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How Can Epsom Salt Be Used On Tree Stumps

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Felling a tree sounds like a daunting task, but in reality, it is the easy, first step to completely removing the whole tree. There is hardly a way you can cut a tree without leaving an unsightly stump. The thing is, tree stumps are quite hardy and exceptionally resilient.

Living stumps find ways to survive. They can graft their roots to the root system of other living trees. With a new source of nutrition, saplings which emerge from the stump can grow into full trees again if not removed. They form a callous around their cross-section that prevents infection and damage from insects.

With all this information about stumps, you may be wondering how to get rid of tree stumps.

There are many ways to remove stumps, and some involve some methods which are not entirely safe. A stump grinder can be used to grind the stump entirely to the ground. It can be arduously dug up. Another stump removal method is completely burning the tree stump. A tree stump rotter can be used to kill the tree stump. However, the best way of getting rid of tree stumps yourself is by using Epsom salt.

What Is Epsom Salt?

Epsom salt or bitter salt is not just a common household item for baths and medicine. Epsom salt is an inorganic salt, which is the result of the chemical combination of magnesium and sulphur. It used as a component in bath salts and has a plethora of applications in many fields such as medicine, agriculture and food preparation. Although Epsom salt (Magnesium Sulphate) is commonly used as a laxative, it is also used for reducing inflammation and soothing muscle tension, and as an antiarrhythmic.

Epsom Salt

This salt is used in aquariums to stabilise ion concentrations. It is also applied to soil to increase its magnesium or sulphate concentrations, which in turn promotes the growth of some plants such as pepper, tomatoes potatoes and carrots which require an abundance of these nutrients to flourish.

The main quality that sets Epsom salt apart and makes it one of the best substances for removing tree stumps is its nature. Magnesium sulphate is a hygroscopic agent, that is, it absorbs moisture from its environment. This may not seem like much to you now, but you will soon find out why this trait is essential.

How Does Epsom Salt Kill A Tree Stump?

As mentioned earlier, Epsom salt is very hygroscopic, and it removes moisture from any substance it comes in contact with. When applied correctly in high enough concentrations, it kills weeds and other plants so care should be taken when using it for soil treatment.

Epsom salt kills a stump by removing the moisture from the stump, and the surrounding soil leaving the stump, and the roots to wither and dry, causing it to rot. Applying Epsom salt on stumps is safer and more comfortable compared to grinding, which may require the help of a professional arborist.


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Using Epsom salt to remove a tree stump is less tasking than utilising a stump grinder or other tools like an axe. Using Epsom salt is also less costly. Now you’ll learn how to apply Epsom salt to get rid of a tree stump.

How To Get Rid Of Tree Stumps With Epsom Salt – Only A Few Steps?

There are mainly two ways you can remove tree stumps. The first method involves an inch drill bit. It is best if the stump is as close to the ground as possible (it is easier to kill tree stump and roots this way).

  1. Use a ½ inch drill bit or a similar size, drill holes into the stump about 1 inch apart. Make sure the outer ring of holes should be about 3 inches from the edge of the stump. The holes should be at least 7 inches deep or about halfway through the stump to improve the effectiveness of the application.
  2. Fill up the holes with salt and carefully add a little water to each hole to soften the salt. The moisture added is to hasten the absorption process. Be careful not to add too much water, which will cause all salt to run off and lose its potency.
  3. Use a tarp to cover the holes to prevent rain (if its rainy season) from flooding the holes and let the salt do its work. The time it takes for the stump to rot entirely depends on the size on the stump so multiple applications might be required. Applying the treatment once a week will suffice until you can remove the stump.

The second method is easier than the first. It involves using a strong solution of the salt to kill the stump. You will need a five-gallon bucket for this operation.

  1.  Mix a gallon of Epsom salt with two gallons of water. Epsom salt is very soluble and should mix quite well. Pour the solution directly on the stump, the roots and its surrounding area. Use a tarpaulin to cover the stump and the surrounding area.
  2. Apply this treatment to the stump once a week till the stump dries out. Try chipping off all the roots as the stump dries.

When the stump eventually decomposes and dries out, you have very little work left to do. Just pull out the stump and try to remove the remaining roots.

After you have removed the stump, it is not advisable to leave the hole unattended. The ground around the hole will collapse if you fail to fill it. You can fill it sawdust or loam. As the loam or sawdust settles the ground will sink a little and so you may need to apply it for a few weeks for the ground to be flat.

There are ways to get rid of the removed stump. You can chop it up and add it to your compost pile (if you have one). Or you can also burn up the stump but make sure it is legal to have open fires in your area.

Last Word

Although getting rid of a tree stump with Epsom salt is easy, you may want to get that tree stump out of your yard as quickly as possible. If you want a clean and effective way of removing a tree stump, Valiant Arborists have got you covered. We offer professional tree stump removal and other services. Our tree surgeons are the best around. Getting rid of a tree stump has never been easier.


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