How To Burn A Tree Stump Out

If you decide to remove stumps completely then keep reading, as I will be providing information on how to burn a tree stump and roots.

After cutting your tree down, you’ll be left with a less-than-attractive stump in your yard.

There are different ways to get rid of the stump, including stump grinding, and burning.

Ways To Burn A Stump Down Completely

Follow these steps –

  • Check the weather forecast

You can’t light an outdoor fire if the weather conditions are not right, so the first thing you need to do is check the forecast.

Lighting outdoor fires are usually prohibited during the summer, but this depends on the area where you live.

Late October is a great time to do this, although there are other favorable months.

If the forecast predicts clear, dry weather for at least 4 days, then you’re good to go.

  • Dig around the stump

The second thing you need to do is to get a strong, sturdy shovel and dig around the stump. Make sure you open up spaces around the stump as much as you can.

If possible, try and dig under the stump, down to the point where you have sighted the roots.

  • Drill a few holes

Get a power drill and make some holes at the top of the stump. Also drill around the base of the stump, as well as the roots.

The holes should be about 12mm deep.

  • Soak with kerosene

Pour some kerosene into the holes and leave them to soak. Come back the following day and repeat the process. The goal here is to get the inner parts of the stump as soaked as possible.

Remember that trees have moisture, and the stump will retain some moisture even as the tree itself has been cut. This is why you need the kerosene to penetrate as deeply as possible.

  • Light the stump

Now, this is where all your preparations will manifest. Get some charcoal (about 25 to 30 kilos of it), spread it around the tree stump, place some firewood on it, then light it up using matches or a lighter.

I advise you to use matches, as you can strike the match and drop the flame on the heap. A lighter will require that you make close contact with the kerosene-dipped wood, and you may burn your fingertips in the process.

Charcoal is a great stump removal option since it can be broken into small bits and stuffed in those tiny spaces around the stump.

  • Control the fire

Fire is a very destructive element, so you wouldn’t want it burning out of control.

As the stump burns, you have to continuously watch it. Do not make the mistake of leaving a burning stump unattended to.

As a precautionary measure, you can dampen the surrounding areas of the stump using a hose and water. This will prevent underground fires.

  • Wait for some time

The stump isn’t going to burn out in a day, so you have to give it some time. You can achieve a 30 to 40% success on the first day.

Remember I mentioned that trees retain moisture, so the first burning session will dry the stump up as much as possible. Be patient.

  • Drill more holes

After the first day of burning, you can look around the stump and search for spaces that can still be drilled. Drill a few more 12mm holes in as many spaces as you can find.

  • Add more kerosene

Pour more kerosene into the holes you have drilled and let it soak for a few hours.

You don’t have to wait a whole day like the first time since some of the kerosene you added the first time will still be present. Also, the stump would have lost a lot of moisture so it will be easier for the kerosene to penetrate.

  • Light it again

Proceed to light up the stump the second time and let it burn. Remember to use a match stick, as it allows you to have some distance away from the soaked stump

Watch it burn and remember to control the fire by dampening the surrounding areas of the stump.

After a few hours, the stump would have burnt out. Mission accomplished!

  • Cost of burning stump

The expenses you will incur burning the stump is actually on the low side. You may spend up to $50 on kerosene and charcoal, but it’s an investment that’s worth it.


Before you burn your stump, be sure to check your state or county’s regulations regarding lighting fires.

Also, you must inform your neighbors about your intention to burn your stump and make sure they are okay with it before you proceed.

How To Burn A Tree Stump With Diesel

If you do not have kerosene, or wouldn’t like to use it, then diesel is another liquid that can get the job done.

Is it Safe to Burn With Diesel?

Diesel is an inflammable fuel that produces long-lasting flames. For this reason, you may wonder how safe it is to burn a tree stump using diesel.

Diesel is made up of sulfur and other hazardous materials. However, the diesel sold in America is safe to use. This is all thanks to America’s emission laws that regulate the quality of diesel being produced.

Still, be sure to consult with your local fire department and be updated on outdoor burning regulations before you burn your stump.

Follow these steps if you want to burn your stump with diesel.

  • Cut the stump as low as you can

You will need a chainsaw for this. Trim the stump to the lowest possible height to make burning faster. The less wood you have to burn, the less flame will be produced.

  • Dig around the stump

Use a shovel and dig up some spaces around the stump, as this will expose the buried parts of it.

If you have the strength, you can dig as deep as the connecting part of the root.

  • Drill some holes

Similar to burning with kerosene, you will need to drill as many holes as you can at the top of the stump, and the sides.

The holes should go about 12mm deep.

  • Use accelerants

Potassium nitrate is a good chemical accelerant, get some and pour it in the holes. Also, get some boiling water and add to it, as this will help dissolve the accelerant.

  • Give it time

Leave the accelerant to work for about two weeks. At the end of this period, the stump would have been properly soaked and softened.

This will make the burning process a lot faster.

  • Pour the diesel

Now you can pour the diesel into the holes and leave it to soak into the stump. You will need to be patient, as this will take as long as a week.

  • Prepare for containment

You will need to control the flames. Remember I mentioned that diesel produces long-lasting flames, and you wouldn’t want them spreading beyond the stump.

You can gather up some rocks too and build a makeshift fence around the stump. The fire will not spread beyond your rocky fence.

As an additional precaution, get a hose and sprinkle lots of water around the stump, as the moisture won’t let the flames go beyond the marked out region. This will also prevent underground fires.

Also, do yourself a favor by clearing out any debris that may be combustible.

  • Light it up

Get a box of matches and light up the stump.

Remember to be present as it burns, just in case the flames start getting out of hand.

It will take several days for the stump to be fully burnt. So you have to exercise some more patience.

  • Consideration

Don’t forget to inform your neighbors about your plans to burn your stump. They have to be prepared for several days of smoke.

Burning With Kerosene Vs Burning With Diesel

If you are looking to get the job done in a matter of days, then burning with kerosene is your best option, as it will only take you about four days to complete. Burning with diesel will take weeks, so you have to exercise some patience.

Burning with diesel has an advantage though. It produces less smoke than kerosene.

Consider your options carefully before you start, also find out which suits your neighbors better.

Protective Gear For Burning Stump

As you prepare to burn your stump, you should consider protecting yourself, as fires can be dangerous.

Here are a few things you will need –

Rubber gloves – They will protect your hands from kerosene and diesel splatters.

Face mask – This will protect you from inhaling smoke and fumes

Goggles – This will also protect your eyes from smoke and fumes

Fire extinguisher This will be useful in a case where the fire gets out of control. It can also save you if you accidentally get caught on fire.

Your cellphone – If things go south, then you can quickly call the fire department for immediate help.


I trust this article on how to burn a tree stump has been helpful. Be safe!

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