How to Rot Tree Stumps

How to Rot Tree Stumps


Trees and shrubs add dimension and natural beauty to a landscape. With proper care and maintenance, trees can flourish and grow, adding undeniable natural beauty to your property. However, there may come a time when you need tree stump removal grinding Toronto. There are many reasons why you may want to remove a tree. The main reasons are that the tree is dying or dead, it is a fire hazard, it is damaging your house, or it is severely damaged. Keep in mind that you will not get a tree removal permit in Ontario for all trees. When the permit is issued, the best course of action is to bring in a certified expert to remove the tree. This is more so when you consider how hard removing a tree stump can be.

As you may already know, removing a large tree can be very risky. That is why how large a tree is will determine how much it will cost to get it removed. This is because if a tree is really high, the workers will have to climb it before felling it. Again, once the tree has been chopped down, it will need to be cleaned up. Killing a tree stump has always been one of the most difficult stages of tree removal. Needless to say, if the stump is not removed, it is not only unsightly, but the tree can re-germinate. If you are wondering what to do with tree stumps to completely get rid of them, you may consider burning or rotting them.

Burning a Tree Stump

The first thing you need to do before you remove a tree stump by burning is to check if your community permits stump burning. Burning stumps is forbidden in some residential areas for safety reasons. Some towns also have stringent regulations or mandate that a permit be acquired before a stump can be burnt. Make sure you check with the fire department or the town offices to know if stump burning is permitted. The last thing you want is to land in trouble for burning a stump that is on your property.

If removing stumps by burning is permitted, you should first cut the stump as close to the ground as possible. A chainsaw can be used for this. Next, you need to drill into the stump. Make several holes. The first hole needs to be at the very center of the stump. Ensure it is at least 10 inches deep. Next, make several other holes about an inch or two apart.

When the holes have been made, you should pour potassium nitrate (saltpeter) into them. Next, dissolve the potassium nitrate by pouring boiling water into the filled holes. Once that is done, leave the liquid to sink deeper into the stump. Leave the stump for a few weeks.

Once the potassium nitrate is absorbed completely, you need to pour kerosene onto the stump. Leave the kerosene in for a couple of weeks. It is only after the kerosene has been soaked completely that you are ready to set the stump ablaze.

Prior to setting the stump on fire, you need to take precautions to ensure the fire will not spread or become uncontainable. The first thing you must do is rake the debris and leaves from the tree stump and clean the area around the stump. You should then place bricks or rocks around the target stump and then add extra logs to help the fire to burn well. For added safety, have a hose or container of water nearby before you light the fire.

To completely remove and kill tree roots, the stump must burn for about two to three days. This is for when you are removing a small stump. Monitor the fire closely and relight it if it goes out. After the stump has been burnt completely, you can proceed to remove the remaining roots with a shovel. Thereafter, you need to fill the hole.

This is one of the methods you can use when learning how to remove tree stumps. So, what happens if stump burning is not permitted where you live? The answer is to rot the tree stump. Considering it takes quite a long time to remove a tree stump by burning, you may definitely wonder – how do you rot a tree stump fast?

How to Remove a Stump and Roots by Rotting

Stump burning doesn’t have to be forbidden for you not to want to use the method – you may simply not be interested in the fire method. If this is the case, the solution is to allow your tree stump to rot. While leaving a tree stump to rot naturally will take an even longer time, it is undoubtedly the safest method of removing a stump in a backyard. The best thing is you can accelerate the process. With that being said, how do you rot a tree stump naturally? Here are the key steps you should take.

Using Nitrogen Rich Substance

The first thing you need to do when removing a tree’s stump by rotting is to drill several holes in the top sides of the stump. Just like with burning, the holes you drill need to be about 10 inches deep and should be drilled about an inch apart. To accelerate the process, you can consider cutting the stump down to ground level using a chainsaw before you drill the holes.

Once the holes are ready, the next step is to fill them with a substance that contains nitrogen. Nitrogen works great as a root killer for trees. For example, you can use nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Do not touch the substance with your bare hands. Use a cup, trowel or shovel to fill the holes with the substance.

Once the holes have been filled, you need to spread soil and mulch onto the tree stump. You should also make sure that the soil and mulch are moistened thoroughly using water. You will need to leave it on for a couple of weeks for the stump to rot. Always check the moisture levels of the soil and mulch on the stump every couple of weeks. If it is dry, moisten the soil and mulch as needed. To accelerate the rotting process, you can add the nitrogen-rich substance after a couple of months.

