How to Kill Cedar Stumps


Cedar roots are resilient and invasive. Due to the cedar's expansive root system, chopping the tree down won't kill it. The roots have to be killed too. Pulling the stump out with your car may not be feasible if you don't have a loop or hitch that's built for towing another large vehicle. Drilling vertical holes in the stump and filling them with kerosene, salt or bleach can kill it, but that takes time. Meanwhile the roots continue to leach water from other plants. Removing the stump with a jackscrew is the fastest, most reliable way.

Things You'll Need

  • Screw jack
  • Turning rod
  • Hatchet
  • Purchase a jackscrew (a.k.a. screw jack) at a hardware store. The Resources section lists a few online sources. You may have to purchase a turning bar separately.

  • Dig under the stump just enough so that you can fit the not-yet-extended screw jack underneath the edge of the stump. Don't dig too much. Screw jacks have a limited extension; you don't want to use it all up before the jack comes into contact with the stump.

  • Insert the screw jack under the stump and extend it manually until it makes snug contact with the underside of the stump. Insert the turning bar and crank it until you've lifted the stump as much as possible. Along the way, cut roots with a hatchet to help release the stump.

  • Dig under another part of the stump and repeat the jacking-up process on a different part of the stump's underside.

  • Apply the jack up to four times or more, and keep cutting roots, until the stump is free.

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