The Best Tree Stump Killers to Reclaim Your Backyard - Backyard Boss
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The Best Tree Stump Killers to Reclaim Your Backyard

Are you tired of looking at continuously sprouting tree stumps in your yard? Not only can they be an eyesore, but they also take up space and resources. If you can’t put the stump to good use, it’s time to get rid of it.

Most tree stump killer products take four to eight weeks to rot, so keep that in mind if you have other plans for your backyard. With hands-on testing at Backyard Boss, we have made your job easier by selecting the five best stump killers on the market.

Backyard Boss Top 5 Tree Stump Killers for 2021

VPG Fertilome Brush Stump Killer - The Best Tree Stump Killers to Reclaim Your BackyardVPG Fertilome Brush Stump Killer
  • Kills stumps after 4-6 weeks
  • Big 32-ounce bottle
  • Apply easy with paint brush
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Epsoak Epsom Salts - The Best Tree Stump Killers to Reclaim Your BackyardEpsoak Epsom Salts
  • Stump rots in 4-8 weeks
  • No toxic chemicals
  • Big 19 pound bag
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Bonide Stump and Vine Killer - The Best Tree Stump Killers to Reclaim Your BackyardBonide Stump and Vine Killer
  • Destroys tree roots
  • Kills stumps in 4-6 weeks
  • Doesn't harm other plants
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Spectracide Stump Remover - The Best Tree Stump Killers to Reclaim Your BackyardSpectracide Stump Remover
  • 6-8 weeks to rot stumps
  • Money back guarantee
  • Amazon's choice
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Killer Spikez Solid Copper Nails - The Best Tree Stump Killers to Reclaim Your BackyardKiller Spikez Solid Copper Nails
  • Economical pack of 10 nails
  • No harmful chemicals
  • Extra long spikes
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Why You Can Trust Us

We are the experts with anything backyard-related and we have hands-on experience with removing tree stumps. I recently removed three tree stumps from my front and backyard and I know what works and what doesn’t. Based on personal experience when choosing a stump killer product, the less mixing the better as some products are stated in metrics different to your home country and your conversions could be wrong.

When adding or mixing toxic chemicals it’s important you wear a mask, gloves, and safety goggles. A majority of products require you to drill holes into the stump before pouring chemicals and it’s best to use either a half inch or one inch drill bit attached to a power drill. After the stump rots, it’s time to create your dream garden.

Best Stump Killer for Small and Big Trees

VPG Fertilome Brush Stump Killer
    This product is the complete go-to for removing small and large stumps. One application is all that it takes.



Why We Like It: I helped my neighbor with a large stump and he gave me the remainder of the big economical bottle. After five weeks, his stump turned black. I used the product on a ponytail palm stump in my front yard and it took four weeks to rot. I found it really easy to brush on a coat from the fresh-cut surface.

Who Should Buy It: People who want a product that destroys small and large stumps, including vines, poison ivy, and unwanted woody plants. This is suitable for people with large gardens.

Best Natural Stump Killer

Epsoak Epsom Salts
    This product is one of the safest and natural stump killers so forget about mixing and applying toxic chemicals.



Why We Like It: My father used Epsom salts on a big old oak tree and he said it took about six weeks for the stump to disintegrate. The leftover salts were used by my mother to have a bath after a day of gardening. Perfect for tired and sore muscles!

For people who don’t want to drill holes into the stump, simply mix Epsom salts with one to two ratio of water, pour the liquid over the stumps and exposed roots. Cover the stump and roots with a tarp and then repeat the same process each week until the stump is dried out. When drilling holes into the stump followed by pouring salts and water into the holes, cover it with a tarp and repeat the same process every three weeks.

Who Should Buy It: People who want to stay away from commercial stump removal products made from potassium nitrate and glyphosate (potential cancer-causing agent).

Best Multi-Purpose Vine and Tree Stump Remover

Bonide Stump and Vine Killer
    This product is great for destroying stumps and vines. It doesn't kill nearby plants, it's easy to use and keeps stumps from re-sprouting.



