5 Best Tree Stump Killers of 2024

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The Best Tree Stump Killers

best tree stump killer
  1. Roundup Tree Stump Root Killer

  2. Westland Resolva Xtra Tough Tree Stump Killer

  3. Solar Bay Copper Tree Stump Killer Nails

  4. Vitax SBK Tree Stump Killer

  5. Doff Tree Stump & Tough Weed Killer

Tree Stump Killer Reviews

Editors Choice
  • Capable of working on stumps up to 45 cm in diameter
  • Can be used to kill tree stumps as well as weeds and unwanted plants like brambles, horsetail and bamboo
  • Reusable pipette included makes it easier to apply product neat when required
  • Overall a very strong solution

  • Contains glyphosate which should be researched before use as there are potential associated safety concerns
  • Less effective when used as a spray
  • Plants/weeds/brambles need to be cut in order for this to work

When it comes to getting rid of unwanted plants in the garden, Roundup certainly has a reputation for getting the job done. Their Tree Stump Root Killer is a powerful product that can not only get rid of tree stumps but also ivy, Japanese knotweed, saplings, brambles and nettles.

It’s on the market for quite a reasonable price, considering that it comes as a 250 ml concentrate that can make up to 25 litres of solution, and get rid of up to 16 tree stumps. It can also be used on bamboo and horsetail, killing them off after a few repeat applications.

Most customers report having maximum success with this product when it is applied directly to the roots (using the supplied pipette) or into drill holes in tree stumps.

When used as a spray over larger areas of weeds, the Roundup Tree Stump Root Killer can take its time to work, and require several applications. However, it will eventually cause browning and result in the plant dying.

With both tree stumps and other vegetation (ivy/brambles, etc.) it doesn’t cause the plant itself to rot, but does seem to kill it from the root (as advertised) and stop it from growing anymore. This can mean that the tree stump is a little harder to dig out than when using other products, as it doesn’t turn as soft.

Best results are achieved when time is spent applying this product liberally and deliberately to plants, and it may not work just to just generally spray the solution near them. Cutting the plants down to stumps first is the best way to get the most from this tree stump killer.

Considering how effective this product can be, it’s one of the best tree stump killers for stopping tree growth and damaging the roots themselves. Plus, it’s not overly expensive considering the quantity provided.

Be aware that this product contains glyphosate.

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Runner Up
  • Box contains two sachets so they can be used at different times
  • Can be poured straight out of the sachet onto tree stumps
  • Capable of getting rid of perennial weeds and brambles as well as tree stumps
  • Good value for money and a useful option if you don't want to buy a lot of product unnecessarily
  • After a few months tree stumps change colour and dry out

  • Does not cause tree stump to rot so can still be difficult to dig out
  • In some cases two applications may be required
  • Contains glyphosate which should be researched before use as there are potential associated safety concerns
  • Liquid is quite runny and can be difficult to control when pouring from sachet

If you only have a couple of stumps to get rid of, this Resolva Xtra Tough Tree Stump Killer has enough oomph to solve the problem without forcing you to buy more product than necessary.

Coming in a pack of 2 x 100 ml sachets, this is one of the best tree stump killers to buy if you want value for money. The application is very straight forward, not requiring any diluting or mixing to treat stumps in the garden.

One sachet contains enough Resolva to treat three tree stumps of between 10 – 15 cm in diameter, and the liquid can be applied directly from the sachet itself. Whilst this is generally a simple process, you do need to take care not to get any solution on your hands, or any other plants, as it’s quite watery and easy to spill. The sachet will need to be opened directly over the tree stump that you want to get rid of.

There’s no pipette or applicator included, so cutting only a small hole in the sachet is a good tactic in order to better control the liquid.

Along with tree stumps, Resolva Tree Stump Killer can be used on a whole host of other plants such as brambles, bamboo and perennial weeds. All of these need to be cut back as much as possible so that the product will work effectively, otherwise it will just brown the leaves. For treating plants that aren’t tree stumps, the contents of the sachet can be diluted in a sprayer.

