How is the best way to remove a tree stump?


Young lady removing a tree stamp by hand
Young lady removing a tree stamp by hand

How is the best way to remove a tree stump?

There are many times I go to gardens to grind a tree stump and I can see that the customer has already put huge amounts of effort and energy into removing quite a small tree stump.

The quickest and cleanest way to remove a tree stump is by using a stump grinding machine. I’m not saying this just because I own a stump grinder, it is actually a genuine fact!

Removing a tree stump by hand is possible, but requires time, strength and an assortment of hand tools. If you are thinking about removing a tree stump by hand, I would seriously think about hiring someone like myself to do the job. I have seen many people spend the whole weekend trying to remove a tree stump and getting nowhere.

About a year ago, I removed a cherry tree stump by hand for a customer. Due to the sharp turns and many steps into the garden , I was unable to access the property with the stump grinder. Although I have a portable, compact machine, certain spaces make it very difficult to get a tracked stump grinder into a garden. For this particular job, I decided to dig the stump out by hand as the customer was very eager to have the stump removed.

The cherry stump was approximately 15 inches (38 cm) diameter with several protruding roots. The primary tools that I used were a spade, a strong fork, a mattock, a crowbar, an axe and a bow saw. I avoid using a chainsaw on tree roots as it very quickly blunts the chainsaw, just due to the nature of the job. To cut a long story short, it took me all day to remove the stump. This was a lot of hard work and sweat!  I had to haul and dispose of all the roots. If the tree roots had been ground out with a tree stump grinder, there would be no solid wood left. Tree Stump Grinders leave only the fine mulchings which would quickly rot down into the soil.

Another method to remove tree stumps is by using a mechanical digger.  A mechanical digger pulls tree stumps out, but without finer skills or aesthetic considerations. You will still have to dispose of the stump and roots afterwards.  Depending on the size of the machine, these can be used on a variety of sizes of tree stumps.  If you are digging close to a concrete path or a wall,  be extremely careful using this method.
It takes care and awareness to insure that you don’t rip the path up, due to the roots growing underneath the path.

Another way to remove a tree stump is to buy tree root killer.  However, this is an extremely slow way to dispose of a tree stump. I certainly wouldn’t recommend removing a tree stump in this way, unless you have no other options. Poisoning a tree stump is your slowest method of removal.

Once again, please feel free to give me a call on (07971) 648879 and I would be very pleased to give you an instant quote over the phone for the removal of your unwanted tree stumps.


  1. Neil
    February 16, 2019 @ 7:46 pm

    Hi, could you please give me a price for grinding a conifer stump. It was cut down in July, it’s approximately 45cm in diameter and it’s been partly hacked at by me unsuccessfully. Our post code is CM3 5GS.

    Thank you.

    • Roy Bretton
      February 17, 2019 @ 9:11 am

      Hello Neil,

      Thank you for your enquiry Neil, I have just sent you an email, you may need to check your spam folder as sometimes my emails seem to go to people’s spam folder! Please feel free to ask me any questions that you may have, either by email or you can telephone me on (07971) 648879.

      Thanking you.


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