There are several reasons to go to the trouble to remove a tree stump. If you look across your yard, you probably want clear, open space, and the room to rethink planting trees and landscaping. You also want to make sure your family and guests don’t trip over an old stump that might end up covered in taller grass or weeds.
Some stumps are more difficult to remove than others, and it depends on the age of the stump and the type of tree. For example, pine trees usually have roots that are closer to the surface of the ground than a deciduous tree whose roots are large and usually run deep into the ground.
You can go the chemical route or the purely physical labor route, and there are pros and cons to each.
1. Chemical Stump Removers
Most chemical stump removers contain potassium nitrate that, while not harmful to your lawn, is poisonous, and users are advised to keep children and pets away, and to wear safety goggles, a mask and gloves while using it. To use it, drill several holes into the stump, adds the granules of stump remover, and then pour water into the holes. Over the course of 4–6 weeks, the stump will start to soften, and then it can be removed by chopping out with an axe.
2. Non-Chemical Stump Removals
Alternatively, you can use fish meal or compost to encourage decay, since they are high in nitrogen, and cover the stump with black plastic. This will encourage the growth of bacteria that will decay the stump.
Then you can burn the rest of the stump if you’ve removed as much of the tree as possible. Before you begin, check local laws to see if burning is allowed. This may take several days, and fires should not be left unattended.
3. Slow Stump Regrowth
Slow the regrowth by cutting sprouts as soon as they appear on the stump. Over time, you exhaust the food reserves of the stump, but it can take years to kill off the stump completely.
4. Stump Grinder
You’ll need to clear away any rocks and debris from the stump, and have a rake and shovel on hand. Wear appropriate safety gear, and you can grind down the stump to about 6 inches below the surface, and then fill in the holes with soil or loam. You won’t completely remove the stump, but you can hide it. Usually this makes the most sense if you have several stumps to remove. Compost the stump matter, or hauling away stumps is generally quite expensive.