Why We Like It: It’s very easy to use. Simply brush to apply. My infected Jacaranda tree stump rotted away after six weeks, which was great timing for my mulch delivery.

Who Should Buy It: People who want a strong two-in-one product that also kills tree roots.

Best Stump Remover for Warm Regions

Spectracide Stump Remover
    Many customers have been very positive about this product as most said it took about six to eight weeks to smolder the stump to ashes. Out of all stump killers mentioned in this article, Spectracide is the only one that provides a money-back guarantee.



Why We Like It: A majority of customers found that the product did its job. One customer even said you see “results in one day,” another said “it worked really well” and a third reviewer said a “huge stump in the backyard is almost gone.”

Who Should Buy It: People who live in warm and dry areas as the product works best when the stumps are dry and it’s spring or summer weather.

Best Sustainable Stump Killer

Killer Spikez Solid Copper Nails
    This golden oldie used by our great grandfather is still effective, but it can take from one to 12 months to work. Copper nails are also known to be used by property owners with a partial scenic view, but it's blocked by trees, and council or strata won't remove or trim them.



Why We Like It: There are no strong chemicals used like potassium nitrate or glyphosate. Copper nails are pretty safe to use around children and pets, provided they’re drilled into stump nice and tight. These Killer Spikez nails are Amazon’s top choice for copper spikes for killing trees.

Who Should Buy It People who don’t want to use chemicals and prefer to kill the stump organically. The product is known to take a lot longer than other stump removal solutions, therefore this would appeal to consumers who have a bit of time up their sleeve. It’s also great for people who have a wood chipper as the leftover stump can be turned into mulch. Just remember to take out the copper nails so you don’t damage your wood chipper.

What to Look for When Buying a Tree Stump Killer

Someone applying Spetracide, one of the best tree stump killers in our list, to a tree stump.
Spectracide via Amazon

There’s a lot of things to consider when buying a decent stump killer. During our evaluation of each product, we asked the following questions below and you should be doing the same.

How Long Does It Take for the Stump to Rot?

After applying a tree stump killer product, most tree stumps will rot anywhere from three weeks to two months. Copper nails can take up to 12 months. It can also depend on the weather, the type of tree, and how strong the chemicals are in the product. It’s best to read the online reviews from other customers and work out an average of how long it takes to rot.

Are There any DIY Tasks Like Drilling Into the Stump Required Beforehand?

Yes, a majority of stump killers require you to drill four holes into the stump, pour in the chemicals, add water and then play the waiting game.

Are Tree Stump Killers Safe to Use?

After applying the stump killer product, it’s best to keep kids and pets inside for at least 24-48 hours in warm weather. During autumn and winter, allow three to four days. Even if the product says it’s safe around the little ones and furry friends, the chemicals and water poured into the tree stump still need to dry.

If you use a product with potassium nitrate, this chemical is poisonous and it’s best to wear safety glasses, a respirator mask, and gloves while using to prevent inhalation or contact with skin and eyes.

Can I Use the Rotted Stump as Firewood?

No, you shouldn’t use the rotted stump as firewood as the chemicals in the stump killer may cause breathing difficulties and other serious side effects. Products like Spectracide will leave dangerous chemicals in the stump, but you can find out the many other types of firewood that can be used. Whilst on the subject of firewood, here’s a simple guide to follow on how to season firewood.

How We Picked

At Backyard Boss, we evaluated the best tree stump killers on the market based on the time it takes to apply the product, including tasks like drilling into the tree stump and how long it takes for the tree stump to rot. This was based on personal experience and user reviews.

On average, most people will only have three or four tree stumps to kill in their yard and a product that kills 30 stumps is not really necessary. However, some of these two-in-one products also kill weeds and vines and you definitely get value for money.

Your Tree Stump Woes Solved

Based on user reviews and our personal experience removing tree stumps, the clear winner of this buyer’s guide is VPG Fertilome Brush Stump Killer. This product is ahead of the rest due to taking only four to six weeks for a stump to rot. It comes in a big 32-ounce economical bottle, and it’s easy to apply with a paintbrush.

After providing you with the best tree stump killers on the market, we hope you’re one step closer to creating your perfect garden.