How to Kill Tree Stumps

Remember that just killing a stump, and not grinding it out, will leave you with the unsightly stump for years to come.

Getting rid of tree stumps: There are various ways to kill tree stumps. Many tree stumps will re-grow if left untreated; this has been the basis for tree coppice harvests over the centuries. Many people in the modern world would prefer to kill or remove their tree stumps to either reuse the space (planting, fencing, paving etc.), make the area less unsightly and to avoid the hassle of re-growth.

The easiest way to kill a tree stump is to have it ground out by us. With the stump ground down, the tree will usually not re-grow. Sycamore is sometimes vigorous, and may re-shoot from exposed roots. If you get re-growth in the first year after stump grinding we'll some back and remove any growth free of charge. It is important that if any shoots do re-appear - this is unlikely - that you remove any leaves as soon as possible, this is because any leaves will give any remaining wood energy to grow.

The cheapest but slowest way to kill a stump is to just cover it over with a tied down tarp which doesn't let in any light or water. The starves the stump of one of it's most important needs - sunlight. The will stop photosynthesis, and eventually the stump will die.

Stumps can be killed with doses of Epsom or Rock Salt. It can take many months for the stump to die, and of course you will still have it in your garden for many years to come. Normal table salt should not be used for killing stumps. Holes need to be drilled into the stump about 3cm deep. Pack the salt into the holes and seal with a none porous material like wax. Now cover the stump with a waterproof and opaque membrane and leave for several months.

Many garden centers sell stump killing liquids containing glyphosate eg. Roundup or triclopyr eg.SBK (follow instructions and safety guidelines), these should eventually kill the stump, but won't get rid of it. Most often you would drill a trench into the stump and around the outer cambium area and fill it with the stump killer (application techniques are product specific). These stump killers should not be used in Spring and the early Summer, as the sap is rising at this time of year; Autumn and Winter are the best time for application. These chemicals only work on live wood, so they should only be applied directly after felling or when the stump has been freshly cut by a chainsaw. Be aware of the danger to children, pets and wildlife. Nailing a piece of wood over the top of the stump and covering with a plastic sheet should help prevent poisoning. The stump will still take decades to rot, and then you'll still have to smash away the remains. Care needs to be taken not to kill the roots of surrounding plants. Always wear protective clothing.

One way to accelerate decomposition is to drill the stump and add a high nitrogen fertilizer, and cover the stump with a plastic lining. This will still take years to decompose.

Continual pruning of shoots from the stump should also kill a tree over time, though this is a hit and miss approach.

How It Works


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We use stump grinding equipment to grind your tree stumps into woodchip


The area can then be turfed over, replanted or paved over

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