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How to Kill Tree Stumps with Salt

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Even if you remove a tree, the stump can continue to grow because the roots still live below the ground. Though you could kill a tree stump with chemicals, handling the substances requires experience and following safety measures. A safer and faster way to kill a tree stump that is flat to the ground is with rock salt or Epsom salt. Here are some tips to kill a tree stump with salt.

Cut the Stump  

You will need a power drill with one-inch drill bit, a saw, safety goggles, gloves, soil, mulch, tarp or plastic, a watering can, and 100% rock salt or 100 % Epsom salt for this project. Trim the stump as close to the ground as possible to help the salt soak through to the roots and to prevent trips and falls from left-over stump materials.

Drill Holes

Drill as many deep, one-inch diameter holes spaced an inch apart near the top of the tree stump as possible and drill more holes spaced several inches apart around the stump. The holes help the salt spread to the roots faster. Make certain the holes are deep enough to be filled with salt and are all the same size. If you don't have the right size drill bit, make many deep cuts on the stump with an axe.

Fill the Holes with Salt

Fill the holes with rock salt or Epsom salt and scatter some around the stump if you don't plan to save the grass in that area. Spread enough soil to cover the holes and stump and top with mulch. Water the soil and mulch until all the salt crystals dissolve and add an additional layer of salt.

Water the area each two or three days over the next several weeks to hasten salt absorption by the roots and promote fungi growth to speed rotting. Cover the holes in between watering sessions with tarp or plastic to keep rain and sunlight from getting in the area, which will only nourish roots. Check the stump occasionally and water the soil again when needed.

Be aware that small sink holes may form as roots decompose, which could cause tripping hazards. Refill these holes with soil. After the stump has rotted, you can dig it from the ground with a shovel or hoe.

Though it takes longer, salt is a natural way to kill tree stumps and roots without the dangers of other methods. The roots of certain tree varieties may take longer to rot. If you want to get rid of the stump faster, a tree stump removal service is the best option.