How to Kill a Tree Stump With a Plastic Bag

After removing an unwanted tree, homeowners are often faced with the dilemma of what to do with the tree stump.

Although there are many ways to grind or chop up the stump, these require costly equipment rentals and can be dangerous. Instead, you can kill the stump using herbicides and a plastic bag. The process takes a while to completely kill the stump, but it is cost effective and can be done without professional assistance.

Put on safety glasses. Using a chain saw, cut the stump as close to the ground as possible.

Insert a 1/2-inch diameter drill bit into a drill, and drill seven or eight 2-inch deep holes in the top of the stump. Space the holes as evenly as possible.

Turn on a garden hose, and water the top of the stump until all the holes are filled with water.

Pour a granular, high-nitrogen fertilizer into the holes on top of the stump until they are full. You will use more than the recommend dosage on the fertilizer bag because you are trying to kill the stump. High-nitrogen fertilizers have a high first number on the bag, such as 25-5-5.

Water the soil around the base of the stump until it is soaked.

Cover the top of the stump with a black plastic bag, and secure it by wrapping bungee cords around the stump or by placing bricks around the edges of the bag.

Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch on top of the plastic bag, and then wet the mulch until saturated.

Things You Will Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Chain saw
  • Drill
  • 1/2-inch drill bit
  • Garden hose
  • High-nitrogen fertilizer
  • Plastic bag
  • Bricks or bungee cord
  • Mulch

Tip

  • Remove the mulch and the bag every eight weeks, and if the wood still feels solid, repeat the process.

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.