Stump remover

January 10, 2008

I have several stumps that need to be removed. Tried to saw it off with a manual saw, and it's a job and a half!

Today I found something in Burgess Seed and Plant Co that offers this:

"Stump Remover. Just treat the stump and chemical action starts to decompose the wood. It will then burn completely down to the root tips with a slow smoldering red glow. Safe, no danger of fire. Leaves only ashes".

It must be some kind of chemical.

Does anyone have experience with it? Any other way to remove the stumps you can recommend? I wanted to rent a chainsaw, but they told me it is dangerous if one has never done it before. So, I chickened out.

In a meanwhile I plant heavily around the stumps. However in a wintertime it looks unattractive.

Comments (20)

  • alabamatreehugger 8b SW Alabama

    You can but it at Lowes in the garden department. Don't waste your money on the shipping costs from ordering it. Simply drill holes into the stump and then pour in the granules. After about a year it will be soft.

  • Dibbit

    Chainsaws and dirt are a very bad combination, which can lead to nasty injuries. And it dulls the chain in very short order. You can remove stumps with some careful digging, using a hacksaw, pruning saw and or loppers and pruners to cut roots. Unless the stumps are very large, this might be your best bet - all you have to lose is time and effort. A little assistance from a spouse or helper makes life easier, and spares your back a bit.

    If you really want to go the chemical route, drilling holes and pouring a high-nitrogen fertilizer in the holes will speed the decomposition of the stumps, especially if you keep it damp. This is probably safer than using unknown chemicals, which might stay in the soil for a while.

    Unless they are very tall, you can mound dirt over them and simply plant over stumps - they will then decompose also. If they were left too tall to do that, either train vines over them, or use them as a stand for a pot planted with annuals. Of course, this doesn't do a lot for the winter blahs, so use a trailing ivy or other evergreen vine - something that can stay out all winter in your area. Or, planting an evergreen shrub or tall grass next to the stump so you have something to look at in the winter might be an easy solution.

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  • wisconsitom

    Hiring someone to grind out the stumps is not prohibitively expensive IMO. As long as there is access to where they are located, this simple solution might be your best bet.


  • natalie4b

    Thank you all for your advice.
    I have some people coming next week to work on a roof in my house, so I will ask them if they can remove the stumps. If not, I like the idea of piling up dirt around them and plant, letting them to decompose naturally. Pouring chemicals in is not as appealing to me.
    Have a great gardening year everyone!!

  • brandon7 TN_zone

    I am curious about the chemical you mentioned (that "will then burn completely down to the root tips with a slow smoldering red glow") in your original post. I have seen similar chemicals advertised, but have wondered how well they work. That would be very different than the other chemicals mentioned above.

    Has anyone used this type of chemical? What is it? How well does it really work? What causes it to be able to burn the whole stump out underground (with low oxygen) so effectively?

  • alabamatreehugger 8b SW Alabama

    If the chemical is doing it's job and the stump is decaying, what would be the purpose of burning it?

  • thomashton

    I have used this product on 3 scotch pine stumps I have which are nearly flush cut. The trees were cut nearly 2 years ago in February 2006. I have made several applications over those two years (no less than 3 each). I haven't seen a lot of good it has done. There has definately never been a slow red glow coming from them. I have however poured gasoline down the holes you drill and lit them up. Pretty cool to watch although it had nothing to do with the chemicals. I may just end up grinding them down this spring.

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    I'm sure that small stump grinders can be rented, if you don't want to hire someone to do the job. But you might be pleasantly surprised at the cost of contracting someone, especially if the stumps are easy to get to.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    From the description, it sounds like Bonide's "Stump Out" or similar. This is sodium metabisulfite, a somewhat unstable chemical that combines easily with water (could expect similar results with wet wood) to produce sulfur dioxide, an unpleasantly smelly gas that can cause breathing problems.

