Burning a Tree Stump

Is Burning a Tree Stump Safe? – Should You Burn Out a Tree Stump?

When many people think of cutting down the tree in their backyard, they think of how to get rid of the tree trunk, but they always forget that a tree has roots and that a stump will be left afterwards, and the truth is that these stumps are very difficult to get rid of.

Stump removal is an uphill task that takes a lot of time, energy and money, and that is why many people leave the stumps while others put them into other productive uses.

There are many ways of taking care of that stump in your backyard, and burning the stump is one of them. 

Many people frown at this option because they believe it is not safe. But the reality is that burning your tree stump is safe if you imbibe some safety precaution. Read the article to the end, and we will show you how to get rid of the tree stumps in your backyard.

Recommended: Best Guide to Keep a Tree Stump for Indoor and Outdoor Use

Should You Burn out a Tree Stump?

Tree stumps are not easy to remove; many of the methods used can take quite a long to achieve just a small result. 

This is even more so if you have old trees whose roots have gone so deep that it is almost impossible to remove them mechanically.

So yes, you can burn a tree stump, but you must do that as safely as possible, and you must be ready to do the clean up afterwards.

However, burning your stump has two major snags: monitoring the fire, so it doesn’t go out of control and ensuring that the stump is dry before you attempt to burn it.

Asides from these two issues, burning your stump is the best option because it is relatively less expensive, very effective and does not require a lot of physical exertion. The chances of the stump ever regenerating is very slim.

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Is Burning a Tree Stump Safe?

Burning a Tree Stump

Burning a tree stump is safe, just as cooking with a y kind of fire is safe, but it is only safe if you abide by certain precautions.

There are, however, certain issues you have to deal with, including:

1. You have to give enough time for the stump to dry so that the natural moisture in the wood will be completely vaporised because a green stump will not burn properly; it will only produce smoke.

2. you cannot burn woods during very hot or dry seasons or the rain. You must burn them at a time when too much rain will not keep the stump from burning and when the dry, hot weather does not result in an uncontrollable fire.

3. Remember that you might need to burn the stump more than once for it to be completely burnt because it might take some days for the fire to break down the stumps, especially if they are very large.

4. Smoke isn’t pleasant, and if you have close neighbours, the smoke irritates them, so you have to deal with that issue too.

Why is Stump Removal Important?

After going through the trouble to have a tree removed, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to leave the stump sitting there. 

A few of the top reasons to remove stumps from your yard include:

If you want a backyard that is free of any obstacles, then there is no need to leave a tree stump there, so you need to get rid of it. Tree stumps are not exactly a problem, but they have the following downsides:

1. Many people view a tree stump as an unsightly nuisance in their space, especially if weeds and other pests now take over these stumps.

2. Stumps, especially big ones, can take up quite a bit of space, if for instance, if you fell the tree on your house to fix a playset in the spot, that stump will take up some valuable space that you need.

3. They can also get in the way of your gardening and other activities in your backyard, like doing your lawn. Many mowers have been damaged in mowing the lawn when it hits a stump that you have forgotten is there, especially if grasses and other plants camouflage them.

4. They can attract pests and diseases to your backyard or garden, especially if they are rotting.

Why is it Bad to Bury Stumps?

Because of how daunting it is to remove stumps, some people resort to burying the stump in their backyard and covering them up with sand or dirt.

This is a big mistake because buried stumps have shown to be responsible for subsidence when a structure like a house gradually sinks downwards onto the ground. Hence burying your tree stump is risky.

Buried stumps will continue to rot, and as they do, they will cause sinkholes to be formed in the ground where they are buried; these sinkholes can catch people unaware and hurt them.

Buried tree stumps get easily invaded by termites, especially as they are shielded from the sun’s rays, which could have helped stop the rot. Still, since these stumps are buried, insects can easily take over them, especially termites.

Related Article: How to Preserve a Tree Stump

How Long Does it Take to Burn a Stump With Charcoal?

It will take a tree stump anything from 6 to 48 hours to burn completely. The specific time for each stump to bun completely depends on:

1. The stump’s size: the bigger the stump you want to burn, the more time it will take. Trees less than 12 inches in diameter can be fully burnt in 6 to 12 hours, while larger than 24 inches could take up to 48 hours to burn completely.

2. The condition of the soil and weather: in dry weather conditions, the soil is dry too, and this will make the burning process speed up, unlike in the rain when the soil is still wet or even waterlogged, and this will cause the stump to take more time to dry and burn.

