How to rot a tree stump fast ?


Tree stumps are always left with an unsightly reminder in a beautiful garden. It also attracts unwanted pests such as fungus, termites, etc. These stumps take almost 10 years to decompose without any proper treatments. In this context, stump grinding service is quite hazardous and can be quite difficult to use on time. The application of chemical agents can be very effective for the rotting tree stump in a fast approach. However, some chemicals take a long time to become effective, while some chemicals work very fast. The rotting process of tree stumps is a very eco-friendly and reliable process rather than grinding or burning the tree stump. The chemical agents that can be used in this rotting process and the detailed periodical process of this rotting process will be highlighted in this topic. Besides this, the organic and natural method of rotting the stump will also be discussed here.

Steps to rot a tree stump fast

The use of chemicals in the tree stump can be the most reliable and fastest way without using grinders. The periodical processes rot a tree stump fast are described below:

  • Step 1: Stump cutting process
  • Step 2: Drilling some holes
  • Step 3: Put the chemicals
  • Step 4: Covering the stump holes
  • Step 5: Covering by mulch

Step 1: Stump cutting process

A dry season will be the best for starting this process; in this way, the tree stump will soak the chemical faster. At first, the remaining part of the tree should be cut close to the ground by using a chainsaw or hand saw. The less amount of remaining stump is there, and it will be less time-consuming and fewer chemicals to apply. While using a hand saw or chainsaw, the person needs to use eye protection for safety precautions.

Step 2: Drilling some holes

The next process is to drill some holes at the top of the stump after trimming it at its lowest possible height. The person should drill the holes as many spaces as it will permit, and the holes should be deep not less than 3 to 4 inches. The spaces between two holes across the entire area should be around 2 inches apart. The bigger the drill bit, it will be easier it to drill the holes. The more holes that will be drilled, the more chemicals can be added, and it will be a faster way to rot a stump.

Step 3: Put the chemicals

After drilling the holes, the person needs to select the type of chemicals to be used. After selecting the chemical type, the chemical needs to be added into each of the holes. However, the person needs to select the appropriate amount of chemicals according to the safety precautions and their effectiveness. In this context, chemicals such as Nitrogen fertilizer and Potassium nitrate are very fast to decompose the stump; however, they are dangerous chemicals for pets and children. On the other hand, Bleach and Epsom salt are very slow to decompose the stump. After adding the chemicals, water should be added within the holes for starting the chemical reactions. 

Step 4: Covering the stump holes

After making the mixture of water and chemicals, the surrounding area should be covered with a tarp to prevent the water from escaping from the area. Besides this, it will keep the wood moist by keeping the water under a tarp. The moisture of the stump will help the chemical reaction faster and more effectively (Hiscox et al. 2018). This process will effectively hold the chemicals into the holes and prevent them from being washed out by rain. This step is very vital to make the wood breakdown process faster without any interruption. Moisture has an essential role in this process to make this process quicker.

Step 5: Covering by mulch

The next step is covering the plastic tarp with wood-based mulch. After covering the mulch, water should be poured thoroughly to keep the grass and outside grasses of the tarp moist. The moisture will ensure the continuous reaction with those chemicals in an effective way. For this purpose, organic mulch such as tree bark would be the best choice as this can hold more moisture and help to keep the tarp always in its proper place. Besides this, heavy stones and rocks also can be used to weigh down the tarp and keep it in place always.  

Some follow up instructions

This is the whole process of rotting the tree stump periodically. However, this process can be made faster by repeating some steps. To speed up this process, it should be repeated steps 3 to 5 in the duration of every 4 to 6 weeks. However, in the case of using potassium nitrate chemical, these steps should be repeated every 2 weeks for getting the best result.  During this process, while uncovering the stump, it should be noticed that the rotting wood has become spongy and soft (Çamlibel, 2020). This spongy wood needs to be removed by an ax. After this, new holes on the stump need to be created by a drill to fill chemicals and water again. In this way, the chemical will be reacted with the fresh wood of the stump. After doing such periodical processes, when the wood would be rotten to the ground level, one last cycle of chemical input should be implemented to finish this process. Otherwise, the remaining part can be kept for decay in the soil.

Signs of stump rot

Few significant signs of stump rot will be easy to understand for determining the time of removing the stump rot. Some of these signs of stump rot are described below:

  • The stump will be soft and moist on touching. The sign of spongy and soft stump determines that the processing of stump rot has been started.
  • If the stump is showing the symbols of mushroom-like growth on the bark and top of the stump, it will be a clear indication of stump rot.
  • If it is showing that some insects or pests are stated to live in the stump, it will be a symbol that the rot has infested the stump.