Although getting rid of stumps by rotting takes time, you can chip away the stump as it softens from the rot. You can chip away at it using a shovel. Continue monitoring the process until the tree stump rots completely. How long does it take for tree stumps to rot? About one to two years. It may take longer if you are not keen on keeping the area moist and not adding the nitrogen-rich substance when necessary.

Using Epsom Salt

A nitrogen-rich substance is not the only thing you can use. When learning how to kill and rot a tree stump, another option that may come highly recommended is Epsom salt. The use of Epsom salt is a very popular DIY method used to kill tree stumps. This is because it has the ability to accelerate decomposition to 6 to 12 months as opposed to the 3 to 7 years for natural stump rotting.

Epsom is preferred for sulphur and magnesium. While these substances are beneficial to plants, they are deadly when used in large quantities. When you overdose a stump with Epsom salt, the substance will pull moisture from the stump, thus killing it while accelerating decay.

The process of using Epsom salt to kill a stump is similar to that of using a nitrogen-rich substance. First, you need to drill holes into the stump. Make the holes about an inch wide. Next, you need to sprinkle water on the stump, then cover it using Epsom salt. Once that is done, cover the whole stump using tarp to prevent rainwater from washing away the Epsom salt. Repeat this process once every couple of weeks.

How long does it take for tree stumps to? It will depend on the size of the stump and how well you do it. When done properly, the stump will die within two to three months. You can achieve complete decay within a year. When seeking how to get rid of tree stumps faster, this is the DIY solution to use.

Using Rock Salt

Another option you can consider is rock salt. Just like Epsom salt, rock salt works by accelerating decay. Again, you will need to drill holes in the tree stump and pack it with rock salt. Once the holes have been packed, you need to pour soil as well as mulch on the stump. You should then pour some water over the mulch to moisten it. The moisture will cause the salt to dissolve and penetrate deep into the stump and move down to the roots.

You need to keep watering the stump at least once every couple of days for a month or two. The goal is to keep the stump soaked in the saltwater solution. Doing so will promote the growth of fungi which will, in turn, speed up decomposition. You can add potassium nitrate fertilizer to support fungi’s growth and speed up rot.

Using a Plastic Bag or a Tarp

One of the easiest ways of killing a tree stump is by forcing it to stay in complete darkness. When a stump doesn’t get any sunlight, it will gradually die and accelerate decomposition. With this method, rotting should start within two to three months. The best thing is that the method doesn’t require much work. While it is slower, it does the job.

Do you want to learn how to kill off tree stumps using a plastic bag or tarp? The solution is quite simple. Start by cutting the tree stump as close to the ground as possible. You can use a handsaw, hatchet or chainsaw. Once that is done, cover the entire stump with a black plastic bag. Don’t forget to weigh the bag down using bricks or rocks. If the stump is small, you don’t need a plastic bag. You can simply cover it with a dark-coloured bucket.

Using Boiling Water

With this remedy, you will not need to buy anything from the local stores. All that is needed is boiling water. The method works by exposing the roots of the stump to as much hot water as possible. Start by drilling holes into the top of the stump and the roots. This will help the boiling water to get deep into the root system and kill the roots. Pour boiling water on the exposed roots. The heat from the boiling water will shock and destroy the root system, thus causing the stump to die. After the stump and roots die, natural decomposition will start.

What to Avoid When Killing a Tree Stump

When searching for the best way to kill a tree rot, the desire to get rid of the stump can be seething. This should, however, not cause you to use unsafe solutions. Here is what you should avoid in tree roots removal:

  • Bleach – While bleach can destroy a tree stump, it can damage the surrounding plants. The solution is not environmentally friendly.
  • Diesel fuel – Diesel or gasoline doesn’t give the slow and effective burn needed to break down the wood. The substances can also be toxic to your yard. Small amounts of kerosene are enough.

The above are the most effective methods of how to kill off tree stumps. If you need faster results, the best solution is to hire a professional service. Al Miley & Associates offers some of the best solutions in tree and stump removal in Toronto. The company is fully insured, provides WSIB coverage, and the team is approved to offer arboreal-cultural services on trees. They offer the most competitive rates in the business. For advice on how to kill and rot a tree stump or for a quote or consultation, get in touch today by calling 416-749-3723.