Skip to content

Can You Burn A Tree Stump?

After removing a tree, you are left with a stump that often turns out to be a problem. In addition to the stump being an eyesore, it’s also a serious hazard in your yard or garden, so you have to get rid of it as soon as possible.

If you have the budget, it’s wise you hire stump removal experts to grind the stump or pull it out with machines.

But, if you don’t have the funds, you should try removing the stump by yourself and one of the best ways of doing it is by burning the stump down, so if you are one of the people asking, can you burn a tree stump? Yes, you can definitely burn a tree stump.

As you are burning the tree stump, you should note that an open flame is a constant fire hazard, so you should be ultra-cautious when doing it.

As a rule of thumb, ensure the stump you are looking to burn isn’t too close to the house as you risk burning down the house.

How to burn out a tree stump

To burn the stump, you need to follow three steps:

  • Prepare the stump for burning
  • Ignite the stump and keep the fire going
  • Remove the burned stump

Preparing the stump for burning

Tree stump burning isn’t as simple as striking a match and placing it on the stump—you need to prepare it adequately for it to be consumable.

Begin with clearing away any flammable materials from around the stump that might be a fire hazard. Get rid of wooden structures and other materials that might pose any danger.

Also, using a rake, clear away any dried leaves or small sticks on the surrounding ground.

It’s also wise you dig down around the stump with a shovel or any other sensible gardening tool and expose as much stump as possible.

You should then use a chainsaw and get the stump as close to the ground as much as possible.

Once you are comfortable with the size of the stump, drill 12 mm holes all over the top of the stump, around the base, and into the roots.

When doing it, push the drill as deep as it can go. To increase airflow, do your best to connect the lateral holes with the vertical ones.

Once you are done, soak the holes with kerosene or diesel. For best results, pour kerosene or your preferred liquid into the holes and keep topping them up for at least two days.

By doing this, the kerosene will penetrate as deep as possible, so you have an easy time burning the stump.

To many people, gasoline sounds like an excellent choice for burning the stump, but you should avoid using it as it’s too flammable and burns extremely hot, making it hard to control. To be on the safe side, avoid using it.

Ignite the stump and keep the fire going

With the stump doused in kerosene, construct a teepee-like shape over the stump using scrap wood then use a match of kindling to light the scrap wood from the bottom.

To keep the fire going, add more wood. Depending on the size and type of stump, it will take several hours or even days for the stump to burn out completely.

You can also surround the stump with charcoal then put firewood on top. Charcoal has small particles that can fit under the stump, helping the fire reach down below the stump.

As the stump smolders, keep a close eye on it to ensure the fire is under control and doesn’t need to be rekindled.

If you see signs of the fire getting out of control or threatening to spread to the surrounding areas, put it out fast with water or dirt.

For peace of mind, always have a fire extinguisher or hose nearby, so you put out the fire as soon as it starts to get out of control.

Removing the burned stump

Once you have burned the entire stump, you should use a shovel to break up any large pieces of root or stump that might still be in the holes.

If the roots are large and difficult to remove, chop them with an axe, so you have an easy time removing them.

You should remove the burned pieces and place them in a fire-safe container or bucket. Don’t make the mistake of placing the pieces on the grass surrounding the stump as they can cause fire as they are still smoldering.

You also should be cautious when handling them as they can burn you as they are still smoldering. To be safe, use protective gloves.

After removing all the debris, fill the hole left by the stump with fresh soil. It’s also wise to plant turf seed that will cause the grass to grow in the exposed soil patch.

Word of caution: Before you put on the fire, check the local regulations for lighting fires, and confirm you are allowed to build fires outside. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of the law, do you?

It’s also wise to check the weather forecast and confirm it’s not going to rain for a few days. This way, you won’t have to keep on reigniting the stump after it has been rained on.

Over to you

You can burn the stump if you don’t have money to hire a professional to grind it down, but when burning it, ensure you follow the right procedure:

  • Properly prepare the stump for burning
  • Ignite the stump and keep the fire going
  • Remove the burned stump

On my 15th birthday, I became the designated gardener in my home.

Now at 32, I have a small garden and every day I'm out trying different plants and seeing how they grow. I grow guavas, peaches, onions, and many others. Want to know more about me? Read it here.

Back To Top