10 ways to remove a tree stump
January 10, 2020

Although cutting down a tree may seem like a big task, tree stump removal is usually the bigger issue, which is why it doesn’t tend to be included in the tree removal cost. So, here are six ways you could go about removing a tree stump:

Stump Grinding

If you’re looking to save time, hiring a stump grinder service might be a good idea. It may be the most expensive option, but the job will be completed faster. You can also rent a stump grinder, which often makes sense if you have multiple stumps to remove and you have the training and knowledge to use one safely.

Pulling or Winching

Alternatively, smaller tree stumps can be pulled out with a winch. These can be hired but require training and the knowledge to use them safely. For leverage it is necessary to leave a good-sized stub on the stump (up to 1.2m (4ft) high) rather than cutting it off at ground level.


You can remove a tree stump with just a chainsaw by simply digging around the stump, cutting it as low as possible. Then cut criss-cross slices into the stump 4-6 inches below ground level. Bear in mind that this can often damage or break your chain and won’t get rid of the stump completely.

Grubbing out

Removing a tree stump by hand is a lot of work, but it saves a lot of money. To remove the stump by hand, simply dig out the soil from around the stump exposing the larger tree roots.

Depending on the size of the roots, use loppers, a pry bar and/or a hand saw to cut them into manageable pieces and pull what you can out of the ground, clearing away as much of the root system as possible.

After severing as many roots as possible you should be able to easily dislodge the stump. You may need to use the spade to dig underneath the stump and cut a few more roots under it before you can get it out. The stump once removed, can now be chopped up and added to your compost heap. Some roots will inevitably be left in the ground, but the majority should eventually rot down.

If you happen to have access to a mechanical mini excavator, it makes sense to use this.


We do not recommend burning down stumps in situ, as they are usually too wet to do this straight away. Other things to consider is the time it will take and if it is in a safe place to burn.

A fire pit can be the most practical and fun method. Just put a ring of rocks around the stump and you’ve got yourself a campfire to enjoy for the night. Each time you have a fire the stump will burn down more and more until it is completely gone.

If you’re looking for the safest burning method, using a burn barrel is probably your best option. Just get a metal drum and cut a hole in the bottom, side and top. Place it upside-down on the stump, add firewood to the barrel, and let it burn.


Finally, you could just let the tree stump rot by simply bury it in compost and let it sit for a couple years. Hopefully over time the stump will have broken down enough to then remove it with either an axe or spade.

To find out more about our tree care services, including stump grinding, contact us at Hi-Line today.