What Is The Best Homemade Tree Stump Killer?

What Is The Best Homemade Tree Stump Killer?

The best homemade tree stump killer generally relies on materials that are readily available and can create an environment conducive to the decay and eventual death of the stump. Among the most effective and commonly used homemade solutions are Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) and rock salt (sodium chloride).

Here’s how to use these substances to kill a tree stump…

Epsom Salt Solution

Epsom salt is favored for its ability to draw moisture out of the stump, thereby dehydrating it and inhibiting its growth without introducing harmful chemicals into your yard.

How to Use:

  1. Drill Holes – Start by drilling deep, wide holes across the top of the stump, spacing them a few inches apart. The holes should be about 8-12 inches deep to ensure the salt penetrates deeply.
  2. Apply Epsom Salt – Fill the holes with Epsom salt, and then pour water into each hole to moisten the salt, allowing it to dissolve and penetrate the wood.
  3. Cover the Stump – Cover the stump with a plastic tarp or garbage bag. This helps retain moisture, encouraging the salt to stay in place and work more effectively.
  4. Reapply – Check the stump every few weeks, adding more Epsom salt and water as needed. The process requires time, often several months, to kill the stump effectively.

Rock Salt Solution

Rock salt works similarly to Epsom salt by dehydrating the stump. It’s a bit harsher on the surrounding soil and vegetation, so it should be used with caution.

How to Use:

  1. Drill Holes – Drill deep holes into the stump, just as you would for the Epsom salt method.
  2. Fill with Rock Salt – Pour rock salt into the holes, ensuring they are filled to the top.
  3. Water the Stump – Add water to help the salt dissolve and penetrate into the stump.
  4. Cover and Wait – Cover the stump to keep it moist and check periodically, adding more rock salt as needed.

Considerations for Homemade Stump Killers

  • Time – Both methods are slow-acting, requiring patience as the stump gradually dies and decomposes over several months to a year or more.
  • Environmental Impact – While Epsom and rock salt are less toxic than commercial chemical stump killers, they can still affect the surrounding soil and plants. Salt can inhibit the growth of plants near the treated stump, so use it judiciously.
  • Effectiveness – These methods are generally more effective on smaller stumps. Larger stumps may require more time or a combination of methods for complete removal.

Safety Tips

  • Wear protective gloves and eyewear when handling and drilling.
  • Be mindful of the potential impact on pets and wildlife.

Using Epsom or rock salt as a homemade tree stump killer offers an accessible and environmentally friendlier alternative to chemical stump removers. Apply these methods carefully and be prepared for the process to take time.