There are various reasons why a tree has to give way. The felling is usually the lesser problem here, because removing the tree root often becomes the challenge. We’ve summarized the best ways to proceed with your tree stump to make room for new landscaping.

Professional tree stump removal
The easiest way, but also costly, is to have a professional remove a tree stump. This professional can be found in gardening and landscaping and has suitable equipment as well as experience in removing tree roots.

However, he will also charge for this: Here you have to expect costs between 90 and 110 euros per hour plus travel costs of about 50 euros. Depending on the root depth, length and setting, two or more working hours quickly add up. It may be quicker to use a mini-excavator, which can dig up the stump in half the time. Including disposal, this can cost between 150 and 200 euros.

Digging out the tree stump yourself
If you have suitable garden tools and are not afraid of the effort, a tree stump can also be dug out yourself.

You will need the following equipment:

How to remove the tree root:

  • Cut the tree back to 1.5 meters or cut it down
  • Expose the roots as far as possible with the spade
  • Cut off fine roots with the spade
  • Cut through overlong roots with an axe or saw
  • Push the stump back and forth to loosen it
  • Slide jack under the stump and push up or pull out the stump by winch or block and tackle
  • Remove remaining stump and roots from the soil
  • Then fill in the hole

Mill out tree root

In order to mill out a tree stump, you will need a so-called stump grinder, which you can rent at hardware stores, for example. This method saves you the power-consuming digging and laborious sawing. Here, the trunk is first deeply shortened and the cutter is placed directly on top of the stump. The machine then cuts as deep as possible into the root, crushing itself in the process.

With this method, the tree root usually remains in the ground. Either spread the mulch created in the process in beds and backfill the area above the root with soil, or spread the wood chips directly in place. Deep mulching with a rootstock grinder removes the “heart” of most tree species, which usually prevents resprouting of the remaining roots.

Rental costs for a stump grinder usually range from $50 to $200, depending on the rental period.

Let roots die
Dead roots are easier to remove from the soil. This saves time-consuming excavation with a spade and allows you to simply push the tree stump over after it has died. However, this method takes some time. Depending on the extent and depth of the roots, the dying process can take several months before the stump can be removed.

For this purpose, it is recommended to use a chainsaw. Likewise, you will need a drill with a wood drill bit, as well as bitter or rock salt and candle wax.

How it works:

  • Saw off the tree trunk directly above the ground surface.
  • Drill several holes as deep as possible into the roots
  • The spacing of the drill holes should be between one and two centimeters
  • Fill the holes about two-thirds full with the salt
  • Seal the holes by letting the candle wax drip into them

Allow tree root to rot

Another way to remove a tree stump is to deliberately induce rotting. Instead of salt, however, this involves adding fresh compost to the root. First, saw off the tree stump with a chainsaw close above the ground. However, leave three to four inches of the lower “trunk plate.”

Then proceed as follows:

  • Saw checkerboard patterns into the stump.
  • Drill additional several deep and slightly wider holes with the wood drill (the more, the faster the composting)
  • Put fresh, fine compost into the holes
  • The compost will now attract fungal spores and microorganisms that will lead to composting of the stump
  • Depending on weather and temperatures, it will take between one to two years for full composting to occur
  • It usually happens faster if you add compost accelerator

Not recommended: Burn out
The option of burning to remove a tree stump is repeatedly mentioned on the Internet. For this, petroleum is mixed with nitric acid to form a mixture paste, filled into previously drilled holes or crevices and set on fire. This is supposed to ensure that the tree stump burns from the inside and the heat also burns the roots at the same time. We strongly advise against this method for several reasons:

  • It creates a fire that can lead to a health risk for you, the neighbors, for animals as well as for nature and, in the worst case, can even cause life-threatening situations.
  • For the first-mentioned reason, the ignition of open fires is forbidden in most cities and municipalities and is punished with heavy fines in case of disregard.
  • If petroleum and nitric acid get into the soil and, if necessary, into the groundwater, it is a case of high-level environmental pollution, which can also be punished with fines of up to 50,000 euros.
  • Charcoal is produced by the burning process. This decays extremely slowly and remains in the soil for many years. This in turn prevents the tree stump remains from rotting.
  • Therefore: Do not be irritated by burn-out recommendations on the Internet and refrain from burning out in any case!
  • Dispose of tree stump and root remains correctly
  • Once you have removed a tree stump including roots from the ground, the question often arises as to how best to dispose of the tree stump. Again, there are several options available to you:
  • Hire a specialized company to deliver a green waste container and properly dispose of the contents. The cost factor for this averages around 200 euros per three cubic meter container volume.
  • Use a chainsaw to cut the tree stump into smaller pieces and process them in a shredder to make mulch to spread around the garden, or use an axe to split them into firewood.
  • Place in a protected location as dead wood in the garden for winter shelter for various animals.
  • Check with the forestry office to see if you can place the stump as deadwood in a forest.
  • Ask wood sculptors if there is a need for the stump. Young artists in particular are often delighted to receive free wood stumps.
  • Inquire on social media in gardening and decorating groups if anyone is interested in picking up free stumps. Often creative amateur gardeners are looking for them to make decorations from.
  • Alternative: use tree stump as decoration

You can also save yourself the expense and hassle of root removal and disposal by simply using the tree stump for garden decoration. Of course, this only works if you don’t need the area for anything else or have enough space for the excavated root.

Otherwise, you can use the tree stump, for example, as a column for a flower pot or hollow out parts of it and put plants inside. A lamp can also be mounted on it or you can mount a table top on it and create a new seating area in your garden. An excavated tree stump, on the other hand, is perfect for decoration, for example in a rock garden or next to a garden pond. There are no limits to creativity and the possibilities.