How To Remove A Tree Stump With & Without A Grinder

After you’ve cut down a tree and disposed of the waste, you'll then be left to deal with the stump, and we delve into three methods of removing it.
Written By: Archie Rich | Updated:
How To Remove A Tree Stump
Archie Rich/DIY Works

Although you can leave tree stumps where they are in the garden, they aren’t the most pleasant of features to look at. It may also stop you from laying down new turf or creating a new garden space that’s made available from the trees that have been removed.

It can sometimes even contain several root diseases such as “Honey Fungus”. Therefore, it’s highly advised that you remove the tree stump correctly and complete the removal of any trees in your garden.

Size of The Stump

The size of the tree stump will highly dictate the best removal method.

As you can imagine, attempting to remove a tree stump by hand is made harder the bigger it is. As a general rule, if the root already has some movement or is less than 6 inches in diameter, you should be able to remove it by hand.

Potential Problems That May Arise

Depending upon how the tree was planted in the first place may determine how problematic it is to remove. For example, the stump may be too close to a fence or building and can cause damage if removed incorrectly.

Another issue that may arise is where trees have been planted around any cabling or hoses such as the below photo that we recently had to deal with. Luckily it was only an old hosepipe, which meant it could simply be cut. However, if you are unsure of the cabling that’s going through the stump roots, we’d advise you to seek a professional opinion.

How To Remove A Tree Stump By Hand

Archie Rich/DIY Works

How To Remove A Tree Stump

1. Removal By Hand

As long as the tree stump isn’t too large, you may be able to remove it by hand using a few tools. Three tools that we would highly recommend are a heavy-duty steel digging bar (as shown in the picture), a spade and an axe.

To begin with, we would recommend digging around the stump and locating any of the big roots leading to the stump. Once the roots have been located, use an axe to chop away at the roots.

Once the roots to the stump have been chopped clear, you can then begin to lever the digging bar under the stump. It should eventually begin to move, and you can then work your way around the stump with the bar until the stump can be pulled out of the ground by hand.

Tree Stump Removal

Archie Rich/DIY Works

We are normally able to use this tree stump removal method for small to medium-sized stumps (as shown in the photo of a recent removal we undertook). For anything larger, you may find yourself spending hours of back-breaking work, and there is also the risk of being unsuccessful too.

2. Use Epsom Salt or Stump Killer

Using Epsom salt or a tree stump killer is a less physically demanding method of removing a tree stump. To use this method, you’ll need to use a cordless drill and a suitable drill bit to drill holes into the stump. It’s advised to drill holes a few inches apart for the best results when using this method.

Once you’ve successfully drilled into the stump, simply pour Epsom salt or stump killer into the holes that you’ve created. Although this method won’t instantly remove the tree stump, over time, the stump will break down. It’s worth pointing out that instead of a stump killer, you may be able to use a strong weed killer instead.

3. Hire A Grinder

By far, the most efficient and easiest way to remove tree stumps is to hire a stump grinder or get a professional who has a grinder to remove them. This method simply uses a blade to grind the stump down below ground level. As you can see in the video below, they are heavy-duty machines and do need careful attention when using them. For this reason alone, it’s often easier and more cost-effective to simply hire a professional to grind the stumps.

Below is a video we posted on our YouTube channel showing a stump grinder in action. In the video, the professional we hired removed a large tree stump with ease, thanks to his powerful stump-grinding machine.

Methods To Avoid

Although there are plenty of methods you can use to remove a tree stump, there are some that you should avoid. For example, using a chainsaw is great when cutting down a tree, but you should avoid using it close to the ground where the stump is. This is primarily because it may touch the ground and cause the chain to become blunt.

How Much Does Tree Stump Removal Cost?

Depending upon the above methods of tree stump removal you choose will determine the cost of removal. If you were to remove a tree stump manually, the cost of the tools would be the only cost (unless you can borrow them from family or friends). Using an Epsom salt or a chemical will cost less than £10 in most cases.

The expensive way to remove tree stumps is by grinding them down below ground level. If you were to hire a stump grinder for a day, it can cost anywhere between £100 to £200, depending upon where you live. However, we recommend that a professional grinds down the stumps because it’s often more cost-effective.

For relatively small stumps, it can cost between £10 to £20 per stump, but there may be a minimum charge rate for a call-out. However, if you are dealing with large stumps, i.e. overgrown eucalyptus or oak trees, it may cost a lot more than that due to the length of time it takes to grind the stump.

How Much To Remove A Tree Stump

Archie Rich/DIY Works


Whether you remove a tree stump yourself or get a professional to do it for you, it’s a worthwhile task that you won’t regret. Not only does it allow you to do more with your garden due to the extra space it creates when removed, but it also prevents any root diseases from arising in the future.

If you require further information regarding removing a tree stump, feel free to contact us, and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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