3. The stump of a tree that was cut months back will burn faster than one cut recently because the latter is still alive and has more moisture that can impede the burning process.

4. Type of wood: hardwoods tend to burn more slowly, which is why they are used for cooking. Hence, if the tree stump is hardwood, it will take a lot longer to burn than softwood.

How do You Burn out a Stump with Charcoal?

To burn out a sum with charcoal, you must ensure that it is safe and legal to do so because any form of fire poses a risk, and so you must be sure you are on the good side of the law. To burn a stump with charcoal, do the following:

1. Dig around the tree stump area so that all the trunk and roots are exposed.

2. Use a drill to make holes 12 inches deep into all the exposed parts of the stump, from the top to the sides and even the exposed roots. If you drill this hole properly, the holes at the top will intersect with those at the bottom.

3. Fill the hole you just drilled with vegetable oil and then pile charcoal all around the stump from the top to the sides of the trunk.

4. Use a match or lighter to light the stump, and then let the stump burn.

You must never leave this fire unattended, and you should keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of the fire gets out of control.

What is the Best Way to Burn out a Stump?

To burn out a tree stump safely, you need the following materials:

  • Saltpeter or Potassium nitrate: this is the catalyst for the burn.
  • Drill: this you will use to make holes in the stump
  • Funnel,
  • Gardening trowel
  • Shovel
  • Matches
  • Hot water


1. Real as many holes as possible all around the tree stump. You should make the holes to be at least 8 inches deep.

2. They pour saltpeter or Potassium nitrate into the holes using a gardening trowel.

3. Then, fill each of the holes with hot water using a funnel; the hot water will dissolve the potassium nitrate or saltpeter, which will dissolve completely into the tree stump. This will make the tree stump very flammable.

4. Build a small fire on top of the stump using kindling or tinder. Allow the stump to smother and burn, and eventually, it will be completely burnt to Ashes and charcoal.

What is the Safest way to Get Rid of a Tree Stump?

Burning a Tree Stump

Because of the risk of fire disaster associated with burning tree stumps or even using charcoal to burn out those stumps, mechanically removing these stumps involves a lot of streets and hard work. That is why many people resort to using chemicals to remove the stumps in their backyard.

To remove a tree stump using chemicals, you need the following materials:

  • Drill
  • Chain saw
  • Axe
  • Potassium nitrate


1. Use a chainsaw to cut off as much of the stump you can use so that you reduce the time it will take to remove the stump chemically.

2. Drill as many holes as possible all around the tree stump. The more holes, the faster the process. The deeper the holes, the better too.

3. Drill more holes to the sides of the stump at an angle of 45° so that they are interested in other holes.

4. Fill the holes with lots of potassium nitrate and then pour in some water

5. Leave the stump like that for about six weeks, and after that time, you will notice that the stump is now spongy

6. Break up the now-spongy stump with an axe or even burn what is left of the stump

Do it Yourself Stump Removal

You can do a DIY stump removal by hand, which is quite tedious, yet the result is very rewarding. However, this method can only be used for small and very old trees whose roots are not so deep.

The Materials you will need

  • Chainsaw
  • Pick mattock
  • Digging bar
  • Shovel
  • Axe
  • Chain
  • Four-wheel drive truck


1. Remove any lower branches from the trunk of the stump using a chainsaw

2. Remove most of the part of the trunk, but not only as you will need the leverage of the tree trunk later.

3. Dig around the stump area with a shovel, digging bar and pick mattock so that most of the stump’s root can be revealed.

4. You can reveal more roots by rinsing the dirt from the stump with the help of a power washer or a hose washer.

5. Then, use an axe to cut the main roots of the stump. Cut as much of the roots as you can so that the stump can be uprooted easily.

6. Keep pushing and pulling the trunk so that the stump gets completely uprooted.

7. If the stump is still not bulging, then wrap the chain around it and then have it connected to a 4-wheel-drive pickup truck. If you drive the truck, the stump will be uprooted.

Conclusion: Is Burning a Tree Stump Safe?

You have seen that there is more than one way of taking care of that stump in your backyard.  You can employ any of them to rid yourself of the nuisance the tree stump on your space is constituting. And yes, you can Hurn the stump if you so wish; it is indeed safe to do so.

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We trust this article helped you know if burning a tree stump is safe. You may also want to check out the Best Guide to Keep a Tree Stump for Indoor and Outdoor Use.

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