This summer in Saskatchewan, we have had some wicked weather that has knocked over some very old and very large trees. The remaining stump is an unsightly reminder of a once beautiful tree. Getting rid of the stump can be done naturally with Epsom Salts. The following article comes from Healthy Holistic Living.
Why does Epsom Salt Work? After a tree has been felled, the root network will continue to feed the stump. A living stump will not rot and may grow new shoots. Epsom salt (or magnesium sulfate) is hygroscopic, which means the crystals absorb water. In sufficient quantity, Epsom salt pulls moisture from the wood, which then kills the tree.

There are many substances that could be applied to a tree stump to kill it, but Epsom salt has advantages over other stump removal chemicals. Rock salt or caustic lye would dry out the wood, but high sodium levels could make it difficult to replant after the stump has been removed. Commercial stump removal preparations contain potassium nitrate, which aids decomposition but does little to kill a living stump. Epsom salt kills the stump while improving the surrounding soil by adding magnesium and sulfur; plants require both for chlorophyll production.(1)”

Step 1: Drill six to eight 1/2-inch to 1-inch wide holes, depending on the size of the stump, into the freshly cut trunk that are approximately 6 to 8 inches deep. The holes need to be wide enough to pour Epsom salt into them and deep enough into the trunks flesh for the salt to be absorbed through the roots.

Step 2: Fill the holes with Epsom salt, poking it down into the hole with a stick if needed. Completely pack each hole with salt for the best results.

Step 3: Pour approximately a 1- to 2-inch layer of Epsom salt over the top of the freshly cut stump. It is best to apply the salt mixture to the stump while the cut is fresh so it will better be absorbed into the stump’s inner layers and into the root system.

Step 4: Cover the stump with a thick black trash bag and secure by strapping it to the trunk using a bungee cord or rope. This will keep any light or moisture from reaching the trunk and keep the salt in place.

Step 5: Allow the plastic bag to remain securely in place over the stump for at least three months or until the stump is completely dead. Remove the plastic bag and check the stump for rotting and decay, a sure sign the stump in addition to its roots are dead and will not re-sprout (2).

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5 Responses to Use Epsom Salts To Rot A Tree Stump Naturally
  1. Last monday I had a mapletree cut down I just did the epsom-salt treatment to give it a try will let u know in the next 3 months on how it did.

  2. I will try this too. I really appreciate the comments about soil treatment. Love that I am adding to the necessary growth of the soil rather than placing harmful chemicals in the environment. I live in Costa Rica. I am wondering if the natural heat and moisture will add to the speed of destroying the stump? Also, I will be leaving in March to return in November. I will have my gardener check under the bag :) What to do if the process is not finished… a second application? Leave the bag off and let nature finish the job? It will be rainy season when I am away so I am wondering how it will be effected. If I do the treatment this week we will still be in dry season for at least 2 months. Any feedback? Thank you :)

    • I cannot say how long it would take for a tree stump to rot out in Costa Rica, I would think a much shorter time than here in Canada where we have winter for 6 months and extremely cold temperatures. As with any natural product, it does take longer to work than chemicals. Please don’t give up. Several applications may be needed. My brother is trying this for me but it is going to take longer due to our weather. Thank you for contacting us.


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