How to Kill a Tree Stump – The Best Instructions

Various ways can help you know how to kill a stump, either by using chemicals or natural means. The root system stays alive when you cut down unwanted trees and dies, sometimes later due to old age or even shock. Most of the time, it does not; that is when you should kill it.

How To Kill A Tree Stump

Chopping down the trees does not stop them from sprouting from their roots and turn back into full size. It becomes a frustrating obstacle that you need to eliminate immediately. In this article, you will learn how to kill a tree stump once and for all?

You can use the table of contents above to take a whole look at the article. If you have limited time, please check the comparison table to go to our top recommendations. Let’s get started:



Further information

Roebic K-77 Root Killer

- Brand: Roebic
- Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 9.5 x 8.5 inches
- Item Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Use every 6 to 12 months
- Clear Pipes and Stop New Growth
- Keep lines free from clogging tree and shrub roots
- Safe for All Plumbing. Will not harm septic tanks
- Destroys clogging roots fast

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Bayer Advanced 704640B 704640 Brush Killer

- Brand: Bayer Advanced
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 2.65 x 10.25 inches
- Item Weight: 2.35 pounds
- Kill over 70 other types of weeds and brush
- Visual results in 1- 6 weeks
- Rainproof in 4 hours
- Treats up to 4,000 square feet
- Active Ingredients: Triclopyr, triethylamine salt: 0.8%

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Ortho MAX Poison Ivy & Tough Brush Killer

- Brand: Ortho
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 9.5 x 12 inches
- Item Weight: 12.78 pounds
- Kill over 60 types of tough brush and weeds
- Kill poison ivy, poison oak, kudzu and wild blackberries
- Kill woody plants including stumps and vines
- Rainproof in 2 hours

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Ways to Kill a Tree Stump

Using the proper techniques, you can eliminate stumps within a short time. But for a tree to be eradicated, then you must first destroy the root system. The roots always cover a wide area as they grow. Therefore, the following ways can also help you comprehend how to kill tree roots, hence preventing them from re-growing:

Ways to Kill a Tree Stump

Use of Hands

This is one of the natural ways of eliminating a stump without using a grinder. Removing a tree stump by hand is not only frustrating but also time-consuming. If you want to know how to kill a tree stump using your hands, you must have all the necessary protective tools and follow the existing safety precautions.

Follow the steps below:

  1. First, use a shovel to uncover the stump’s roots and ensure you expose them by removing the soil around the stump.
  1. Start cutting the roots using your loppers into small pieces for easy removal. If the roots are stubborn and very thick, then you must use an ax. Be very careful using an ax not to hit a stone.
  1. Using a grub hoe, pull out all the deep roots as you cut the roots using the loppers.
  1. Dig out the stump using your shovel
  1. Fill the hole left behind after removing the stump with sawdust.

Applying Chemicals

After cutting the tree, apply the chemical herbicide immediately, such as Roundup concentrate, containing Glyphosate as the active ingredient. Using this chemical formulation softens the stump for quick removal. The Roundup concentrate inhibits the stump from sprouting, so you should be very careful when applying the concentrate.

To apply the chemical effectively, make equal holes around the stump using a power drill for quick absorption. Carefully pour the Roundup concentrate into the holes as you follow the guidelines. Observe the stump as it decomposes and start removing it after softening enough as you cut the roots using an axe. Ensure that you keep the chemical away from your children or pets.

Use Fire

You must be very cautious when using fire to burn the stump. Take necessary precautions, and you must be confident that you understand what you are doing. You should also be mindful of your surrounding environment and the burning precautions.

To eliminate the stump, ensure it is scorched for it to burn quickly. Remove any flammable debris in the proximity before you start the burning process. Most importantly, you must have a fire extinguisher to put off the fire that might spread.

Using your power drill, make holes of about 9 to 10 inches from the top of the stump and sides. Pour kerosene or diesel into the holes and let it travel deep into the root system for about an hour before adding another fluid.

Light the stump of scorching fire and use a long rod to prevent the need of getting too close. Keep lighting the tree stump until it is wholly burnt. The remains can be removed easily without any hassle.

Using Copper Nails

Copper nails are metals that interfere with tree growth’s metabolism; hence, it kills a stump quite quickly. This method has proven highly reliable and effective, allowing you to keep away harmful chemicals from the surrounding environment.