These signs will be very impactful in identifying the right time of the stump removal process. Removing a rotten stump will be far easier than removing a healthy stump. After making the stump rotten, the next step is removing the rotten stump completely (Dossa et al. 2018). In this context, digging is the best option to pull away from the rotten stump by cutting all of its roots and removing it from the ground. The remaining parts can be burned easily, and the place can be filled with soil and can be used as a lawn or garden.

Natural processes

The natural way of rotting tree stumps can be a slow method, but it will be a more eco-friendly and pleasant way to rot a stump. In this method, vegetables or flower plants need to be planted on the tree stump. Gradually the roots of these plants will be entered into the stump and take the nutrients from it. This natural process will make the decomposition process of stumps faster. However, it will take longer in comparison to using chemical agents on the stump rotting process. 

Another natural process to rot a tree stump is forcing the stump into the darkness to starve fast as it can’t do photosynthesis. In this process, to starve the stamp with darkness, a large volume of organic wastes such as fallen leaves, wood chips will be needed along with a large tarp or a large black plastic. After cutting the tree as close to the ground as possible, it will be covered with the tarp till the exposed roots. After this, a pile of organic waste around 12 inches thick should be made and kept over the tarp. In this process, the stump will be slowly rotten and die.

Chemical process

Chemicals used for the rotting process

Different chemicals can be used to get success in the rotting process. However, all the chemicals are effectively rotting the tree stumps, but the results can be dramatically changed by applying the chemicals. Besides this, there are some safety precautions also at the time of selecting the chemicals. The details of the chemicals have been described below:

High nitrogen fertilizer: Both ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate are rich in nitrogen fertilizer. These nitrogen sources can feed bacteria and fungi that are able to decompose the wood stump in a very fast way. However, these chemical compounds are very dangerous for pets and people surrounding them, so there should be some considerations before applying these chemicals (Bani et al. 2018). It generally takes almost 2 to 3 years to rot the tree stump using this nitrogen-enriched fertilizer completely. However, an individual should check the environmental standards before using this fertilizer.

Epsom salt: Epsom salt is chemically known as Magnesium sulfate, and it can be the most common way to rot the tree stump harmlessly; however, it can affect the surrounding plants by absorbing the moisture. This chemical compound is made of sulfur, magnesium, and oxygen and can be used to speed up the natural rotten process of tree stumps. However, this method is moderately slow, but it’s the safest process ever to use. The timeframe of rotting the tree stump is almost the same as using nitrogen fertilizer.

Rock salt: This is another multi-use chemical product like Epsom salt for eradicating unwanted tree stumps. Besides this, it also can affect the surrounding plants by drawing the moistures from surroundings. Rock salt is sodium chloride which contains sodium and chlorine. These elements have a significant adverse effect on the desirable plants as well. If the salt concentration becomes too high in the soil, this compound can displace phosphorus and potassium from the desirable plants and cause their death (Law et al. 2019). Therefore, precautions need to be taken before applying Rock salt on tree stumps.

Potassium nitrate: This is another effective chemical to rot a stump near the house. This chemical can completely decompose the wood and kill it completely, as this chemical has been used for the fastest rotting process of the tree stump. However, this chemical is hazardous for pets and children, so people should make sure to apply this compound by taking proper precautions.

Bleach: Bleach is a chemical that can rot the stump at a moderate speed. However, for many trees, this chemical doesn’t work that effectively. It is not possible to know whether it will work or not, so it can be used as a trial version. This chemical is also dangerous for pets and kids, and it also kills the plant’s surroundings. Therefore, the dangers of using this chemical are outweighed its marginal benefits. Using a high concentration of bleach can rot the stump effectively. Still, simultaneously, it will increase the toxic level of chlorine in the soil and dramatically raise the soil’s pH level.     

Materials used for this process

The rotting process of tree stumps will take a long time and involve some techniques. The required materials needed for this process are mentioned below:

  • Garden mulch
  • Tarp or plastic cover
  • Drill with a large bit
  • Hand saw or chainsaw
  • Safety gloves
  • Eye Protection


The natural process of tree stump decomposition takes decades; however, the mechanical process of removing these stumps through burning and grinding is also very labor-intensive and complicated. In this context, the chemical process of rotting the tree stump requires less cost and less effort. However, it takes almost 2 to 3 years to rot a tree stump completely. From this topic, it has been concluded that Epsom salt and nitrogen-enriched fertilizer are more effective chemical agents in this rotting process. However, the Epsom salt is the best option regarding price and environment-friendliness. The periodical ways of applying these chemical agents on the tree stump will give significant results without giving much effort. Some organic processes also can be followed by an individual to make the natural decom

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