DIY Stump Removal

When my family moved to a log cabin in the backwoods of Tennessee, we had to clear land for a garden and chicken coop. There were also several trees that needed to be taken down, and several stumps that resisted being yanked out of the ground. I can remember my dad spending weekends with the chainsaw and particularly stubborn stumps, some of which were never completely eradicated. It was the early 1990’s, so we didn’t have internet, but if we did, I’m sure my dad would have stumbled across this brilliant, all-natural DIY stump removal idea and tried it. It would have appealed to his sense of frugality, as well as his pride in doing things himself.

If you’ve got a stump or two in your yard, you may want to avail yourself of this knowledge. With some vegetable oil, charcoal, and time, you can wear down stumps naturally. No chemicals needed, no expensive equipment to purchase or borrow, and no professionals to pay for removal. If you don’t have stumps to get rid of but need trees taken down, you will need professionals and their equipment to do the job. Please do not try to cut down trees yourself. Once the trees are down, however, you can either chop them up for firewood, give them to local woodworkers, or sell them off to people needing lumber. That will leave the stumps free and clear for you to get down to the business of clearing them out so that they don’t become hazards when mowing or playing in the yard.

To eradicate any pesky stumps from your yard, you’ll need the following materials: a drill (and a quarter-size drill bit), vegetable oil, charcoal, and a lighter (you can use long matches, a kitchen lighter, or whatever your preference is – just be sure that it’s long enough that you don’t accidentally singe yourself). You’ll need to drill several holes in the stump. Depending on the size, you may want to drill about a dozen holes into it. After that, grab the vegetable oil and start pouring. How much oil you’ll need will also depend on the size of the stump. Pour the oil into the holes, and repeat this step a few times over the next few days, until the wood is holding all the oil it can.

Once you’re sure the stump is filled to the brim with oil, you’ll want to place whatever charcoal you have available on top of the stump, and then set it all on fire. Be aware of weather conditions, and keep plenty of water handy in case of wind. Supervise the entire operation and never leave a fire that’s still burning. You may have to also repeat this step a few times, but be sure to put out the fire with water between times. The stump will gradually begin to erode and break down on its own.

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