How to remove, or utilize, that stump in your yard

Published 12:12 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2022

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What do you do with a stump in your yard? Many a new home is on a small building lot, and any stumps got bulldozed. Perhaps you had purchased some land and hired a private builder, and some trees or stumps may be left alone. Frequently older homes, from perhaps twenty to 100 years old need, trees removed for some reason, and there’s a stump left…unless you paid extra to have it removed or ground up. So, this is the situation. How might we remove the stump, or use it creatively?


Hiring a professional to grind up the stump sometimes isn’t going to be easy on the budget (or the blood pressure), but maybe the quickest way of getting rid of the remains of this former tree or trees. Others try and dig out stumps. And some try pulling it out with a rope or chain attached to a winch or a 4-wheel-drive vehicle.

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Soaking a dead stump in an accelerant such as kerosene and picking an occasion that is safe to light it afire is one method of getting rid of a stump. Building a stone or metal ring around it and having a bonfire and cookout may be another idea. Caution: such stumps may smolder for several days, so keep an eye on them, or be prepared to douse the fire. Stumps still alive may need a brush killer and stump removal compound before thinking about a fire.


Maybe the better idea is to find some use for the stump and to keep it.


How about a gnome home, or a fairy house? If you use your imagination, other whimsical options are sure to pop into your thoughts. Let children help. Flowers and other decorations make the stump attractive rather than a problem.


Sculptures, such as carvings of bears, birds or toadstools can turn a stump into a conversation piece.


Stumps can be used for seating. Also, tabletops can be fitted to make the area around the stump a useful space. A large stump could even be carved into a big seat or a throne for a king or queen. Add a cushion, and you have a masterpiece rather than a problem in your yard.


Hollow stumps can be utilized as natural flower pots or baskets. Carving can help if the stump doesn’t have a hollow, or one of sufficient size.


Buy some mushroom spawn and grow these on your stump. It looks good, produces food, and eventually converts the stump into compost.


Plant shrubs or flowers around your stump, and it becomes an asset anchoring the middle of a lovely planting bed. Add bed edging and bring in dirt and mulch and completely hide the stump by burying it in the raised bed. If you might like another tree, you can plant one in this new dirt not far from the stump. Trying to dig a hole big enough to plant a new tree so close to the old one might be impossible otherwise. If you place this new tree at least a couple of feet from the old stump, most of the time there isn’t a lingering issue for the new tree.


Maybe you have stumps on a slope and you can build a retaining wall below them and bury them in this manner and they’ll be out of sight, and your landscape budget can be spent on a useful terraced area rather than stump removal.


What if you love some of these ideas, but don’t have a stump? I think you could find someone to “plant” one as landscaping. Or, if doing it yourself appeals to you, the tree trimming/arborist trucks often have big chunks of wood they can’t shred into chips and might be glad to give you a section of a tree for your ‘stump project’.


I hope you’ve found some ideas that might make your place a bit more like paradise, either by eliminating a stump, or turning one into a lovely asset. 


The author is a landscaper. He can be reached at


Allowing mushroom growth on your stump can provide a feature in your yard