How to Manually Remove a Tree Stump

Do you have a really beautiful old tree in your yard? Is it looking sick? Learn more about nursing a sick tree back to health.

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I have a really beautiful old olive tree in my backyard. I love sitting under it on warm summer night. Unfortunately, the tree got a bit of a knock from the truck that brought in our swimming pool this summer, and it has been looking quite sick ever since and hasn't had any olives yet this year. I am very attached to the tree, so I have got a guy from the tree service company making weekly visits to give it extra fertilising and trimming to try to promote growth. This blog is all about nursing a sick old tree back to health with help from a tree service company.

How to Manually Remove a Tree Stump

16 May 2016
, Blog

Cutting down a tree by yourself can seem like a daunting experience; however, it is relatively simple compared with the task of removing the stump. Stump removal is tricky business as it's time-consuming and takes some elbow grease, which is why you often see people's backyards dotted with tree stumps. However, it's entirely doable if you have the right tools and techniques and plenty of patience.

While there are various methods of removing tree stumps, the quickest and most inexpensive way to do it, providing you have only one stump to remove and your tree is on the small side, is manually (if you have a few stumps to remove, it may be worth renting a tree grinder and doing it that way). Here are some tips and tricks on the best way to remove a tree stump by hand.

Make sure you have the right tools

Firstly, you will need a top quality spade; using a cheaper spade will mean a lot of added sweat and stress. You'll also need an axe or all-purpose utility bar, also known as a landscape bar, and a chainsaw.

Prepare the stump

It will be difficult to dig out the stump if the lower branches are too high, so first use a chainsaw to remove or even out any lower branches. Consider leaving some of the taller branches on to use as leverage.

Get digging

The trick here is to start digging a little way away from the tree. Roots close to the tree can be large and unyielding, and there will be little room for manoeuvrability. Instead, start digging further out, using your axe or landscape bar to cut the roots that your spade can't handle. Dig a trench around the circumference of the stump and it will make its removal a lot easier, plus it'll be kinder on your tools and your back.

This will take time, but keep digging and widening the trench, using the axe or landscape bar to cut any roots that are in the way, and eventually you'll make it to the stump itself and be able to get leverage using the edge of the landscape bar. Keep pushing and pulling the stump until it is completely uprooted.

Fill the Hole

Once the stump has been removed, fill the remaining hole with topsoil and spread grass seed and mulch on top. Keep the area well-watered until the seed becomes established and the area looks more uniform. For more information, visit sites like