Remove A Tree Stump With Epsom Salt (3 Step Process)

  • By: August Ferra
  • Date: July 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 8 min.

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Removing A Tree Stump With Epsom Salt

One way to remove a tree stump is to use Epsom salt. Here are the tools needed.

Tools required:

  • Heavy Duty Drill
  • One inch Drill bit,  7/16 diameter and 12 inches long
  • Large Bag of Epsom Salt
  • Water to Moisten the Epsom Salt
  • Tarp to cover the tree stump

Are the tree stumps in your backyard getting in the way of your garden? Are you worried about whether you can remove a tree stump with Epsom Salt? There are several ways to remove a tree stump by hiring a contractor, using fire, or drying the tree stump out using Epsom salt.

Keep reading this article to learn about all the necessary steps and the tools required to remove a tree stump. By the end of this article, you will also know how to use Epsom or Rock Salt to remove a tree stump

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Why use Epsom Salt?

When you add a good amount of Epsom Salt, it robs moisture from the trunk, and resultantly the tree dies. There are many other products available in the market that can be applied to kill a tree stump.

However, there are certain advantages or benefits of using Epsom Salt. These advantages make it a better pick than other chemicals that can be used to remove tree stumps.

Epsom Salt is a natural and inexpensive solution. It will help to kill the stump naturally. You only need to be patient as the entire process might require some time. Removing tree stumps manually is a difficult and tiring job. So, Epsom Salt is the best option if you want a low-cost, hassle-free removal of tree stumps.

It is a natural and budget-friendly ingredient that kills tree stumps. The whole process also does not demand any physical labor. It acts directly only on the tree stump and its root system and does not harm the soil in any way. The magnesium and sulfur in the Epsom Salt also improve the quality of the soil.

How long does Epsom Salt take to kill a stump?

Normally it takes around 6-8 weeks for Epsom Salt to kill a stump. The time required by Epsom Salt also depends on the size of the holes.

Large stumps need 1-2 months to die out. Woods that are brittle and dark would die out faster than light and softwood.

How to remove a tree stump with Epsom Salt?

There are two ways by which tree stumps can be killed using Epsom Salt. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you with both the processes:

First process – Drilling Method:

Tools required:

  • Power drill
  • Epsom Salt
  • Water
  • Mattock or Grub hoe
  • Fertile topsoil
  • Nitrogen fertilizer (if required)

Step by step guide of how to remove a tree stump with Epsom Salt:

  • Your first task would be to drill holes on the surface of the stump. The number of holes will depend on the size of the stump top.
  • Start drilling the holes at a distance of 3 inches from the boundary of the stump. Make sure the holes are at a gap of 3-4 inches. You can drill the holes as deep as possible, but it is recommended that you drill each hole at least up to 8 inches.
  • Start filling up the holes with Epsom Salt. Add some water to moisten the salt. This moisture will help in carrying the salt to each tree cell. As a result, the tree cells will start to dry out from inside.
  • Then, uncover the root structure as much as possible by using a mattock. You can also use a grub hoe for this purpose.
  • Next, pour the Epsom Salt on all the exposed roots. Make sure you pour a thick layer. This will not let the roots transport water and nutrients to the bottom of the tree.
  • Cover the stump using fertile topsoil. The bacteria in the topsoil will help to disintegrate the stump.
  • Large stumps may die in 1 – 2 months. So, be ready to apply the salt every 21 days. Woods that are soft and light-colored will require the extra application of the salt.
  • The dead stump will naturally decompose. If you wish to quicken the process, add nitrogen fertilizer to the holes and near the stump’s bottom

Is there any other way to remove a tree stump with Epsom Salt?

I have a solution for those of you who are not comfortable with the drilling method. Here is a step by step guide to help you with the process:

Second process – Soaking Method:

Tools required:

  • Epsom Salt
  • Water
  • Tarpaulin

Step by step guide of how to remove a tree stump with Epsom Salt:

  • Mix Epsom Salt and water in a ratio of 1:2
  • You can use one gallon of Epsom Salt with two gallons of water for each tree stump
  • Drench all the exposed roots and the stump with the salt-water mixture
  • Cover the stump using a tarpaulin
  • Repeat the process every week to see the stump drying out slowly

Is there any disadvantage of using Epsom Salt?

There is only one drawback of using Epsom Salt. After applying Epsom Salt, you might face trouble if you try to grow something in the stump area’s surrounding soil. In that case, consider mulching the area and apply a good compost such as tea.

Which is the best time to remove a tree stump?

Generally, it is better to kill tree stumps during the summer season. If you want to kill it during monsoons, you need to keep certain things in mind. These are:

Cover the holes by placing a tarp on top of it. Apply Epsom Salt on the exposed roots. By this, you will be able to prevent it from acquiring moisture from the soil.

