If you have had a tree cut down on your property, you know that tree stumps can create unsightly eyesores and potential hazards in your yard or garden. Professional removal services can be costly, but with a little effort, you can use natural methods to burn or dissolve old tree stumps that are cluttering up your yard.
How to Burn a Tree Stump
Before you begin, you should make sure that your community does not forbid stump burning in residential areas. For safety reasons, some towns may have strict regulations or require permits, so be sure to check with your local fire department and town offices before starting.
When you are certain that you will be able to burn it yourself, use a chainsaw to get the stump as close to the ground as you can. Then, take a drill and start making holes in the top of the stump. Put the first hole in the center and make it approximately 10 inches deep. You should leave about an inch or two of space between each one.
Once all of your holes are in the stump, fill each one with potassium nitrate, also known as saltpeter. Pour boiling water into the holes to dissolve the saltpeter. Now, you should allow the liquid to penetrate through the stump, so leave it alone for several weeks.
After the saltpeter has been absorbed into the wood, pour some kerosene on the stump and allow it to sit for another few weeks. Once the kerosene has soaked through the wood, you are ready to set the tree stump on fire.
Rake all leaves and debris away from the stump and clean up the surrounding area. Place rocks or bricks in a circle around the stump and add extra logs to help the fire burn. For safety, keep a pail of water or hose on hand when you start your fire.
A small stump will need to burn for approximately two or three days. Keep a close eye on the fire and restart it if it goes out prematurely. Once the stump has completely burned, use a shovel to remove any remaining wood or roots from the ground. Lastly, fill in the hole with soil or dirt.
How to Rot a Tree Stump Naturally
If the fire method isn’t for you, you can allow the tree stump to rot naturally on its own. While this takes more time, this process is safer than burning it in your backyard.
You can speed up the process by drilling holes into the top and sides of your tree stump. You should make your holes approximately 10 inches deep and 1 inch apart. Using a shovel, trowel or cup, fill each hole with a substance that contains a high amount of nitrogen. For this, a nitrogen-rich fertilizer would be ideal.
Once you are done, spread soil and mulch on the stump and thoroughly moisten it with water. Check your moisture levels every few weeks and reapply as needed. After a few months, you can add more fertilizer to the area. This method takes longer, but as the stump begins to soften, you can start chipping away at it with your shovel. Continue this process until the stump fully rots away, which should take about a year or two.
If you choose not to hire a professional service to remove an old tree stump from your yard, the above tips will help you accomplish this task yourself. Whether you use the burning or rotting method, you will save money while restoring your yard’s natural beauty.