You put a lot of time and effort into your yard and it shows. Your lush lawn and grand garden are the talk of the neighborhood. Sadly, in spite of your best efforts, you just lost a tree. You cut it down, put the branches into the compost pile and stacked the wood for use later in your fireplace. Now all you have left to contend with is the unsightly stump. You could rent a stump grinder or hire someone to come in with one, but you would rather not expose your lawn and garden to that. What are the alternatives?

If the tree was small with shallow roots, you’re in luck. You can dig out the stump. Grab a good shovel, slide on your gloves and get to work. Dig until you expose the roots. Then cut the roots and pull the stump out.

If the tree was large and had a wide root system or deep roots, you might want to try something other than digging. Aiding the decomposition of the stump is one route. You can do this naturally by covering the stump with old leaves, dousing it with water and covering it with a garbage bag for the season. You can also drill some holes into the stump and fill them with salt. For speedier decomposition, you might want to take the chemical route. Check with sales associates at your local hardware store to see what chemicals are available to speed up the decomposition of tree stumps. Then apply the chemical as recommended by the manufacturer. Usually this involves drilling several holes into the stump and filling them with the chemical. .

Fire is another option. You can burn out the stump, but first you should check with local authorities and make sure fire is permitted in your area. If so, clear the area around the stump, place some wood on top of the stump and start a fire. Tend to the fire and let it burn until the stump is gone.

If the stump is rather low to the ground, your best option might be to bury it. Remove as much of the stump as possible and then cover what remains with dirt. You may have to do this a few times as the dirt around the stump settles.

These are just a few less-invasive, cost-friendlier options for removing stumps. There are others. Check out the Internet and consult with the sales associates at your local nursery, garden center or hardware store. For those who insist on getting the stump out quickly and do not mind a little yard work afterwards, a skid-steer or backhoe might be an option.

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