How to Remove Tree Stumps With a Backhoe

Removing tree stumps with a backhoe requires some patience.

Removing tree stumps with a backhoe

Before using a backhoe, you should ask someone with backhoe experience to teach you how it works if you have not operated one before. Take your time removing the stump.

Determine whether you can position a backhoe in the space around the stump. You will need to take into account that you might have to put down the stabilizing legs. They keep the backhoe on the ground in case too much strain is being put on the bucket. Without the use of the stabilizing legs, the backhoe could potentially tip over.

Rent a backhoe from a local heavy-equipment facility. Most facilities have drivers who will drive the equipment out to you and come back to pick it up when you are done. Take a few minutes to ask the driver about the backhoe and if there is anything in particular you need to know about it.

Position the backhoe with the toothed bucket in front of the stump by pulling in front of the stump and then moving back toward the stump. The stump will be directly in front of the backhoe bucket. You can find a diagram of a backhoe arm at

Push the left stabilizer control lever and the right stabilizer control lever to extend the stabilizing legs. Push the left swing control pedal to move the backhoe arm to the left of the stump. Position the stick of the backhoe arm by using the dipper control lever. Pull the lever to bring the dipper inward and push to move it outward. Push the boom control lever to situate the arm of the backhoe so the bucket teeth are close to the ground. Move the boom and stick of the backhoe arm down so the bucket teeth go into the ground. Depending on the size of the stump, do this several times to break up the root system.

Put the bucket in the ground and use the bucket control lever to move the bucket and scoop up the earth. Dig down to the roots on one side and then on the other side, breaking up the roots as you go to dislodge the stump. Reposition the backhoe so you can dig trenches on the other two sides. Follow Step 3 to reposition the backhoe and Step 4 to dig the trenches.

Use the teeth of the bucket to rip out the stump. Lower the bucket into the ground past the stump. Grip the stump and raise the arm so that the root dislodges. Take your time ripping out the stump, especially if it is a large stump. You do not want to put too much strain on the backhoe.

Things You Will Need

  • Backhoe
  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles


  • Ask any questions you may have about the backhoe before operating it. The driver who delivers it should be able to answer them.