How To Remove A Stump With A Chainsaw: A Step-By-Step Guide

Do you have a stump that’s an eyesore in your yard? Have you tried all of the traditional removal methods, but they haven’t worked?

A stump can be tricky to remove, but with the right tools and techniques, the job becomes much easier.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through all of the necessary steps for getting rid of a pesky stump with your chainsaw.

This will save you as much time and effort as possible.

Using our comprehensive instructions, you can learn “How to remove a stump with a chainsaw.” Let’s get started!

Grab your safety gear! 

When operating a chainsaw, the personal protective equipment (PPE) that you should wear is essential for ensuring your safety.

The most important items to wear include:


Safety gloves

Safety gloves will protect your hands from being cut by sharp pieces of wood or getting burned by the hot saw chain. These gloves will come in contact with the workpiece.

safety gloves


It is essential that you wear goggles when cutting to keep sawdust out of your eyes and to protect them from debris that may be thrown your way. 

safety boots

Safety boots

Safety boots will protect your feet from getting cut when dealing with large logs or boards.

ear muffs

Ear protection

Ear protection is necessary to protect your hearing from the loud noise generated by the chainsaw motor; this can prevent significant hearing loss over time.

These items are a necessity for preventing potential injuries as they provide a barrier between you and any flying dust, wood chips and noise generated by the chainsaw.

Taking these precautions can help prevent injury and ensure a successful project outcome.

How to remove a stump with a chainsaw in 4 Steps

Step 1: Dig around the stump

how to remove a stump with a chainsaw

Use a mattock or pickaxe with a broad end to loosen the dirt around the stump.

Even though the trunk may appear small at first glance, it can be deceiving; many stumps have extensive root systems that require digging deep below the surface.

It’s important to dig as far down as possible to ensure all of the roots are cut or pulled out completely.

Washing away dirt with a hose or pressure washer is also helpful, as it can reveal additional roots lurking beneath the soil.

Step 2: Trim the stumps to ground level with a chainsaw

To trim the stump to ground level, you’ll need to use your chainsaw and cut off any branches or protrusions.

Start by cutting the sides of the stump in alternating and diagonal cuts. This will help you avoid trapping the guide bar and chain beneath it and also give you a cleaner cut. When making these cuts, try to make them as level as possible with the ground.

Step 3: Insert a wedge in the center of the stump to lift it up

In case you feel friction, using a wedge to lift the trunk of a tree before cutting is an efficient and safe way to proceed. This will avoid potential damage to the chain and bar.

It helps to reduce the risk of excessive strain on the saw and operator, as it reduces the amount of force required for the cut.

It also reduces the need for chainsaw maintenance afterwards due to less chain binding during the cut.

Step 4: Take the stump out of the ground

Lift the stump from the ground

Now using a shovel to lift a stump from the ground requires some effort but, with the right technique, it is a relatively straightforward process.

Using a stump grinder

A stump grinder is a power tool with a rotating cutting disc that chips away at the wood below the surface of the ground. 

Using a stump grinder is an effective way to remove tree stumps from your yard. This tool works by using the weight of the machine to apply pressure to the grinding head and cut through the wood. 

The grinding head should be pivoted slowly across the stump, rolling the wheel forward and back in a controlled manner.

This method usually takes a few minutes to complete.

Using chemicals

Using chemicals to remove a tree stump is an efficient and cost-effective way to clear your landscaping without the need for heavy machinery or manual labor.

The process involves drilling several holes into the stump, then pouring in a chemical product such as potassium nitrate, triclopyr, or any other chemical that reacts with water. This chemical reacts with water and over time gradually breaks down the stump and its roots.

Depending on the size of the stump, this could take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks. After that time has passed, you can check if it has softened enough to cut down with an axe or saw.

How to Remove a Stump with a Chainsaw: FAQs

Can a tree stump be removed with a chainsaw?

Yes, a tree stump can be removed with a chainsaw by digging around the stump and cutting it as low as possible. 

What is the fastest way to remove a tree stump?

The fastest way to remove a tree stump is to use a stump grinder, which quickly grinds the stump into wood chips. 

How do I prepare the area before using a chainsaw to remove a stump? 

Before using a chainsaw to remove a stump, it is important to clear away any debris or plants around the area of the stump.

Additionally, it is beneficial to use a high pressure hose pipe to wash away dirt from the base and roots of the stalk.

This will help ensure that cutting through with the chainsaw blade is easier and less likely to dull the blade.

What are the benefits of removing a stump with a chainsaw?

Removing a stump with a chainsaw offers several benefits. It can be faster, cheaper and easier than using other methods such as chemicals, burning or grinding. It also can improve the appearance of your yard by giving it a smoother look. 

Additionally, removing the stump can help prevent pests and diseases from infesting the area.

What are the risks of removing a stump with a chainsaw?

There are certain risks associated with removing a stump with a chainsaw. These include the potential for cutting yourself or injuring someone else due to kickback from the saw, as well as damage to your chainsaw by dulling or breaking its chain.

To reduce these risks, it is important to take all necessary safety precautions such as wearing protective gear, checking your surroundings before beginning work and properly maintaining your chainsaw. 

What is the fastest way to remove a tree stump?

The fastest way to remove a tree stump is the chemical method. This approach involves applying specific chemicals, such as potassium nitrate or Epsom salt, to holes drilled into the stump.

The chemicals will break down the wood of the stump over several weeks or months, leading to an easy removal process with just an axe or shovel.

This method is much faster than other alternatives such as grinding, burning, digging or covering with a plastic bag or tarp and can be done without any special equipment.

Furthermore, it is also cost and time effective compared to other methods, making it the ideal choice for those who need to quickly get rid of a tree stump.

What is the best tool to remove a tree stump?

The best tool to remove a tree stump will depend on the size, location, and condition of the stump. For smaller stumps or those located in tight spaces, a chainsaw can be a good choice as it can help you cut off the top of the stump and make deep slices into it.

Mattock or a grubbing hoe can be useful for digging around the trunk and loosening soil around the roots.

For an even more efficient option, a stump puller is an excellent choice. This device uses a chain connected to a lever to lift large stumps by their roots quickly and easily with minimal effort from the user.

No matter which tool you choose, make sure to take safety precautions when removing any tree stump.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, removing a stump with a chainsaw requires diligence and patience, but it is not impossible.

Follow these steps to safely and effectively remove the stump from your yard: wear proper clothing and safety gear, cut away the bark with a chainsaw to create an opening for access, use the chainsaw to make vertical wedge cuts into the stump, and finally dislodge the remaining pieces.

Be sure to cut in and around any protruding roots when cutting out the stump. Not only will this ensure safe removal of the tree’s root system, but it will also reduce disruption in your yard.

With these tips in mind, you can have that pesky stump removed in no time! As always, be sure to stay safe while using power tools. In addition, keep an eye out for dead trees or decay on your property that need addressing before they become a hazard.

Photo of author

Charlie Bass

Charlie has been a mechanic for over 25 years and has worked on everything from small engine gardening equipment to huge diesel-electric mining haul trucks, trains and even aircraft. This broad range of industry experience gives him a unique insight into almost anything mechanical especially with an engine, including gardening and landscaping equipment. He currently owns his own mobile mechanic business and lives with his family in Australia.

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