It may take a couple of months for Resolva to have a visible effect on tree stumps. It doesn’t cause them to rot, but stops new growth appearing. The stumps start to look drier and may change colour as well. Digging out the stump still required some effort as the wood isn’t softened.

Overall, this is an effective and powerful method for stopping new growth on tree stumps, brambles, ivy and many other plants. Enough product is supplied to treat up to six stumps, although once a sachet is opened it should be used straight away.

Be aware that this product contains glyphosate.

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Also Good
  • Chemical-free method of killing tree stumps
  • A good option for smaller tree stumps as there's no risk of damaging other plants/flowers
  • Good value for money with 20 nails included in a pack

  • Results are far slower than they would be with chemical tree stump killer - may take years to damage tree enough to kill it
  • Holes need to be pre-drilled into tree stump otherwise nails will bend
  • Generally not as effective as chemical tree stump killer

For anyone keen to avoid using chemicals in their garden, these Solar Bay Copper Tree Stump Killer Nails offer a viable alternative for getting rid of tree stumps.

Coming as a pack of 20 x 65 mm nails, they need to be hammered into the base of the stump at approximately 1.5 cm intervals. The idea is that they create a three-prong attack for killing off plants. Hammering in the nails will physically damage cells in the tree, and as the nails oxidise this may damage the tree. Similarly, introducing nails in the tree may increase the chance of bacteria entering the tree, causing it to die.

Generally speaking, customers have reported good results from using these nails. Be that because the act of hammering in a nail causes sufficient damage, or because the copper also plays a part. Regardless of the reason, this is one of the best tree stump killer options if you don’t want to use chemical products.

They can also work on smaller plants, like brambles, by hammering a nail through the main stem.

The biggest disadvantage of using Solar Bay Copper Nails is that they work slowly and are not necessarily as reliable as chemical methods.

Solar Bay has different size nails available, with the largest being 75 mm. Using larger nails will change how far it goes through the tree, potentially creating more cellular damage to the stump.

It’s necessary to pre-drill holes in the tree stump, before hammering the nails in. Because copper is such a soft metal, the Tree Stump Killer Nails can bend if hammered directly into a tree with no holes drilled.

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  • Effective at killing off woody ivy and brambles
  • Does not contain glyphosate (contains triclopyr instead)
  • Can treat plants amongst grass without harming grass

  • Dispensing liquid using the measuring valve is more complicated than necessary
  • Takes several weeks to show signs of working on woody growth
  • Tree stumps will likely require repeat applications

This Vitax SBK Tree Stump Killer is a good option if you’re looking for a chemical solution that doesn’t contain glyphosate.

It uses triclopyr as its active ingredient instead.

Whereas glyphosate will kill all plant species (including grass and other vegetation that you might want to preserve), triclopyr is a selective herbicide aimed at broadleaf weeds, ivy and trees.

SBK Tree Stump Killer comes as a 250 ml concentrate, which states that it’s capable of treating up to eight stumps. However, large stumps will likely require repeat applications, so this number is reduced.

The concentrate requires diluting, regardless of whether it’s applied directly to stumps or used with a sprayer. Dispensing the product can be a little challenging, as the design of the bottle means it measures out some liquid first, and then you remove the cap.

In terms of its effectiveness, this product works well on woody growth – particularly ivy. As mentioned, several applications may be needed when treating tree stumps.

The application is also a little messier than with some other chemical tree stump killers, as it needs to be measured out before being diluted. There is also no brush supplied, even though one is required for application.

Overall, this product is a mixed bag. It’s one of the best tree stump killers if you want a chemical killer that doesn’t contain glyphosate; however, its active ingredient of triclopyr is no better for the environment, it just won’t affect the grass if it makes contact accidentally. With repeat applications, this SBK Tree Stump Killer can cause tree stumps to die, but it’s most effective on woody ivy and brambles.

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  • Good option for smaller stumps of ivy and brambles
  • Liquid in sachets is ready to use and doesn't require diluting
  • Can be used to treat a variety of weeds as well

  • Contains glyphosate which many people prefer not to use
  • Works best when holes are drilled into stumps and product poured into holes
  • Only suitable for smaller trunks, including stubborn ivy

One of the best tree stump killers to buy on a budget, the Doff Tree Stump & Tough Weed Killer is useful for tackling the woody stumps of ivy and brambles.

