How to Get Rid of a Tree Stump with Charcoal (8 Easy Steps)

Normally, the most efficient way to remove a tree stump involves either digging it out and removing it from the property or using specialized stump grinding machinery. Unfortunately, these particular stump elimination techniques can be quite time-consuming and often necessitate professional assistance, which might not always be cost-effective.

They also can damage the surrounding soil and plant life in the process. But what if you could take care of the tree removal process in a quick and simple way? Well, you can with the help of charcoal. Charcoal, being an organic material, is non-toxic and biodegradable. And with the help of charcoal, you can turn a tree stump into a pile of ash within a few hours without the need for assistance.

If you’re looking for a simple and cost-effective way to remove a tree stump, then read on to learn about the eight simple steps on how to get rid of a tree stump with charcoal.


Why Remove a Stump with Charcoal?

Charcoal set next to a tree stump

Stumps can be unsightly and often can get in the way of a property’s aesthetics. If you have a stump located in a garden or lawn space, it can make those spaces seem cluttered and unkempt.

A stump, particularly in a garden space, can attract bugs and insects such as beetles and ants, which can then wreak havoc on the surrounding plants. In addition, stumps can release dangerous gases and smell unpleasant and musty. With so many discomforts and issues associated with a stump, you want to remove them quickly.

Fortunately, you can do this with the help of charcoal. The chemical process with which charcoal burns will transform the stump into ash in a short amount of time. The resulting pile of ash can then be removed from the property in a quick and efficient manner.

If you still feel uncertain about using charcoal to remove a stump, then here are some major benefits to this process.


One of the greatest benefits of using charcoal to remove a stump is that it is affordable. Charcoal is one of the least expensive materials that you can buy. When you compare stump removal methods, such as stump grinding or power augers, you don’t even need to think twice about the process because it is 50X cheaper than those methods.


The second benefit of using charcoal to remove a stump is that it is fast. You will have a pile of ash in a short amount of time after starting the charcoal burning process. With this, you won’t have to worry about spending hours, or even days, on the process. You can quickly get rid of the stump and then go on with your day with ease.

No Noise:

The final benefit of using charcoal to remove a stump is that it is not noisy. While you could use an electric generator or chainsaw to remove a stump, the process will be noisy. It is disruptive and can be bothersome to those who live nearby. With charcoal, however, the process is quiet and can occur at any time of the day or night without disturbing your neighbors.

Less Work:

There are few steps to removing a stump with charcoal, which means that you won’t have to do much work to get the job done. In fact, all you need to do is prepare the stump, add in the oil, and light the stump on fire. And in a few hours, you’ll have a pile of ash which you can sweep or shovel out of the yard.

Get Rid of a Tree Stump with Charcoal In 8 Easy Steps

1. General Safety:

You don’t want yourself in rather expensive and lengthy legal trouble just because you wanted to get rid of that stubborn stump. Be aware of the applicable fire regulations for your space so that you know if it’s a legal and safe option for you by the time you’re finished.

Furthermore, take the precaution of clearing away any flammable materials around the area and eliminating any areas with dried leaves or small twigs on the ground. It’s also advisable that you keep the bucket full of water handy in case of accidental fires.

2. Gather Essential Tools:

Your DIY journey will begin by gathering your tools and materials. There’s not much to gathering items since you’ll be using common household items. All you’ll need is the following:

• Charcoal: Charcoal, either from burning wood or charcoal briquettes. It’s recommended that you use charcoal briquettes instead of burning wood as they contain high heat and are easily available.

• Power Drill & Shovel: To make the process a lot easier and quicker, you’ll need a power drill to make the required holes into the stump. And to assist you in digging, you’ll need a shovel.

• Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil is a crucial ingredient that needs to be poured on the stump and is also needed to be sprinkled over the charcoal. This will assist in transferring the heat onto the wood.

• Face Mask, Goggles & Gloves: Always put on a face mask, goggles, and gloves to protect yourself and your hands and also the surrounding environment from the smoke, ash, and dust.

• Water or Fire extinguisher: You’ll need a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher to put out any accidental fires.

3. Dig Around the Tree Stump:

Before you can get started, you need to dig a hole around the tree stump to help make room for the fire. Use the shovel to dig a circle around the tree base, about 2-3 feet in circumference. Keep digging around the tree in a clockwise motion until you have a hole big enough to expose most of the tree trunk.

4. Drill A Hole into The Stump:

Once you have a clear view of the tree trunk, you can begin drilling a hole into the stump. Use the power drill to drill a hole about 2 to 4 inches in diameter and is as deep as your drill permits.

Be sure to keep your hands away from the drill not to hit your hands by accident. Make sure that you’ve removed all of the dirt and dust from the stump so that the charcoal can easily enter the inside of the stump.

5. Pour Vegetable Oil into The Hole:

Once you’ve drilled a hole into the stump, then you can begin pouring the vegetable oil into the hole. The goal is to make the stump as wet as possible with vegetable oil.

You will need to repeat this process 2-3 days in a row to ensure that the entire stump is covered with vegetable oil, is wet, and ready to lit on fire. After you pour in the oil, leave it overnight before repeating the process to ensure that the oil has settled into the entire stump.

6. Time to Set Up the Charcoal:

The most crucial part of the process is the setting up of the charcoal. Once you’ve finished with the vegetable oil and let it settle, you can begin setting up the charcoal. To set up the charcoal, follow these simple steps:

• Take a handful of charcoal and place it into the hole.

• Sprinkle a generous amount of charcoal around the base of the stump.

• Place more charcoal on top of the stump. Make sure to continue adding on more charcoal until the entire surface of the stump is covered with charcoal.

7. Light Up the Charcoal:

You’ve made it this far; now it’s time to light up the charcoal. You can either use a matchbox or the end of a lighter. Wait a few minutes for the fire to settle in and let the heat begin to transfer from the charcoal into the stump, and see the stump begin to turn into ashes.

8. Cleanup:

Once the stump has begun to turn into ashes, wait for few extra minutes to ensure that every inch of the stump has degraded. Once it’s done, then you can shovel out the ash and clean up the area. If you’ve followed all of the instructions correctly, then you’ll have removed your tree stump successfully in just a few hours.


If a tree stump is in the way of your property or garden, you can easily remove it cheaply and effectively using charcoal. Just follow the steps mentioned above to remove your stump and walk off with peace of mind. 

And remember to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and the environment from harmful toxins such as carbon monoxide or soot. Enjoy your do-it-yourself project!

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