How Manually Remove a Tree Stump

While we don’t usually recommend removing trees that so many would love to have in their yard, some removals are necessary when you have other plans for the space, or the tree has died. Even with if the tree is felled, there will likely be a large stump in the yard keeping you from doing much with the area. In this piece, we’re going to explain how to cheaply and manually remove a tree stump. 

Safety First

Just because a tree was in the same place doesn’t necessarily mean the area is free of potential hazards. Before you start putting tools to the ground, it is essential to check for any buried lines that can present a problem.

Leave the Stump High

If you have any say in where on the trunk to fell the tree, leave a few feet. These few feet of stump will give you some leverage when attempting to dislodge the stump from its position. 

Expose the Roots

Start digging away dirt from the roots to expose them as much as possible. Because the roots are what give the stump its stability in the earth, removing the dirt from the roots will begin to show you where to start cutting. As you remove the dirt, please do your best to collect it in one place for easier backfilling later.

Cutting With Your Worst

Once most of the roots of your tree stump are exposed, you can begin cutting the roots using your least favorite garden loppers, axes, or handsaws. The reason you want to use your second or even third-tier tools is that the ground presents dirt and potential rocks that are known to dull blades. Any stones or dirt will likely damage said blades, so don’t use your best tools for this job. 

When Powered, Go Reciprocating

Though you may be tempted to take a chainsaw to some tree roots, this is not only dangerous but can potentially destroy your chainsaw blade. Rocks down in the dirt or the dirt itself can significantly damage your blade. Instead, use a reciprocating saw. Due to their nimble and cheap blade, they’re the perfect tool for cutting exposed roots.

Roll It Out

Once you feel that the tree stump is completely disconnected from all roots in the ground, its time to remove it from its hole. Do not try to manually lift the stump from the hole, as this is a recipe for throwing out your back. Instead, you will want to rock or roll the stump out of the hole. This process may require reshaping one side of the hole into almost a ramp that can accommodate said action. 

Backfill Appropriately

Once the stump is removed, don’t forget to backfill the hole with the dirt you removed. Make sure that the dirt is firm to prevent injuries of others who may later walk through the space. If necessary, bring in additional dirt to ensure that the hole is firm and level with the rest of the space. 

Pro tip: While you can always manually remove a tree stump, if the stump is especially difficult or you have a number of tree stumps to remove, you may consider renting a powered stump grinder to do the job instead. A stump grinder is a gas-powered machine with carbide teeth specially designed for grinding down older tree stumps. If you plan on using one of these, make sure to remove all rocks from the site and don special protective equipment, as stump grinders may throw materials. 

For professional demolition services in the Greater Tulsa, OK area, look no further than DT Wreck It Specialized Demolition Services.