Using a hammer, hit the nails to penetrate deep into the tree stump. Ensure that you place the nails at a downward angle and closer to the root system. Hammer the nails continuously at an interval of 1.5 inches.

You should ensure that the stump is low on the ground. Chop all the visible roots and sprouts. This way, the tree gets its nutrients from copper nails rather than soil. And leave the nails for a prolonged period for them to rot. It takes about 1 to 3 months for the stump to decompose, depending on the tree stump’s size.

The stump takes a few weeks to start dying, but it is advisable to let the stump rot completely. Once it is dead, begin the process of removing the stump, but first, remove the copper nails using a nail puller. We hope that you now know how to stop the tree stump from sprouting.

How to Remove a Tree Stump with Epsom Salt

How to Remove a Tree Stump with Epsom Salt

This is another suitable method of killing tree stumps. Epsom salt contains some sulfur and magnesium elements, which are essential nutrients needed by plants for survival. The salt can dry out the whole root system, preventing it from absorbing moisture and other valuable nutrients.

Use your shovel to dig out the roots for them to be exposed. Using the power drill, create holes all over the stump, and they should be one inch apart. Mix the salt with one gallon of water to get a highly concentrated solution.

Pour Epsom salt solution into the holes and around the roots, and you should be very careful when doing this. Cover the stump with a tarp to prevent sunlight and rain from hitting it because the tarp is water-resistant. Continue adding the Epsom salt and water solution at least once a week.

Dig out the stump once it is scorched and remove it using an axe. And then, fill the hole with sawdust, soil, or sprinkle grass. If you use the methods highlighted above, you can also know how to stop tree stump from sprouting.

The Best Tree Stump and Root Killers

A stump killer is a chemical formulated to eliminate stumps, roots, and brushes by completely drying them. Triclopyr or copper sulphate pentahydrate are the active ingredients of most stump chemical killers. You can buy them as a solution, granules or a concentrate. 

Our top 3 stump killers’ product review and purchasing guide can help you select a suitable formulation for your stump applications.:

1. Roebic (K-77-2LB) Root Killer

This is a special chemical formulation for destroying roots faster. It targets the root system hence preventing their sprouting. It is non-corrosive, so it cannot ruin your pipes when applying the formulation. The formulation cannot harm the surrounding vegetation, so it is safe to use.

It is suitable for residential areas because it cannot harm your septic tanks. It quickly destroys the root system; hence you can save digging and rooter services. Roebic K-77-2LB doesn’t dissolve completely in water, so be very careful when applying it in drains.

Targets the roots system at the entry point
Protects the surrounding environment
It saves you from rooting and digging costs.
Copper sulphate is the active ingredient.
It doesn’t dissolve effectively.

2. Bayer Advanced Brush Killer

It can destroy about 72 different plant species, such as tree stumps. The 32-once of the chemical concentrate can make about 8 gallons of toxic herbicide covering approximately 4000 square feet.

The formulation should be applied on top of the tree stump undiluted. This chemical gets deeply into the roots, killing them and inhibiting any further growth. Although it can destroy the toughest trees, it is greatly gentle on the surrounding grass. Although they temporarily turn yellow, the brush killer cannot kill them completely.

It is extremely gentle on grass but tough on trees.
It kills the entire root system, hence preventing further sprouting.
It covers a large area of about 4000 square feet.
Relatively cheap and gives great value to your money.
It takes long before it works.

3. Ortho MAX Stump Killer

Ortho MAX Stump Killer is the best stump killer because it can eradicate over 60 different types of brushes and weeds. Triclopyr is the active ingredient of this stump killer. It has a capacity of approximately over 30 ounces.

The chemical solution is rainproof for about 2 hours after applying it. Even though the solution effectively kills numerous types of tree species, it takes a lot of time before you get the anticipated results. If you apply the Ortho MAX Stump Killer carefully, then you can also understand how to stop tree sprouts from stump.

Eliminates over 60 different types of brushes
It is rainproof
Relatively affordable
It takes long before it works.


The ideas we have discussed above are efficient, and you can apply them anytime. Now that you have an idea of how to kill a tree stump, you are free to use any of the methods that suit you. All the ways cannot fail; if one does, then others will work effectively. Apart from the techniques we have highlighted, you can use the stump killer products reviewed to kill a tree stump. 

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