How To Remove A Tree Stump With Epsom Salt

Imagine this: you’ve chopped down a giant tree casting shade over your garden and now you’re left with the stump. How can you remove it without emptying your pocket or breaking your back? Tree stumps can be a hassle to deal with when trying to remove them in their entirety.  Luckily, you can use something simple and affordable to remove a tree stump.

Here are the two methods you can use to remove a tree stump using Epsom salt:

  1. Using a ½ inch drill bit, you drill holes into the tree stump. Fill the drilled holes with Epsom salt and wet the salt. Cover with a tarp and let sit. Repeat one every week until the tree stump has rotted.
  2. Make an Epsom salt mixture in a bucket by dissolving one gallon of Epsom salt in two warm gallons of water. Pour the mixed solution over the tree stump and cover with a tarp once finished. Repeat once every week until the tree stump has rotted.

Epsom salt use in the garden is not a new concept as it benefits the soil and plants around it when properly used. When used for tree stump removal, it requires only easy labor and is inexpensive.

The method of tree stump removal with Epsom salts is effective and simple to follow. You will learn two methods of tree stump removal with Epsom salt as well as the benefits of using Epsom salt.



Removing a tree stump with Epsom salt takes time but it is simple. There are two methods for removing the tree stump so you can decide what is best for your situation.

What Is Epsom Salt?

Epsom salt, also known as epsomite, is a chemical compound called magnesium sulfate and it is primarily used for pain or stress relief. When dissolved in water, Epsom salts separate into magnesium, a mineral, and sulfate, a type of salt. The most common methods of using Epsom salts are foot baths for pain or stress relief and as a laxative.

Use A ‘Salt Injection’ To Apply Epsom Salt To A Tree Stump

This first method requires Epsom salt, water, a ½ inch drill bit and a tarp. You are trying to ‘inject’ Epsom salt as far as you can into the tree stump for the best results. But this method is primarily meant for tree stumps low to the ground.

Step 1: Drill holes into stumps. Drill holes into the tree stump using a ½ inch drill bit and you want to space the holes about 1 inch apart. We recommend the holes drilled about 3 inches away from the edge of the stump face.  For best results, drill the holes approximately 7 inches into the tree stump.

Step 2: Pour Epsom salt into drilled holes. Pour the Epsom salt into the holes, making sure to fill the holes to the top. Then, add enough water to moisten the Epsom salt. If you add too much water at once, you can cause the salt to run off and lose its effectiveness. You wanted enough water to soften the Epsom salt. The water’s addition is to begin an absorption period to penetrate to the roots of the tree stump.

Step 3: Cover the tree stump with tarp. Cover the tree stump with a tarp to keep any extra water from coming into contact with the salt or stump. You need tarp during the rainy seasons where rainwater can affect the potency of the Epsom salts.  We recommend following this process at least once a week to upkeep the rotting process. The length of time required for the rotting process to complete depends on the size of the stump to begin with.

Step 4: Remove once the stump has rotted. When the wood has rotted through and is ready for removal, it will be a dark color with a brittle or fragile feel to it. If the wood is still light in color, your tree stump is still hanging on and not ready for removal.

This method is best for those who have a low-lying tree stump and the proper tools. But it is a simple way to remove a tree stump in your yard when you have time and are willing to follow the process.

Use An Epsom Salt Solution To Apply Epsom Salt To A Tree Stump

The second method takes an easier route where you are creating a solution to pour over the tree stump. You need water, a tarp, a five-gallon bucket and Epsom salt.

Step 1: Make the Epsom salt & water solution. Fill the five-gallon bucket with two gallons of warm water and at least one gallon of Epsom salt. The more Epsom salt used, the more concentrated the solution will be and thus, more potent. Make sure to stir until the Epsom salt dissolves.

Step 2: Pour the solution on the tree stump. Pour the mixed solution onto the tree stump and any visible roots. It is also recommended to dig out as much of the base around the tree stump as you can to expose the roots. You want to pour the solution all around the tree to ensure proper coverage.

Step 3: Cover the tree stump with tarp. Using a tarp, cover the tree stump to allow it time to absorb the solution. This will keep any other water from interfering with the solution.

Step 4: Repeat to ensure rotting process. Use this solution once every week to dry the tree stump out. It may help to break off brittle pieces of the tree stump to hasten the process as the tree stump dries out.

Step 5: Remove the rotted tree stump. Once the stump has rotted, you can pull or dig the stump out and do your best at removing any and all roots. It is important to clear the area for any other future use. Otherwise, loose soil will collapse and fill the hole, but it will not have a solidly packed foundation.

This method is best for those needing an easy solution to their tree stump problems. Time will play a role in this method as you’re pouring a solution on the tree stump and risk large amounts of runoff. This can mean that the tree stump may not be affected immediately and very effectively. But, if you have more time, using a simple Epsom salt solution to rot your tree stump shouldn’t be a problem.

When you compare both methods, either one is capable of taking care of a tree stump in your yard. But each requires different materials and relies on your preferences. Once you have removed the tree stump, you can fill the hole with soil, making sure to pack it down, and plant something like a flower bed. 

Benefits Of Using Epsom Salt To Remove Tree Stumps

The idea of using Epsom salt does come with its perks. Using Epsom salt for tree stump removal is inexpensive, eco-friendly, and requires minimal work.

