. When compared to alternatives on the market, the Resolva stump killer certainly offers the best value but we would state that you may struggle to treat 6 stumps (as stated on the bottle).

3. Best Professional: EcoPlug Maxx Plugs

(How We Review →)

Another stump killer that uses glyphosate is the Ecoplug Max but unlike the spray alternatives, these are hammered into the stump. In terms of how they work, each plug releases 300mg of granular glyphosate into the tree stump and this leads to the stump gradually rotting away. Within the instructions, it states how many plugs are needed per type of tree stump. For example, the brand state that you’ll need 4 plugs in the stump of a birch tree that has a diameter of less than 18 cm.

Although not the cheapest, they are favoured by professionals and according to the brand, they have a success rate of 95 to 100%, which is very impressive.

Pros
  • Professional grade formula with a 95 to 100% efficiency on treated stumps
  • Can be used all-year round regardless of the weather
  • Doesn't harm surrounding trees or plants
  • Reduces the risk of chemical spills
Cons
  • Requires a 13mm drill bit for plugging it into the tree stump
  • Relatively expensive when compared to other formulas

To conclude, the Ecoplug Max is a highly-effective tree stump killer that’s safe to use and promises successful results. Although expensive, this kit comes with 100 plugs, which should be enough to treat up to 20 stumps. As you can see in the “How We Rated” section below, we tested this stump killer on a silver birch tree and it worked successfully.

4. Best Nails: S4M Copper Tree Stump Killer

(How We Review →)

Another alternative to liquid-based formulas is to hammer copper nails directly into the tree stump. Although this may seem an odd thing to do, it can be effective because as the copper begins to corrode inside of the stump, it releases ions into the wood, which are toxic to the tree. Therefore, this makes it a more natural way to speed up the decay of a tree stump.

Although there are hundreds of copper nails that you can choose from, the S4M brand offers a dedicated option for tree stumps. This is because they are larger and the more surface of the nail in the stump, the more effective it’ll be.

Pros
  • Offers great value as they come in a pack of 50
  • Chemical-free, natural way to kill a tree stump
  • Larger in size when compared to other copper nails
  • Easy to hammer in to the stump (you can drill into the stump to make it even easier)
Cons
  • During testing, we found that some of the nails bent when trying to hammer them in to the stump
  • Results can take a long time

To conclude, these copper nails by the S4M brand are the best on the market and when compared to similar alternatives, they offer far better quality. For the best results whilst using these copper nails, we and many gardeners that we speak to have combined the copper nails with another liquid-based formula to successfully tackle large stumps. However, if you want to avoid the use of chemicals, these copper nails on their own will do a great job over time.

5. Best Glyphosate: Gallup Super Strength Glyphosate

(How We Review →)

Glyphosate is found in many of the best-rated weed killers but for tackling large tree stumps, you’ll need a super strength formula and that’s exactly what the Gallup formula provides. To use this formula for treating stumps, during our testing we poured a neat solution onto a cut tree stump and it stopped its regrowth straightaway.

Pros
  • Easy to apply (neat) to a freshly cut tree stump
  • Can be diluted and used effectively on weeds
  • Doesn't leave any lasting residue or odours
  • Inactive upon touching soil (i.e. safe once dry on the soil)
Cons
  • Not suitable for use in rainy or windy conditions

If you want a powerful solution that not only kills tree stumps but also weeds when diluted, the Gallup Super Strength is a great option to consider. However, it’s important to note that to kill tree stumps, you must use it as a neat solution.

6. Best Glyphosate-Free: SBK Tree Stump Killer

(How We Review →)

Another budget-friendly and popular tree stump killer is by the SBK brand but what makes it unique is the fact that it contains no glyphosate. Therefore, the formula is safer to use for the person applying the formula and also safer for any plants near the stump that you intend on killing. Another great benefit of this formula is that it can be applied in any way you find easiest. For example, you can apply it via a paint brush, sprayer or watering can.

Pros
  • Kills at the root to prevent the stump regrowing
  • Concentrated formula can treat up to 8 stumps
  • Easy to apply via paint brush, sprayer or watering can
  • Offers great value for money
  • Can be diluted and used on weeds
Cons
  • Can't be used in April, May and June (not as effective during these months as sap is rising up the stump)

If you want to avoid using glyphosate-based stump killers, the SBK formula is the perfect solution. It’s an excellent all-round option that’s affordable, easy to apply and effective but for the best results, we recommend applying it during autumn and winter.

Conclusion

Compared to the manual labour and time-consuming method of removing tree stumps by hand, the formulas listed above accelerate the decomposition process to make it easier to clear the stumps. We personally like to use both a formula and copper nails to kill tree stumps or the EcoPlug Maxx plugs but all of our recommendations promise excellent results.

If you require further information regarding our tree stump killer recommendations, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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