How to Remove a Tree Stump with a Chainsaw – A Guide

Richard McMann

Knowledge Based

removing tree stump with a chainsawYou step out into your backyard, hoping to enjoy the beautiful greenery and fresh air, only to be met with the remains of a once-beautiful tree. That giant stump, staring you right in the face, is an eyesore that detracts from the beauty of your property.

Whatever the circumstance, getting rid of a stump can be challenging and time-consuming.

However, with the right tools and techniques, you can quickly work off that stubborn stump and have your yard looking neat and tidy once again.

In this blog, I’ll show you how to remove a tree stump with a chainsaw, so you can remove that eyesore and reclaim your yard. Let’s get going!

How to Cut or Remove a Tree Stump with a Chainsaw?

Let’s throw it here quickly, and then we’ll go into the details.

You can choose the conventional way of digging it out and chopping the roots if the stump is not too large.

To start cutting the stump, hold the chainsaw firmly and steadily and begin grinding through it, starting from its edges and working your way toward the center. Avoid applying excessive pressure to the chainsaw because doing so could harm the blade and make the operation more difficult. Instead, direct the chainsaw along the stump’s surface and let it do the work.

Step-by-Step Process of Removing Small-to-Medium-Sized Tree Stumps

Step-1: Dig Around the Stump!

Digging around the stump allows you to see the extent and shape of the root system and provides access to the roots for cutting and removal.

The root system of a tree can be fairly vast and may take major digging to access all of the roots, depending on the size and age of the tree. Once the roots are exposed, you can cut them with a chainsaw or other tools to get rid of the stump.

Step-2: Remove the Bark

Use a sharp ax or chisel to remove the bark from the stump.

Because the bark is fibrous and hard, a chainsaw has a hard time cutting through it. By removing the bark, you can see the softer wood underlying, which a chainsaw can cut through more easily.

Additionally, removing the bark gives you a clearer view of the underlying wood, allowing you to make more accurate cuts and prevent running into rocks or other obstacles that could harm your chainsaw chain.

Step-3: Cut the Roots Around the Stump

Cut through the stump’s surrounding roots with a reliable chainsaw. Work your way around the stump, starting with the larger roots and cutting them first. Make sure to cut through the roots as close as you can to the stump.

Step-4: Rock the Stump

Once you’ve cut through most of the roots, try to rock the stump back and forth to loosen it from the ground. You may need to use a pry bar to help lift the stump out of the ground.

Step 5: Remove the Stump and Fill the Hole with Soil!

Once the stump is loose, remove it from the ground and dispose of it properly. You may need to use a shovel to remove any remaining dirt or debris from the hole.

Fill the hole with soil and pack it down firmly. You may also want to add some grass seed or other vegetation to the area to help it blend in with the surrounding landscape.

Learn More: Why did they Invent the Chainsaws?

Cutting and Removing Thick Tree Stumps with a Chainsaw

The initial steps are the same. Let’s start with the actual cutting.

Step-1: Cut the Stump into sections

If the stump is too large to remove in one piece, you’ll need to cut it into smaller sections. Use your gasoline chainsaw to make a series of vertical cuts around the perimeter of the stump, cutting through the roots as you go.

Be sure to cut through the roots as close to the stump as possible.

Step-2: Make Horizontal Cuts

Once you’ve made the vertical cuts, use your chainsaw to make horizontal cuts across the top of the stump.

Start at one end and work your way across, cutting through the wood as you go. This will create a grid pattern that will make it easier to remove the sections of the stump.

Step-3: Pry the Sections Out

Once you’ve made the cuts, use a pry bar or shovel to pry the stump sections out of the ground. Be careful not to damage any surrounding vegetation or structures as you work.

Step-4: Remove any Remaining Roots

After removing the stump sections, use your chainsaw to cut through any remaining roots. Be sure to cut them as close to the ground as possible.

When to Remove or Cut a Tree Stump with a Chainsaw?

It’s important to consider several factors when deciding the right time, including the type and size of the tree, the age of the stump, and the weather conditions.

For instance, a recently cut tree might be simpler to get rid of than an old, hardened stump.

Let’s talk about the ideal times to get a tree stump removed!

Decaying Process

The wood of a tree stump softens and gets easier to remove as it ages. Therefore, if you have a tree stump that has been around for a while, you might wonder if it is decaying.

By the way, depending on the size and type of tree, the degradation process might take a number of years. However, if the stump is left to decay for too long, it may attract insects or fungi that can spread to other trees or plants in your yard.

Newly Cut Tree

The roots of a newly felled tree are still living and can aid in removing the stump. Additionally, a freshly cut tree’s wood is softer and simpler to work with, which speeds up and simplifies the removal process.

Growing Season

During the growing season, trees actively pull nutrients from the soil to support new growth. This indicates that the stump’s roots are more active and may contribute to the stump’s loosening, making removal easier. The roots may not grow back if the stump is removed during the growing season.


The ground may freeze throughout the winter in colder climates, making it more difficult for the stump’s roots to recover. As you won’t have to worry as much about the roots regrowing, now might be a good time to remove the stump.

Assessing these factors will help you determine the right time to remove the stump, ensuring that the process is successful and efficient.