    This product does not actually cause the stump to "burn". What it does is partially disolve/decompose the lingens in the wood to provide pockets, so that when fuel oil is added - generally kerosene - the wood will burn down to the root system. It is still a fire and still poses a hazard. And it is not something that happens immediately - you still need to allow the product 4-6 weeks, depending on weather, to do its stuff disolving the lingens.

    Similar products (potassium nitrate, sodium nitrate) will also help to accelerate the natural decompostion process, but not appreciably and any faster result will require burning or manual removal.

  • brandon7 TN_zone

    If that's the same thing, the advertising sure is EXTREMELY misleading. Of course, it does sound a little too good to be true.

  • johnstaci

    Rent one and do it yourself. I got 2 quotes for about 20 stumps - each quote over $1000. I rented a large stump grinder for a full day and did it myself for around $250. You can rent on an hourly basis as well. It's not rocket science running one of those things - they will show you at the rental place. Go down 1/4 inch then over to the left, down 1/4 inch then over to the right, etc until you are below ground as desired. Just wear goggles and ear protection. I believe the unit I rented was a Vermeer 252 - worked great.


  • alley

    Does all this work for little stumps next to the house that has suckers coming out? I keep cutting them back, but they keep coming back. I cut the roots when I see them, but the suckers are popping up there too. The little (about 2 inch around) stump is next to the house, so, I need to be careful about chemicals and fire and such.

  • Dibbit

    Alley, you can get an herbicide for woody plants - Brush-B-Gon is one - and paint the freshly cut stubs with it - you want the herbicide to get into the layer next to the bark, so it gets taken down to the roots. If the root system is extensive, you almost certainly have to do this more than once - one of some tree's responses to dieing is to send up multiple sprouts, to try to keep living. If you want to paint the old stump, then cut back/scrape at the bark, so you get into the living area that will transport the herbicide to the roots - painting the wood won't be effective. You can use one of the cheap foam brushes and throw it away when done, well wrapped in plastic wrap - just be careful not to get the stuff on plants you want to keep - it can kill them off as well as the tree.

  • chuckr30

    This stuff does no good. I used it on a pine stump once but it did not work as advertised. It did not appear to make the stump any softer. It is salt peter, and is supposed to dissolve the lignin bonds, the hard stuff in the cell walls.

    I even filled the holes with kerosene, let it soak a week, then lit it. When the kero was done burning the fire went out, and the stump was still hard as ever.

  • katrina1

    Some report that stumps drilled with holes, spread with active cow manure, and covered with enough active compost to cover the offensive odor jump starts natural processes that will decompose a stump over a period spanning from early summer of one year to the end of the next year's Fall season.

    A recent posting suggested that one of the easiest ways to get rid of tree stumps is to drill holes in them, fill the holes with sugar, sprinkle water on the stump to activate the sugar, and keep each stump covered with a pile of mulch.

    I do not remember if the report explained as to how efficient the sugar stump removal process works. Don't think that the report indicated the need to periodically repeat the sugaring process until the entire trunk is no longer visible.

  • sylviatexas1

    My neighbor uses sugar.

    She just drills holes in the stump, pours in the sugar, & waters it in.

    I don't think I'd cover it with wood mulch;
    that would just add more carbon for the micro-critters to work their way through, so the stump would be around longer.

    I'd use compost or something green, like nice hot nitrogenous stinky grass clippings.

  • wisconsitom

    Alley, to add to what dibbit has already told you, if you do elect to treat the cut stems with herbicide, do so in the Fall. At that time of year, woody plants are pulling sap into their root systems, which helps to get the chemical to where it's needed.


  • katrina1

    What a good idea; if spreading animal dung over a stump and covering with compost works so well, it clearly must bump up the sugaring break down reaction, if the moistened sugar is also covered with a healthy type compost.

  • uncle_stumpy

    We grind out the stumps. Check us out if you need that old stump removed.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Remove My Stump by Uncle Stumpy

  • brandon7 TN_zone

    Uncle Stumpy,

    Please don't advertise your business on Gardenweb. It's against the rules you agreed to when you signed up. I always question the trustworthiness and ethics of a business that tries to advertise with spam.

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