Want to know how to remove a tree stump by hand? Is even worth trying to remove a tree stump yourself? Do the roots need to be removed also to stop regrowth? As specialist tree surgeons in Cheshire for over 40 years, there isn’t much we don’t know about tree stump removal. Felling the tree itself may have been an easy job, but the tree stump removal by hand, may be a different matter – read on below to find out more.

Alternatively visit our tree stump removal Manchester page to find out how we can help you remove those large tree stumps that are just too tricky to get out by hand, or you can call us so we can offer our honest advice.

Can you remove a tree stump by hand without a machine?

The short answer is yes, it is possible, but there are several factors you may want to first consider. Tree stump removal can be a tricky process for the amateur worker.

Your physical condition

It would be unwise to remove a tree stump by hand if your physical health wasn’t in good shape, to remove a tree stump by hand one requires some elements of strength and stamina, as the process involves repeated digging and potentially some sawing. We just couldn’t recommend learning how to remove a tree stump by hand if you are running risk of serious injury.

The size of the tree stump

It may not be a surprise to learn that a smaller tree stump will most likely be easier to remove than a larger one. Thinner roots and smaller root reach, added with the younger trunk all make for easier efforts when removing tree stumps as you don’t have to dig as wide or cut through thicker elements of the tree.


Sometimes tree stumps can be difficult to access, in a case of how to remove a tree stump by hand, one may struggle if such tree stump happens to lie in a few of the instances below:

  • Under a fence line
  • In the middle of unnerving vegetation such as nettles, or knotweed
  • Next to water 
  • Where there are multiple tree stumps that require removing, and they are all close together

Any of the above conditions will make it harder to remove a tree stump by hand. I n these instances it may be worth giving your local Cheshire tree stump removal specialists a call.

Right hand tools

To remove a tree stump by hand, it is most likely you will need a spade and a saw, to dig around the stump and also to cut through the roots. If you haven’t the right hand tools it could make the challenge of how to remove a tree stump by hand successfully rather more difficult. 

How to remove a tree stump by hand, ten easy steps

If you feel that you can safely and efficiently remove the tree stump by yourself, then please acknowledge the ways below on how to removal a tree stump by hand:

  1. Sawing

Simply by digging around the tree stump itself, and then sawing across the face of the cut trunk vertically in a criss-cross like pattern, which will cut the wood into smaller pieces so you can remove these pieces by hand.

Negatives – it is unlikely that the whole tree stump will be removed this way. Also, the work can cause serious injury or repetitive strain. Furthermore there is the potential of blunting or breaking power tools, as you can be swing into the unknown and may come across some hardcore.

  • Pulling or winching

If your tree stump is small enough, it is possible to tie a rope or chain around the tree stump, and pull it out with a winch. With this method it may be easier if you haven’t felled the tree right down to the stump, so you can obtain a better grip when tying rope to the tree.

Negatives – you may not always have a winch to hand, and you may struggle to tie to the tree stump enough so that when pulled or winched, the technique holds.

  • Digging out

Similar to the first option, if you are feeling fit and happy to dig, you can dig a large and wide area around the tree stump where all the roots are exposed. Depending on how big these rots are, it is possible to use pry bars and hand saws to cut them into smaller pieces and remove. This is more effective than the sawing the trunk method as one is more likely to remove most of the roots present.

Negatives – this can take a lot of effort and physical work, also as you have to dig quite a large surface area of land, there may be access issues, or even damage to your garden area.

  • Burning

Believe it or not, wood burns. It is possible to set your tree stump on fire several times and watch the tree stump whittle away more and more each time you set it alight. More thought out techniques with this could be to saw slices into the tree stump and burn more from the inside of the stump. This can be a fun and practical way how to remove a tree stump by hand as you can make use out of your outside fire, sitting there on summer nights for example.

Negatives – this option may be dangerous and will not remove the whole of the stump in one go, it is a patience game and the idea behind this is to turn the tree stump removal job into a practical operation. Also freshly cut trees can be wet rather than dry, and so will be harder to burn.

  • Rotting

Rotting is actually a plausible technique. By covering the stump in compost and letting it sit the tree stump will decompose overtime and become soft and flaky. It may be broken down enough to just pick it out the ground by hand. 

Negatives – this idea takes time, and it is impossible to tell if your tree stump is rotting as it should. This method is not recommended if your tree stump is causing an inconvenience.

How to remove a tree stump by hand, conclusions.

To conclude, it is possible to remove a tree stump by hand, provided that you can adhere to the conditions laid above. Failing that you may wish to look for a tree stump removal expert in Warrington or Cheshire, or your local area. It would be recommended that if you are feeling up to it, and the tree stump is of easy access and not too large, then to use one of the recommended techniques mentioned, may be a plausible solution. However, if you have a large tree stump, or the access issues may be a potential hurdle, and you do not have the time or patience to wait for your stump to decompose of burn out, you may need to get in touch.

Hassell and Sons have been offering a tree stump removal service in Knutsford, Manchester and surrounding areas of Cheshire for over 40 years. We are a local family business who offer amazing value for money, if you need a tree stump removing quick, we’ve got your back. Please reach out to us and one of our friendly team can get back in touch. 

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