How Long Does It Take For A Tree Stump To Rot With Epsom Salt?

How Long Does It Take For A Tree Stump To Rot With Epsom Salt?

Using Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to rot a tree stump is a popular method for those seeking a more natural and less labor-intensive alternative to mechanical removal. The process involves drilling holes into the stump, filling them with Epsom salt, and then adding water to facilitate the absorption of the salt into the wood. The Epsom salt acts to dry out the stump, accelerating the decay process by drawing moisture out of the wood, which inhibits the stump’s ability to sustain any remaining life processes and promotes the natural breakdown by fungi and bacteria.

Time Frame for Decomposition

The time it takes for a tree stump to rot with Epsom salt can vary widely depending on several factors, including the size and type of the tree stump, the climate, and how frequently the Epsom salt is reapplied. Generally, the process can take:

  • Several Months to a Year or More – For many stumps, noticeable softening and the beginning of decomposition can take at least several months. Complete decomposition to the point where the stump can be easily broken apart may take a year or more.

Steps to Accelerate Decomposition with Epsom Salt

  1. Drill Holes – Drill deep holes into the top of the stump about an inch wide and several inches apart. The holes should be as deep as possible to maximize the area affected by the Epsom salt.
  2. Fill with Epsom Salt – Fill the holes with Epsom salt, then add enough water to moisten the salt. This helps the salt dissolve and absorb into the wood.
  3. Cover the Stump – Cover the stump with a plastic tarp or similar material. This helps retain moisture, which is necessary for the salt to work effectively, and also limits the stump’s exposure to sunlight, reducing its ability to photosynthesize.
  4. Reapply Epsom Salt – Every few weeks, remove the cover, add more Epsom salt to the holes, and re-moisten them. Then cover the stump again.


  • Patience Is Required – This method is not quick. It requires patience and regular maintenance to ensure the stump absorbs enough Epsom salt to die and start decomposing.
  • Environmental Conditions – Warm, moist conditions tend to accelerate the decomposition process, while cold or dry conditions can slow it down.
  • Physical Removal May Still Be Needed – Even after the stump has significantly decayed, you may still need to remove the remnants manually or break apart the softened wood to clear the area completely.


Epsom salt can be an effective way to rot a tree stump, but it’s a slow process that can take several months to over a year, depending on various factors. It’s a more environmentally friendly option compared to chemical stump removers and does not require the heavy labor or equipment of mechanical removal methods.