Inexpensive Materials: The star of the show, Epsom salt, runs about five dollars for a three-pound bag. For the first method, you need a tarp, a ½ inch drill bit (and a drill to use it), and water. Tarps cost one dollar to about fourteen dollars, depending on the size needed. A ½ inch drill bit costs about six dollars and a drill costs about $20-100, depending what size and power you want. If planned, this first method can cost you a little under $40. For the second method, you need Epsom salt, a tarp, a five-gallon bucket and water. Once again, the Epsom salt runs about five dollars for a three-pound bag and a tarp for one dollar to about fourteen dollars, depending on the size. A five-gallon bucket costs about $6-25, depending on where you buy it. This method can add up to a little over $30. To hire a tree stump removal company, you will need to pay between $164-475, and it depends on the diameter of the tree stump. It is more cost-effective to use Epsom salt to remove your tree stump rather than hiring out.

Eco-friendly: When used properly, Epsom salt can help a garden flourish as its chemical components help with plant growth. If you want to buy chemicals available at stores for tree stump removal, be careful. Most consist of potassium nitrate, a compound poisonous not only to plants but to people as well. Protective gear is a necessity for those chemicals like a respirator mask and gloves. Those chemicals cannot come into contact with us or enter our lungs. So, consider the friendlier Epsom salts to remove your tree stump.

Easy Labor: Rather than hacking the tree stump to pieces yourself and risking injury, use the Epsom salt method. This will take time but both methods only need minimal labor and careful planning. For the first method, you only need to drill holes into the stump and for the second method, you need to use a five-gallon bucket. Using Epsom salt also means you don’t need protective gear as Epsom salt isn’t poisonous like store-bought chemicals can be. You will not be compromising your health by using a simple Epsom salt method to remove a tree stump from your yard.

Frequently Asked Questions About Epsom Salt Use in Tree Stump Removal

Using Epsom salt as a way to remove a tree stump may seem odd or nonsensical, but this is an effective but long process. Listed below are some of the frequently asked questions about tree stump removal using Epsom salt.

How Long Does The Process Take?

The timeline of a tree stump rotting from Epsom salt depends entirely on its size. A stump on the larger side may take about two months to fully dry out. But, a smaller or ‘average’ sized stump might take about three weeks to dry out.

In addition to size, the consistency of Epsom salt exposure also plays a role. If the tree stump hasn’t been exposed enough, it may take longer to become brittle and rotted.

So regardless of size, a tree stump requires constant exposure to Epsom salt to rot completely. As long as you have extra time, using Epsom salts to remove a tree stump shouldn’t be a problem.

How Exactly Does Epsom Salt Kill Or Remove A Tree Stump?

Epsom salts consist of magnesium sulfate, which in this case will dehydrate a targeted area like a tree stump and its root system. The salt crystals actually absorb water and that way, remove moisture from the tree and its roots. This blocks the tree stump from living or growing.

When Epsom salt is used in high concentrations like this, it kills plants and negatively affects the targeted area. However, it can cause toxic soil which in turn creates more problems. You might be left with blossom end rot (calcium deficiency) and potassium deficiency (browning of plants) amongst other things.

When used the right way, Epsom salts can help provide nutrients to plants and help a garden grow. But in this case, the lack of moisture and added Epsom salt will cause the tree stump to dry out and rot. This rotting stage will make the tree stump much easier to remove.

Does It Matter What Kind Of Epsom Salts Are Used?

There may be different kinds of Epsom salts, but all Epsom salts consist of the same chemical compound (magnesium sulfate). Granted, Epsom salts exist for different purposes, whether it be for agriculture or humans.

There are only two kinds of ‘grades’ of Epsom salts- UPS Grade and Technical Grade. UPS Grade, also known as Food Grade, means that this kind of Epsom salt has been tested for human use like in body care and food. Technical Grade Epsom salt is primarily meant for agricultural use and hasn’t been tested for human use. But it isn’t required to be as ‘pure’ as UPS Grade Epsom salt.

For tree stump removal, it doesn’t matter what ‘grade’ of Epsom salt you use as there is no real difference. Either the Epsom salts meant for foot baths or for agriculture use will suffice and dry out the tree stump all the same.

What Effect Does Epsom Salt Have On The Environment Around The Tree Stump?

The environmental effects of Epsom salts can be positive as Epsom salts are a large part of gardening. Part of its chemical makeup can provide nutrients to otherwise deficient soil and help with plant growth.

Additionally, magnesium in Epsom salts helps plant seeds develop as it strengthens their plant cells. But, overuse of Epsom salts can lead to toxic soil and oftentimes, kill the plant(s) altogether.

It is important to note that plants can suffer from excess salt exposure through the soil so more exposure to Epsom salt may not be positive. Be sure to clear a decent radius as best as you can before attempting to remove a tree stump using Epsom salt.

Is The Epsom Salt Method Expensive?

Epsom salt is inexpensive and sold at most stores as well as online. You can find seven-pound bags for about eight dollars or four-pound bags for three dollars. It depends on where you look as most stores like Lowe’s, Target and Walmart carry them.

The first method of removing a tree stump using an Epsom salt ‘injection’ can cost you a little under $40 with careful planning. The second method of tree stump removal using an Epsom salt solution can cost you up to about $30 with thorough planning and research.

Using Epsom salt rather than a tree stump removal company can save you hundreds of dollars with minimal work on your part.

Wrap Up

Using Epsom salt to remove tree stumps is simple and effective. There are two different methods you can pick from and although it may take some time, Epsom salt can help rot the tree stump down. The Epsom salt method is straightforward, eco-friendly, with easy labor, and it’s inexpensive. Next time you’re dealing with a stubborn tree stump in your yard, give the Epsom salt method a try!

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