How to Remove a Cedar Stump

Tree stumps in your yard are an unsightly nuisance. The age of the tree when it died will affect the difficulty of removal. A younger tree will have a smaller root structure, and will not penetrate the earth as deeply as an older tree. A stump grinder should be used to remove large stumps, and in some cases, the stump may be too large for the stump grinder. In extreme cases, a backhoe must be employed to remove it.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel(s)

  • Axe

  • Chainsaw

  • Stump grinder (for large stumps)

  • Backhoe (for large stumps)

  • Loam

Dig it Out

Step 1

Dig around the stump with the shovel, working to get the root ball out of the ground.

Step 2

Cut away the main roots with a chainsaw. Use the axe to hack through the thinner roots that anchor the cedar. Pull the roots out of the ground and dispose of them in a compost heap.

Step 3

Continue to dig around the stump, working it up from underneath the root ball. Cut and remove pieces of roots until the stump and root ball are light enough to be lifted out of the ground. Dispose of the stump by burying it.

Removing Large Cedar Stumps

Step 1

Use a stump grinder to grind the large stumps 6 to 12 inches below the surface of your lawn. Dispose of the wood chips in a compost heap.

Step 2

Rent a backhoe to remove stumps that are too big for grinding with a stump grinder. Renting a backhoe is expensive but may be economical if removing multiple stumps.

Step 3

Fill the craters with loam to hasten plant growth. Topsoil may be used to fill the hole as well, especially if you plan to let your lawn reclaim the space.

Burning or Rotting the Stump

Step 1

Gather firewood and start a fire atop the cedar stump. Keep the fire going until most of the stump has burned. Wait for the coals to cool. Remove any leftover roots with an axe and dispose of them in a compost heap.

Step 2

Purchase a chemical solution that aides in the decay of wood. This can be found at the garden center of your local market. Drill holes in the stump and pour the chemical over it. It may take up to six months for the stump to decay. When the stump has decayed, remove it with an axe and chainsaw. Compost the wood only if the chemical agent you purchased is eco-friendly.

Step 3

Fill the holes left by the stumps with loam. Wait for the soil to settle before planting anything in the ground once occupied by the stump.


Save the pieces of cedar that you remove form the ground. Cut them into small pieces with an axe and allow them to dry. Use them as firewood for your next barbecue to add a savory flavor to your meat.

References & Resources