Coming in the form of 2 x 100 ml sachets, this is the cheapest tree stump killer featured on this list. For those who don’t want to mess around with diluting product, it’s a straightforward option that can be applied directly to tree stumps.

Although not as effective as some of the more powerful products on this page, the Doff Tree Stump & Tough Weed Killer is well suited to tackling smaller, stubborn stumps such as ivy and brambles.

It seems to work best when holes are drilled into the stump, and the liquid is applied directly into the hole. Although the sachets are easy to use in that the product can be dispensed straight away, it can be difficult to control and pour the liquid accurately.

Doff Tree Stump & Tough Weed Killer contains glyphosate; it can be used on weeds as well as woody growth, making it suitable for nettles, dandelion and willowherb.

As a good budget option, it can be used on smaller stumps but shouldn’t be expected to get rid of larger ones.

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Clive's Smart Buying Tips

  1. The best way to effectively get rid of a tree stump is to use a chemical treatment. There are also some chemical-free methods, which we’ll discuss below, but their efficacy is somewhat disputed.
  2. Many of the strongest tree stump killers contain either glyphosate or triclopyr as their active ingredient. These chemicals are extremely effective, although it’s recommended that you research them thoroughly before use to be aware of any potentially harmful effects.
  3. Then there are products containing potassium nitrate, which are often referred to as ‘stump removers’ not ‘stump killers’. Use potassium nitrate to speed up the decaying process of the stump, which makes it easier to remove. However, be aware that unlike glyphosate and triclopyr, potassium nitrate doesn’t aim to kill the roots of the tree.
  4. You might want to avoid glyphosate if you are concerned about damaging surrounding plants or grass. It is a non-selective herbicide. Triclopyr is a selective herbicide that shouldn’t kill grass when used in the correct dosage.
  5. A concentrated, dilutable solution offers value for money if you have multiple tree stumps to treat. To kill upwards of 10 tree stumps, look for a chemical killer that can make up to 25L of solution. Alternatively, products that don’t need diluting offer a more hassle-free option.
  6. An alternative approach to using chemicals is hammering copper nails into the stump. This is worth considering as a first course of action if you’re against using chemicals. There is debate over how effective this method is, but it will at least damage some of the tree’s cells.

Overall, I’ve chosen the Roundup Tree Stump Root Killer as my top pick because it’s an extremely effective stump killer. The 250ml concentrate makes up to 25L of solution – it’s perfect for treating multiple tree stumps up to 45cm in diameter. Be aware, this product contains glyphosate.

How to Choose the Best Tree Stump Killer

There are times when cutting down a tree is the only option, whether we like it or not. This is especially the case if the tree is diseased or posing a safety risk.

However, cutting it down is only half the battle, as getting rid of the tree stump can be where the real challenge lies.

Tree stumps can still sprout seedlings and spread infections to other plants, so they should ideally be removed as soon as possible.

Using a tree stump killer can make it easier to remove. There are a few different types of product to choose from, and choosing the best tree stump killer will depend on your own preferences as well as the size of the stump.

READ NEXT: The Best Telescopic Tree Pruners

Different Ways to Remove a Tree Stump

Firstly, let’s look at all the ways to remove a tree stump from your garden. Using a tree stump killer just one option, although it can often be the most cost effective.

Smaller tree stumps can be pulled out using a winch. While these are a good option for experienced gardeners, they are difficult for many people to use. You’ll need to hire a winch and make sure you know how to use it.

Another option is to hire a landscape gardener who can remove the stump using a mini-excavator or stump grinder. You could also hire these machines yourself; however, this should only be considered if you’re already experienced with how to use them.

You may have thought about setting light to the tree trump in your garden, but I’m afraid I’m going to quash those dreams pretty quickly. It’s highly unlikely that burning your stump (as many people attempt to do) will be effective. Stumps are usually very wet and won’t burn properly.

