If you've lost a tree or two (or more) in a summer storm, you may have already finished the process of cutting up and disposing of the trunk, branches, and leaves. But removing the stump can be a trickier proposition, and you may be reluctant to tackle it for fear of tearing up your lawn or a nearby sidewalk. Luckily, there are a few relatively easy ways to rid yourself of stumps and roots once and for all. Read on to learn more about how to remove a stump yourself -- and when to consult with a professional.
What stumps can you remove yourself?
Certain stumps are obviously simple jobs -- if your fallen tree was just slightly more than a sapling, you'll likely be able to grind the stump down using only a heavy-duty weed eater, or dig it out yourself with a shovel. But larger stumps can appear challenging, and you may not know whether to try to remove it yourself.
In general, if a stump is small or medium in diameter, has a simple root structure (no large, lumpy roots jutting from the ground), and isn't near a sidewalk or the foundation of your home, you should be able to use one of the below methods. However, if you're dealing with a large or unusual stump, or one that is dangerously close to concrete, you're better off consulting a logger or stump removal service specialist.
How should you remove a stump yourself?
One reason stumps are so stubborn is because they are still very much alive, with roots buried deep within the ground. Extracting a sizable stump is no different than trying to topple a full-grown tree. However, there are a number of herbicides that are specifically designed to kill trees and shrubs without harming nearby grass. Applying one of these herbicides to the base of your stump, concentrating on the roots, can help kill the tree relatively quickly, allowing you to easily pry up the stump and fill in any remaining hole with fill dirt.
If the stump you're trying to eradicate is a bit larger, you might want to grind it down instead. By using a chainsaw and cutting the stump as close to the ground as possible, you can leave yourself with a flat surface. Using a grinder or heavy-duty sander to reduce the stump below the surface of the ground will allow you to cover the stump with dirt and grass seed, completely eliminating any trace of your tree.