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In this video, watch This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook help a homeowner remove a tree stump by hand.

Do It Yourself Stump Removal

Even though digging out a tree stump isn’t the easiest job, you can do it yourself. Unless you have a bad back. Using an assortment of tools, you’ll cut through the roots to allow you to push out the stump. Start by digging through the dirt with a shovel to expose all the roots. Then use a hand saw, pruning saw, and loppers to work your way through the roots as described in the instructions below.

What’s the Fastest Way to Remove a Tree Stump?

For those who don’t want to spend hours shoveling out dirt and cutting roots, you may want to consider renting a stump grinder, which will do the trick in less than an hour.

How to Remove a Tree Stump from the Ground in 12 Steps

  1. Use a pointed shovel to dig out the soil around the tree stump. Continue digging until you’ve exposed the roots all the way around the stump.
  2. Cut small-diameter tree roots with bypass loppers.
  3. Use a pruning saw or reciprocating saw to cut through larger tree roots.
  4. Chop through hard-to-reach roots with an iron digging bar.
  5. After cutting all the roots, push over the stump, then roll it out of the hole.
  6. Backfill the hole with the excavated soil and loam.
  7. In the spring, rake grass seed into the soil and water frequently.
  8. If you have to remove more than one stump, rent a gas-powered stump grinder.
  9. Remove any rocks from around the stump, then use the stump grinder to slowly chip away at the stump.
  10. Stop grinding when the stump is 6 to 8 inches below the surface.
  11. Rake away the wood chips, then fill the hole with loam.
  12. In the spring, plant grass seed.


You may want to rent a power stump grinder to eliminate the stump once removed.