Which is the best time to remove a tree stump?

Generally, it is better to kill tree stumps during the summer season. If you want to kill it during monsoons, you need to keep certain things in mind. These are:

Cover the holes by placing a tarp on top of it. Apply Epsom Salt on the exposed roots. By this, you will be able to prevent it from acquiring moisture from the soil.


Tools required:

  • Ax
  • Grinder
  • Eye protection
  • Earplugs
  • Gloves


  • Cut the stump just a few inches higher from the ground
  • Level the stump surface so that the grinder can operate smoothly
  • Place the grinder and move it along the stump surface
  • Continue grinding until the entire stump has been ground up
  • Use an ax to clear any remaining roots


Tools required:

  • Shovel
  • Loppers/Root Saw
  • Grub hoe


  • Use a shovel and dig the area surrounding the base of the stump
  • Continue digging until all the large roots have been exposed
  • Cut the roots into pieces using loppers or a root saw
  • Wrench the embedded roots using a grub hoe
  • Now, it will be easy for you to dislodge the stump if required
  • Dig underneath the stump with a shovel
  • Finally, fill up the hole

Using Epsom or Rock Salt:

It is an easy and cheap method to kill stumps only if you are willing to wait patiently. If you are in a hurry, then this might not be your best bet.

Tools required:

  • Power drill
  • Epsom Salt or Rock Salt
  • Tarpaulin


  • Drill into the stump and make some holes, spaced about one inch apart
  • Pour Epsom or Rock Salt into them and cover it with a tarpaulin to prevent it from being exposed to sunlight or rain
  • Repeat the process every one-two weeks
  • Within 6-8 weeks you will see the stump dying


Tools required:

  • Tarpaulin or any other non-porous item
  • Woody brush killer


  • Cover the stump with a non-porous item and protect it from both sunlight and rain. These are a plant’s necessities. So, without them, the stump will die eventually
  • You will have to wait for at least 3-6 months for the stump to die
  • If you notice any sapling germinating from the trunk base, use a woody brush killer containing triclopyr to paint them

How do you kill a tree stump with Rock Salt?

Rock Salt is mostly used for melting ice and clearing roads or walkaways. The sodium chloride present in the RockSalt forces the soil to hold its moisture.

In this way, the tree roots cannot absorb the required water from the soil. Thus, they dry out and eventually die.

Rock Salt will require more time than chemical herbicide. It is still used as an effective way to kill a tree stump. It kills the tree roots by absorbing the moisture out of them.

Tools required:

Power Drill (with a drill bit of 1 inch or longer) or ax

  • Rock Salt
  • Water or wax
  • Fertile topsoil
  • Mulch
  • Tarpaulin or non-porous covering


  • You need to drill several holes into the surface of the tree trunk. These drills should have a depth of 8 inches and a width of at least 1 inch. The holes should be large enough so that it can be covered with salt.
  • Since Rock Salt is available in big chunks, consider drilling bigger holes into the tree stump. If you do not have a drill, you can also use an ax. Chop the stump and make deep gouges. If the stump has aerial roots, drill those as well.
  • Fill up all of the holes with Rock Salt. Pour water into the holes slowly so that their tops are filled. You can also light a candle and drop wax to plug them properly.
  • Apply a good amount of Rock Salt on the base of the stump. Continue watering until all the crystals dissolve properly. Avoid putting salt into the vegetation that you do not want to kill.
  • Remember not to overfill or spillover. Plug the holes carefully so that the solution sticks to the stump only
  • Cover the entire stump with fertile topsoil. Further, use a mulch to cover the soil. Use a tarpaulin or any other non-porous item to cover the stump.
  • The salt will gradually dissolve and get absorbed by the roots. Fungi and other organisms will start growing too. They will also lead to stump decomposition.
  • Keep a check on the stump and roots. Add water or soil if needed for faster decomposition. Cut off any new growth and repeat the process till the stump eventually dries out.
  • Check the stump from time to time, and in a few months, you will see that the stump has died. Once the stump is dead, it will start falling apart

Removing a tree stump involves a tiring process. Simply cutting down or chopping the tree does not help in removing the stump entirely. The ideal time for killing tree stumps is from late May to mid-August.

During this phase, their growth rate declines, and they start entering their winter dormancy. Using Epsom Salt is an easy and low-cost option to remove a tree stump.

It is also environmental-friendly. Also, remember not to use table salt to remove a tree stump. It might prove to be harmful to the surrounding area of the stump. Use 100% Epsom or Rock Salt.

There is no need to add any ingredients to the salt. So, bring out your gardening gloves and boots and follow this article to get rid of the tree stumps and maintain a healthy garden.

A Quick Video On How To Remove A Tree Stump With Epsom Salt