Kill Stumps the Easy Way: Homemade Tree Stump Killer

Kill Stumps the Easy Way: Homemade Tree Stump Killer

A tree stump can be intimidating if you've never removed one before. I mean, how do you get the stump and all of the roots out of the ground. You could grind them out or have some one dig it out with an excavator. But that takes money and serious experience.

Instead of removing the tree stump with a piece of machinery, you can remove it using many things you find around your house. This post will discuss some of the many methods people use to remove tree stumps with homemade tree stump killer. We will discuss things that work and things that don't work so well.

The natural process

Trees, once they are cut down to a stump, naturally die. The roots no longer have the support of the leaves, branches, and trunk to supply the nutrients need to make food. This will cause the roots and stump to decompose over time.

One step that almost all of the homemade methods use

When pouring a homemade tree stump killer onto your stump, you can just pour right onto the stump and around it so the mixture is absorbed. To add the absorption of the mixture, you should drill holes into the stump. The holes should be at least 1/4" in diameter and a minimum of 6" deep. If you can't make these size holes in your stump, any holes you make will help; even if they are smaller.

Will bleach kill a tree stump?

Bleach will kill a tree stump but it takes a long time.

Start by filling a bucket with water and adding some bleach to start the process. The ideal amount is one gallon per tree stump. For larger trees you may need more because they have deeper roots that take longer to kill. The amount you dilute the bleach will directly affect how quickly the tree will react to the bleach. You can pour just bleach onto the stump. You can also mix a 1:1 ratio of bleach and water.

After you have mixed the bleach and water pour it on the stump. It should take at least a week before you notice any changes. The tree stump may turn black and will start to soften. Using bleach to kill your tree stump is not a fast process, but will get the job done.

Killing a tree with vinegar

Vinegar will help a tree stump die quicker. Vinegar works by interrupting its natural growth cycle, and it also inhibits the tree from absorbing nutrients. Pour undiluted vinegar over stump for best results. The diluted acid leaves no lasting damage on other plants or flowers around the area. Repeat as necessary until desired result is attained.

Kill a tree stump with Epsom salt

You can use Epsom salt to kill a tree stump. Epsom salt will kill the roots through dehydration. Epsom salt takes about 3 months to really start working on your stump.

To use Epsom salt to kill a tree stump:

  • To make homemade tree stump killer, mix two cups Epsom salt with one gallon water. You may need more if your tree stump is large.
  • Pour enough Epsom salt on the top of the root system so that you saturate all of it.
  • Cover with soil or mulch and water well to prevent weeds from growing over your homemade tree stump killer. You can also cover the stump with plastic to prevent water from evaporating.
  • Wait several weeks, if you aren't yet seeing the results you want, uncover the stump and put more of the Epsom salt on top and recover.

Killing tree stumps with motor oil

Today, many people are looking for homemade tree stump killer. One homemade tree stump killer that is popular today is using motor oil to kill tree stumps. Motor oil both penetrates and suffocates the tree stump. The best time to apply motor oil is in the spring or early summer, however, it's still worth applying to your stumps even if it's late fall or winter. To make homemade tree stump killer with motor oil: pour a small amount of motor oil on the stump and then either wrap (with heavy duty plastic wrap) or cover with old rug.

The homemade tree stump killer using motor oil is very effective in killing the tree stumps. This homemade tree stump killer can be used on all hardwood trees, including oak, maple, hickory and figs.

There are cons to using motor oil to kill your tree stump. Motor oil, especially used motor oil, contains carcinogens. These can be toxic to the environment. Another thing to consider is you local government or the EPA may not allow you to pour motor oil on your stump. Check with local laws and ordinance to be sure you are doing the right thing before pour oil on your tree stump.

Do copper nails really kill tree stumps?

Copper nails will help speed the process up of killing tree stump. The copper works to stop the tree stump from growing. Hammer copper nails into the tree stump. Once the copper has made contact with the wood, the stump will begin to absorb the copper. The copper will impede the tree from producing cells correctly and cause it to rot faster.

Will diesel kill a tree stump?

Diesel will kill a tree stump, but is probably not one of the best solutions to use. Diesel is toxic to the environment and shouldn't be poured into the ground or on your tree stump. Diesel is also flammable. Thought it doesn't burn as easily as gasoline, it can still catch on fire.

Will baking soda kill a tree stump?

Baking soda will not kill a tree stump. Baking soda has many uses, but kill a tree stump is not one of them.

Will Roundup kill a tree stump?

You can kill a tree stump by soaking it with the Roundup, but it will take a few months to do so. The herbicide penetrates deep into the ground and kills any plants or roots in its path which is why you need to be careful not to let roundup get on nearby grasses as they could die too.

Roundup can kill a tree stump if it's soaked thoroughly with roundup. You have to wait about six weeks for weeds and roots around the outside of your tree stump to wither before applying more roundup until there are no longer signs of life left

One thing to consider is that Roundup uses a chemical called glyphosate. This ingredient is toxic and has been linked to serious health issues. So you may want to use a different method, especially if you have pets and children.

Bury the stump with top soil and mulch

One easy homemade way to kill a tree stump is to simply bury it with topsoil and mulch. The topsoil and mulch will help to keep sprout from growing on the stump. The tree stump will then naturally decay under the mixture and become part of your soil.

The difference between leaving the tree stump uncovered and covering it with topsoil and mulch is huge. The topsoil and mulch contain microorganisms that will speed the process of decomposition up.


Don't let a tree stump stop you from removing it just because it seems hard. You can leave it naturally decay or add some common things you find around your house. Remember that some homemade tree stump killer ideas you see out there can be toxic to you and the environment. So, think and do research before placing anything on your tree stump that has the potential to do harm.