Some people successfully kill stumps in their garden by using copper nails. This can be a slow process, but we will look at it in more depth below.

Finally, you can use a chemical tree stump killer. These are relatively cheap and can be very effective. Once the tree stump is dead, it will need to be dug out.

READ NEXT: The Best Trees for Small Gardens

Two Types of Tree Stump Killer

You can either use chemicals or copper nails to kill off a tree stump. Chemical stump killers are generally more effective.

It’s a common misconception that chemical tree stump killers cause the stump to disintegrate. Instead, they kill the stump so that it won’t regerminate. If you want to get completely rid of the stump, you’ll need to remove it after killing it.

Chemical tree stump killers contain a range of chemicals and are absorbed into the tree once applied. The killer penetrates into the living tissue of the stump, with the chemicals then circulating to the roots and poisoning them.

Once the roots have been poisoned, the tree stump gradually dies. It’s important to note that this is not a short-term solution to ridding your garden of tree stumps, and it can take several months to die.

Copper tree stump nails offer a slightly different approach. These are hammered into the base of the tree stump and left there. The nails damage the growth cells and the copper eventually kills the stump. There are mixed opinions about how well this method actually works, and if the copper has any part to play in the tree’s demise.

Nevertheless, if you want a chemical-free option, nails are a good option to try first. They’ll damage the tree’s cells if nothing else.

Choosing the Best Tree Stump Killer

Included Ingredients

Most tree stump killers that attack the plant’s roots will rely on glyphosate to kill the tree stump. There are some concerns about whether or not this chemical is carcinogenic, so you should do your own research before using it.

Triclopyr is another powerful herbicide that will attack the roots of a tree stump. It is sometimes used instead of glyphosate in tree stump killer products. Again, it’s recommended that you research triclopyr thoroughly, as it can have a damaging effect on wildlife and the environment.

Other chemicals, such as potassium nitrate, can be found in different types of stump killer. Potassium nitrate will cause the wood of the stump to go soft which can make it easier to remove. However, if you don’t successfully remove all of the roots, they may continue living and spawn another tree.

Ease of Application

Some tree stump killers need your tree stump to still be alive in order to work effectively. They should be applied within a week of cutting down the tree.

Chemical tree stump killers come either as granules or a liquid. Granules tend to need dissolving in water before being applied to the tree stump. Depending on the instructions, liquid killers may need dissolving, or may be applied directly.

Some of the easiest tree stump killers to use are those that come in sachets. These don’t tend to need diluting and can be applied directly from the sachet onto the tree stump.

Although some tree stump killers have the option to be diluted and sprayed, this technique is usually best used for killing weeds with the product, not tree stumps. Tree stumps tend to require careful, focused product application.

Tree Stump Killer FAQs

Stump killers usually contain glyphosate and/or other chemicals. These are applied to the surface of the stump, or poured into holes drilled into the tree. The herbicide gets absorbed into the stump, killing the tree from the roots so it can’t grow back.

Other types of tree stump killer contain ingredients like potassium nitrate. These are applied in the same way and cause the tree stump to go soft. This makes the stump easy to remove, but may not completely kill off the roots.

For maximum effectiveness, it’s best to use the stump killer between November and March, and during a dry period of 24-48 hours. A lot of tree stump killers suggest using the product within one week of cutting down the tree.

Apply the tree killer according to the instructions provided with it. You may need to simply paint it around top of the stump, or it may be recommended that you drill holes into the stump and pour the solution into the holes. The latter tends to be the most effective.

Once you’ve applied the solution, cover the tree stump with a sheet or tarpaulin to stop rainwater from diluting the product.

There has been some debate over the years about whether or not glyphosate is carcinogenic.

There have been several contradicting studies in the past decade – carried out by EPA, WHO and The European Food Safety Authority – so it’s best to do your own research to make an informed decision.

Similarly, there is not enough evidence to say whether triclopyr is carcinogenic or not at this time, according to the EPA.

In terms of its use, glyphosate targets and kills all plants, whilst triclopyr is a selective herbicide that primarily kills broadleaf plants and woody vegetation.

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