Prior Measures to Take Before Cutting a Tree Stump

Before firing up your chainsaw and diving in, it’s important to take a few minutes to prepare and assess the situation. Doing so can avoid potential hazards and ensure your chainsaw works properly.

Check if the Soil is Damp Enough.

Before you start cutting your stump, it’s essential to check if the soil is damp enough. If the soil is too dry, the chainsaw can create friction that produces sparks, which can ignite any dry debris in the surrounding area.

Aside from that, moist soil can facilitate stump removal by softening the area around it and making it simpler to cut through the roots.

But don’t worry; you don’t need a Ph.D. in soil science to do this – just take a handful of soil and squeeze it. If you feel it sticking, then it’s damp enough!

However, it’s important to note that the soil should not be too wet or muddy, as this can make the ground unstable and increase the risk of slips and falls.

Know Your Tools

You wouldn’t want to show up to a gunfight with a butter knife, would you? Similarly, when it comes to removing stumps, it’s crucial to know your tools.

Always wear the proper safety gear, and make sure your chainsaw is the right size and power for the job.

Here is the checklist of the proper safety gear for removing a tree stump with a chainsaw:

Ideal Chainsaw Chains for Cutting Stumps

Cutting stumps is no easy task; using the right chainsaw chain can make all the difference. A good chainsaw chain for cutting stumps should be durable, sharp, and able to handle tough wood.

Think of it like having the right pair of shoes for a marathon – you wouldn’t want to wear flip-flops, would you?

Here are some of the best chainsaw chains for cutting tree stumps:

Full Skip Chains

These chainsaw chains have fewer teeth than other chains, meaning they remove more wood with each cut. This makes them perfect for swiftly and effectively removing thick tree stumps.

However, because they cut through more wood per pass, they might make the chainsaw vibrate more and use more power.

Carbide-tipped Chains

These chains are incredibly strong and can sustain repeated use on challenging terrains, such as tree stumps. They’re designed with carbide inserts on the cutting teeth, which provides excellent wear resistance and long life.

Moreover, they often cost more than regular chainsaw chains.

Semi Skip Chains

These chains have fewer teeth than regular chains but more than full skip chains. They have a nice mix of cutting speed and force as a result, which makes them perfect for removing medium-sized tree stumps.

Low-Profile Chains

These chains have a lower profile and smaller teeth, making them ideal for cutting through smaller tree stumps with less effort.

Additionally, they’re less likely to make the chainsaw vibrate excessively, which makes them simpler to manage. But they might not work as well on larger or thicker tree stumps.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you remove the tree stump with a chainsaw?

You can remove a tree stump with just a chainsaw by simply digging around the stump, cutting it as low as possible. Then cut crisscross slices into the stump 4-6 inches below ground level. Keep in mind to avoid the contact of the chainsaw with the ground.

What is the fastest way to remove a tree stump?

The fastest way to remove a tree stump without using a grinder is the chemical method. By applying chemicals to holes drilled into the stump, you speed up the natural decay process and the remaining tree fibers and roots will break down more quickly.

Can you remove a stump by hand?

Yes, you can. Simply dig out the soil from around the stump exposing the larger tree roots. Use loppers, a pry bar, and/or a hand saw to cut them into manageable pieces and pull what you can out of the ground, clearing away as much of the root system as possible.

Can you cut a stump with a chainsaw?

Yes, you can cut a stump with a chainsaw. In fact, using a chainsaw is one of the most common methods for removing a tree stump. You can use a chainsaw to cut the stump as close to the ground as possible and then cut it into smaller sections if necessary.

Wearing safety equipment, checking that the chainsaw is in excellent operating order, and being mindful of the kickback that can happen when cutting through the wood are all key safety precautions to consider when using a chainsaw.

What is the best way to cut a stump?

The best way to cut a stump depends on the size and condition of the stump, as well as the tools and equipment available.

Cutting as near the ground as you can with a chainsaw is an efficient technique for small to medium-sized stumps. Removing the bark around the circumference of the stump can make cutting easier.

For larger stumps, it might be necessary to use a stump grinder to remove the bulk of the stump before cutting the remaining pieces with a chainsaw.

What size chainsaw do I need to cut a stump?

The size and condition of the stump will determine the type of chainsaw you need to cut it. A chainsaw with a bar length of 14 to 18 inches may be sufficient for small to medium-sized stumps.

However, a chainsaw with a longer bar length of 20 to 24 inches may be necessary for larger or harder stumps. It’s important to select an appropriately sized chainsaw for the job and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.

How to cut a large stump with a small chainsaw?

Use a chainsaw with a minimum bar length of 16 inches and a maximum of 18 inches. Around the stump’s edge, make several cuts, leaving about an inch of wood between each one.

These cuts should be deep enough to reach the center of the stump. Use a pry bar or shovel to remove the wood between the cuts, exposing the roots underneath.

Use the chainsaw to cut through the roots, beginning with the smaller ones and progressing to the larger ones.

Wrap Up: How to Remove Tree Stump with a Chainsaw

There you have it!

If you follow the proper instructions and take the required safety precautions, cutting a tree stump with a chainsaw can be simple and satisfying.

With these tips, you’ll be able to easily tackle any tree stump and maybe even impress your neighbors with your chainsaw skills. So start that engine, take out your saw, and prepare to take on that tough stump like a pro!

Richard McMann
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