Remove A Tree Stump With One Common Household Ingredient

Bidding farewell to a pesky tree stump is essential as it may sprout new shoots, given its almost always intact root system, defeating the original purpose of cutting down an unwanted tree. Moreover, this practice can stave off tripping hazards, improve your landscape's aesthetics, and simplify yard maintenance. While there are several ways to remove a tree stump, including using a chainsaw or stump grinder, the cost can often run up to eye-watering numbers, which may not work for many homeowners. However, there is a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution to turning your garden stump-free: Epsom salt.

While Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate is commonly used to improve plant nutrition, a higher dosage can prove deadly for an unsightly tree stump. It accelerates the decomposition of the stump by drawing out all of its moisture completely, including from its roots. Besides, its ready availability and economical price make it a budget-friendly ally in your landscaping endeavors. Either apply the salt to holes drilled in the tree base or soak it in a salt solution, and voila, no more arboreal eyesores.

Using the drilling method

Begin by gathering a few supplies: a drill with a large bit or an ax, Epsom salt, water, wax, a tarp, and a shovel. Proceed to drill several 1-inch-wide holes in the stump's surface, including its aerial roots, ensuring each hole is placed at a distance of at least three to four inches. While six holes are sufficient, bigger stumps may require more. Ensure you drill down to around eight inches to allow for deeper salt penetration. Alternatively, you may use an ax to make hollows in the tree stump.

Next, directly pour Epsom salt ¾ of the way up in the drilled holes and fill the rest with water to keep the salt moist. Then, plug the holes with wax. Additionally, cover the trunk remnant with a non-porous tarp to minimize rain and sun exposure so that the roots do not sprout again and the salt does its job of rotting the stump. Repeat the procedure every three weeks until the stump is dead, and dig it out using a shovel.

Employing the soaking method

If you don't wish to strain yourself by drilling holes, you can use the soaking method to remove a tree stump. In a bucket, combine Epsom salt and water in a 1:2 ratio. Generally, soaking a single tree base requires two gallons of water and one gallon of salt. Pour this solution all over the tree stump and its largest exposed roots.

After drenching the stump, cover it with an opaque tarp or a plastic sheet, and add a layer of mulch on top to weigh it down. You can also sprinkle a nitrogen-rich fertilizer around the tree trunk's base to further boost its breakdown. Repeat this method at least once a week and chip away at the wood as it decomposes. Finally, pull out all the stump remnants, especially the root system, when it completely dries out. After disposing of the stump, you can repurpose the space by adding soil and sowing grass or flower seeds.