4 Tips to Help You Remove a Stump Without Chemicals

There are a number of chemical preparations, most of which are either pure potassium nitrate or a mixture containing this compound, that can be used to help disintegrate and remove tree stumps. However, if you're trying to remove your stump in the most eco-friendly manner possible, you may wish to use more natural means. Leave the stump alone for about a decade, and it will slowly rot away. If you don't have ten or more years to wait, however, you can use these tips to naturally get rid of the stump a lot faster.

Chop the tree down as close to the ground as possible.

When you are actually removing the tree, try to cut as close to the ground as possible. This way, there will be less stump for you to remove. Also, the more trunk tissue you cut down, the less of a chance there will be of the stump sending up shoots and trying to "come back to life" in the weeks after you chop down the tree.

If you already had the tree removed and there's a tall stump left behind, see if you can rent or borrow a chainsaw. Cut the stump down as far as possible so you're only left with a few inches sticking out of the ground. This will make following the other tips on this list a lot easier.

Make some cuts and wet the stump.

You can greatly accelerate the natural rotting and decaying process if you cut a lot of slits in the trunk and then expose it to water. This will allow rot it begin forming on more surfaces all at once, which will quickly weaken the wood and make it easier to remove. You can use an axe and just make many vertical chops in the trunk, or use a saw and make a bunch of cuts. As you're working on this, try to cut away any wood that you can easily cut away.

Once your stump has a lot of slits and holes in it, soak it with water. Then, remember to do this once a day for a few weeks. This will keep the stump moist so it begins rotting. 

Hack away rotting wood as it appears.

As you begin to see rot developing on the tree stump, use your axe or even a big knife to cut it away. Removing this tissue will allow the underlying wood, which is still in better condition, to be exposed to more moisture so it starts to rot.

Cover the stump with compost or leaves.

If a month or two have passed and you still have not managed to remove enough of the stump to cover the area in dirt, try piling your compost on top of the stump. Just dump all of your lawn clippings, any leaves you've raked up, and even your produce scraps, on top of the stump. Water down the pile once a week or so unless it rains. The compost will attract bacteria and fungi that help accelerate the decomposition process. It also traps moisture and heat near the stump so that it rots more quickly. When the compost is done doing its job on your stump, you can use it in your garden.

After a few months, you should be able to pull the compost away and then chop away at a lot of rotten wood. When you get the stump down to ground level, cover the remnants with some topsoil, and pack it down firmly. Then, scatter some grass seed on top, cover it in straw to keep it moist, and take a step back. As soon as the grass germinates, clear away the straw and consider your work complete.

For more information or assistance, contact local tree services that provide stump removal.