How to Kill Tree Stumps Naturally | Removing Tree Stumps

Suyash is a Master Gardener and the Editorial and Strategy Director at With a focus on houseplant care, he combines over a decade of hands-on horticultural experience with editorial expertise to guide and educate plant enthusiasts.
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Killing tree stumps naturally is safe and doesn’t require chemicals. In this article, you’ll learn how to kill tree stumps naturally.

Most of the times when you cut down an unwanted tree in your garden, its root system remains alive. It dies later due to shock, but sometimes it doesn’t and you need to kill it. In this small article you’ll learn a few tips on how to get rid of tree stumps naturally.

How to Kill Tree Stumps Naturally

1. With the use of saw or whichever tool you have trim down the stump as close to the ground as possible. This will expedite the decaying process and stump will be decomposed naturally.

2. Killing tree stump from boiling water is one more option you should look at. Boiling will burn the tree roots but for this it is important that water will get to the root system.

3. Wrap the trunk with plastic or other material for a few weeks from which sunshine couldn’t pass through. This will stop the development of root and it’ll die off gradually. This method works slowly

4. Drill 1 inch holes on the top and sides of the trunk. Fill the holes with rock salt. It works as natural root killer. For smaller trunks, salt can be poured directly around wood but care about plants that are growing around it.

5. Epsom salt do magics in the garden. It contains magnesium and sulphur that helps the plants in growing but if used in higher quantities it can be a killer.
Drill a few holes on sides and top of the trunk, holes should be about 10 inches deep. Fill these holes with 100% epsom salt mixed with water, cover the trunk and leave it. It will die in two to three months.

6. Digging is an another option you can consider, although it is expensive and difficult if stump you are about to remove has deep roots.

At last if you’re unable to kill tree stump naturally, use chemicals. Our recommendation is to use a tree stump as an asset. Grow plants on it, it’ll become a focal point of your garden.

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Killing tree stumps naturally is safe and doesn't require chemicals. In this article you'll learn how to kill tree stumps naturally.

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  1. My dad and I have been looking for ways to remove a tree trunk from my grandmas property for a month. We’ve been very aggressive with it and have tried multiple ways, but nothing we have done works. The strong components that are in Epsom salt sound like a good way to kill the stump off and with our work already weakening it, it may even speed up the process. I can’t wait to give this a try and see if it works.

  2. That’s cool that you don’t need to use chemicals to kill tree stumps. I had heard that was the only way option to choose. I would imagine another way to get rid of a tree stump is to call removal services. I’m pretty sure that’s they’d be able to help you and address any concerns that you may have.

    • Yes but that cost me $600 for a large apple tree. And the 200 more a year later to remove the stump from the ground because it kept sprouting shoots all over the ground.

  3. I have a few stumps in our yard. We decided to cut the trees down to let more light into the home. We’ve looked into a couple methods, stump grinding was one of them. I like the idea of using the stump for flowers and a garden.

  4. I hadn’t thought about using rock salt to remove a tree stump. I can see how this method could be worth it but I would want to make sure I keep a close eye on it since it could also damage the ground and vegetation around it. I will make sure to do this next time I need a tree stump removed. Thank you for the tips.

  5. The method I like best is as a planter. Instead of grinding the stump down, holloqnit out by drilling multiple large holed in it then use a crow bar to pop out the wood. Then roll a couple of holes in the sides forndrainage, add some course gravel then potting soil. The soil will hold.moisture and rot the stump naturally over time and in the mean time you have a lovely place to plant flowers.

  6. I’ll try the rock salts technique, give it a few weeks then if that doesn’t do the trick I’ll try the epsom salts… thanks for the tips on how to remove a tree stump naturally…

  7. I have cut the tree stump four month ago the roots are growing everywhere in .i think i have to try Epsom salt to kill the roots. Thank gor the tip.

  8. How do I protect the surrounding plants from being killed by the epsom salts? The tree stump is in the middle of my flower bed.
    Thank you!

  9. Help! My Husband just put 40lb of salt into the hole around a small tree stump and covered the hole with dirt. I don’t think this will kill the tree stump just everything else close by. He didn’t drill any holes in the stump! What do I need to do before all this salt is mixed up in my garden? Thanks

  10. Glad to find this. Have a very large 12″+ silver maple I plan on taking out. Will definitely try the Epsom salt instead of paying the extra cost of having the stump ground out.

  11. I used regular table salt and put it it holes that I drilled into the top of the stump and around the base. It took several times doing this before the stump stopped having sprouts out the sides and at the base. Now I used the remaining stump in the middle of my garden to put plants on. An American flag stands in one of the holes I drilled.

  12. Rock salt (potassium chloride) and Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) are both chemicals… and while neither is particularly toxic in small quantities and both are theoretically capable of killing a tree and any other vegetation if used in sufficient quantities (through osmotic gradients), they are not safer and are considerably slower and orders of magnitude less effective than old fashion patassium nitrate, the ingredient in most store bought stump removers. The potassium nitrate breaks down quickly, is less toxic to surrounding plants, and in every way better to use especially near food crops…

    be careful of labeling things as “natural” vs “chemical”… it’s a false distinction. Everything in the universe except the vacuum of space is made of chemicals. Calling something “natural” doesnt make it safer. Bears are natural. I wouldnt let my kid near one. But I do make him put potassium nitrate on tree stumps in our 1/2 acre organic garden. (and wash his hands after…I do let him
    sprinkle much smaller and more dilute quantities of mag sulfate (remember epsom salt!) around the tomatoes… sodium, potasium, magnesium and a whole host of other mineral anions and cations are essential to all life… in the right quantities… few of us get enough potassium in our diets, all of us get too much sodium.I would never let my kid into the garden with a large quantity of rock salt or any other table salt… little devil would poison half the garden before I could blink… i do occassionally give him a _small_ salt shaker to sprinkle that insidiously delicious high blood pressure causing chemical-yes, salt!—on slugs… kills them by osmotic gradient again, desiccating the poor things in a few minutes…

    So if u dont want to make a stump planter (I love that idea!) and cant or wont dig and chop the thing out (you citified folks! my 95 pound wife can do that!) and you cant afford a stump grinder or a high school
    kid with a pick axe/maddox, manual transmission truck, and some chain… and u have 3 – 6 months, and you want to do it naturally, you will have to wait 100 to a thousand years. Thats the natural way. otherwise get the potassium nitrate for faster results and pound for pound a smaller carbon footprint than salt & episom salts manufacturing produces…


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