Stump Removal Part Two: Methods

Stump Removal, New England Enterprises, Marlborough, MA

Last time we talked about assessing the stump you want removed. In this post, we now cover the various stump removal methods you can use to remove the stump, along with their own advantages and disadvantages.


Simply covering the stump with soil will eventually lead to the stump’s decay. Once it has rotted enough it can usually be removed with an ax and/or shovel.

  • Advantages: This method is natural, cheap, and no heavy machinery is required.
  • Disadvantages: Depending on the size of the stump this process could take many months or years.


There are several chemicals available that will accelerate the rotting of a tree stump. This basically involves drilling a series of holes in the stump and adding the chemicals. Once the stump is rotted through (generally 4-6 weeks) you can then use an ax or shovel to remove it.

  • Advantages: Requires little manual labor, relatively cheap and no heavy machinery is required.
  • Disadvantages: This method is not environmentally friendly. While this method does speed up decomposition time compared to the natural way, the stump will still take a prolonged period of time to break down.


Digging out stumps by hand works best on small or old, shallow-rooted stumps. Essential tools are a shovel, an ax or grub hoe with ax head, loppers and a root saw. The trick is to dig and expose the roots, cut them with the appropriate tool, pulls the roots out of the ground with the grub hoe and once completely uprooted, the stump should come out with some sweat and a lot of elbow grease.

  • Advantages: Can be removed relatively quickly, cheaply, and with no heavy machinery.
  • Disadvantages: Requires intense manual labor, so if you have larger, newer, or many stumps in your yard, this will not be the best method to remove them because it will take too long and would be back-breaking.


Scrap wood can be used to start a fire on top of a stump, let it burn for a time, chisel away the charcoal part of the stump, and repeat until the stump is gone. This method works well is you have few stumps to remove and have scrap wood you want to get rid of. Remember to check with local officials to see if you’re allowed to burn in your area.

  • Advantages: This method is very cheap, does not require heavy machinery, and requires only some manual labor.
  • Disadvantages: Stumps deeply set into the ground may not be fully exposed to the fire and sometimes requires a chemical additive to eliminate the entire stump. This method also may take a longer time and require multiple fires to fully remove the stump.


Backhoes and skidsteers are heavy machinery that can be used to remove large or many stumps from a yard. Usually, the stump is dug up using one of these machines, and then buried on site which eliminates the cost of hauling them off and disposing of them. Skidsteers are usually available for rent, but backhoes are usually operated by professionals.

  • Advantages: One of the quickest methods of removal, it does not require manual labor, and can be a viable option if you have larger or many stumps that need to be removed.
  • Disadvantages: This is typically the costliest method for stump removal and requires a place on site to bury them, unless you pay to have them hauled off. Also, heavy machinery can tear up a yard so this is not a good option for landscaped yards.

Stump Grinder

This is a machine that chews up stumps up to a foot below ground level. Stump grinders can usually be rented or you can have a professional come and do it for you.

  • Advantages: This is one of the quickest methods and if you have many stumps to get rid of, a stump grinder is the most economical way to go. It also works on any size stump.
  • Disadvantages: Can be costly if you only have a few stumps to remove and will require proper safety equipment if operating yourself.

Nobody wants an unsightly stump taking up valuable space and causing a hazard in their yard. Knowing the different stump removal methods out there and determining the best option to use for your yard is very important. If you’ve decided that the job is too big and that you need help from the professionals, contact New England Enterprises. We have the expertise, equipment and manpower to fully remove and dispose of any stumps in your yard.