Whether you’re clearing the yard or a new pool or restoring the garden after winter, you’ll be stuck with tree stumps. And while chopping down the tree may have seemed like the hardest part, you’re not done yet! The stump can still sprout seedlings and start growing a new tree!
Or the roots could rot and spread fungal infections to the rest of your garden. So you want to be sure you’ve completely uprooted the stump. Or you could use herbicides and other chemical killers. But what’s the best tree stump killer in the UK? Let’s begin with brand listings.
The Best Tree Stump Killer In UK
The Best Tree Stump Killer In UK 2021
1. Bonide Stump-Out + Vine Killer
Stump-Out is pretty popular with our American cousins. It’s just starting to gain traction here, but not too many Brits have heard the name. Let’s change that. Stump-Out is a multifunctional concentrate so it does need dilution before you can use it. But only if you’re spraying it on a lawn or broadleaf weeds. If you’re using it in a single stump or vine, you can apply it undiluted.
Make a notch or cut on the stump and use the brush applicator to paint the spot. Or a vine, you can cop down the vine and cover its stump because it’ll probably a slim climber with a thin diameter. Or tree stumps, it’s not economical to brush the whole surface. But if you’re spot-treating, uproot the sprout, cut a notch where it was growing, and paint it to prevent regrowth.
When you’re shopping for stump killers, consider your plans. For some gardeners, chemicals are only the first step. They weaken and kill the stump so you can later grind and uproot it. Stump-Out isn’t ideal or that scenario because it may stop regrowth but it won’t destroy the stump or weaken its roots. For that, you may need a product focused on root rot.
Also, the product is intended for fresh use. You need to paint the stump immediately after lopping it. So if you’re trying to get rid of an old stump, saw off the top layer to provide a fresh surface. You can then paint the ‘raw’ stump and get better results. This can be especially useful if you plan to repurpose the stumps. They make great garden stools. Or mounting posts for lights.
One thing to keep in mind is rain. When you’re using Stump-Out or widespread application, you’ll mix 4 to 8oz (about 100 to 150ml) of Stump-Out for every 4 to 5 litres of water. But if you’re controlling vines and stumps, the paint goes directly on the plant rings. If it rains within 24 hours, everything will wash away. And considering it rains every two or three days here …
Stump-Out is a top seller in the US and is starting to make tracks here. But keep an eye on the weatherman – you need at least one day of dry weather to ‘seal the chemicals in’.
- It has a brush or easy application.
- The product kills vines and broadleaf weeds as well.
- It’s a concentrate so you get more usage than you’d think.
- It may not work on all vines. Oriental Bittersweets, Trumpet Vines, and Trees of Heaven are notoriously resistant.
2. Copper Tree Stump Killing Nails
A lot of us are into modern gardening and contemporary landscaping. But sometimes, it’s better to do things the old-fashioned way. And it helps if these ‘traditional techniques’ are pocket-friendly and good for the environment. In this case, copper nails fit both bills. Copper is toxic to trees, so digging a few pieces into a stump or vine will slowly and gently kill it off.
These copper nails come as a set of 20. They’re moulded copper ore that is certified for its high levels of purity. This matters because copper is the chemical element that does the actual killing. So the purer and more concentrated it is, the more effective you ‘killing blows’. And while nails seem more … humane … than harsh chemicals, you still need to look out for your safety.
Meaning you should hold the nails carefully to avoid hammering your thumbs. Or pricking your fingers. Remember that copper has a rich reddish-brown hue that looks pretty at first. But over time, especially with exposure to UK weather, it will take on that typical green patina. And some o tat sickly green will stain your stump. (But you’re trying to kill it so a little ‘gangrene’ is okay.)
Also, keep in mind copper is a super sot metal. That’s why no matter how beautiful its texture and tone, copper is often alloyed before it can be moulded or cast. But because these are pure copper, the nails are vulnerable. Use a soft touch as you mount them in your stumps or vines. Ideally, pre-drill the holes to avoid unnecessary strain and pressure on these 6.5cm nails.
The nails have flattened heads, sharpened tips, and are 3.35mm thick. Drill holes as close to that diameter as possible. Buy an identically-sized nail in steel or iron and use it to pre-bore the holes. If the hole is too loose, the copper won’t sit snug and will have less contact with the wood, reducing efficacy. If it’s too tight, you’ll damage the nails as they force their way into the wood.
If you’re into conservation, would rather avoid artificial chemicals, and are willing to wait a while, use these copper nails to kill your tree stump. Dig them in diagonally near the base.
- You don’t need special skills.
- It doesn’t leach potential toxins into the soil.
- They’re affordable so they’re easily replaced.
- You’ll need a nail gun or power drill to pre-dig the holes.
3. Roundup Tree Stump + Root Killer
It’s all there in the name – Roundup. This herbicide is thorough at ‘rounding up’ unwanted weeds and tree stumps. But it can sometimes be too aggressive, killing off some of the plants you’d rather keep. So be careful how and where you apply it. It works swiftly on ivy and weeds, killing them almost immediately. But or tree stumps, you’ll have to wait a month or three.
The bottle says ‘super concentrate’ and it is. So you have to dilute it depending on your needs. For example, if you want to kill the stump of a deciduous tree, mix 100ml with a litre of water. For conifers, use 200ml of liquid concentrate per litre of water. Roundup is a full spectrum herbicide. Meaning it works above and inside the soil, getting into leaves, stems, and roots.
It kills off stumps and leaves in anything from a week to a month. The pace depends on the plant species, weather, and the intensity of the task. And while this chemical is quite harsh, its toxicity nullifies once the plant dies. So you safely use the leavings (pun intended) for compost and mulch. Or dig those dead leaves back into the same piece of ground for humus and worm-feed.
Avoid applying this herbicide near plants and vegetables because it will kill them off. Especially on windy days where stray bits of spray can waft into your lower beds and seed pods. But you can safely use it on kerbs, pavements, driveways, and pathways to minimise your weeding work. If you’re targeting specific plants, check the instructions for dosage and application method.
Perennial weeds and broadleaf weeds are good with 15ml of Roundup per litre of water. These include dandelions and thistles. fOr tougher nuts like rhododendron, you need 0ml per litre while saplings, brambles, and bracken will do with 0ml per litre. These are all spray applications. For stumps, paint the top and edges of the stump or cut notches into the bark.
The beauty o Roundup is its multiple methods of application. You can dilute it, paint it, spray it, or use the included pipette. Time your treatment right tough – you don’t want active spring sap.
- It mixes 15 litres, which can kill up to 16 tree stumps.
- It targets common weeds like brambles, knotweed, ivy, and nettles.
- The product gets down to the deepest roots, not just the surface stump.
- It’s a non-selective killer so you may lose some desirable plants in the process.
4. Vitax Tree Stump Killer Concentrate
Seasons seem universal, but their timing and conditions vary. So when you see a product advises you to apply it at a certain time of year, check where the product was made. Vitax is a local product manufactured here in the UK, so you can trust the timing on the packet. They suggest late summer to early autumn (June to August). That’s when weeds are actively sprouting.
You can also use it during the winter months. What you’re avoiding is springtime growth when the sap is lively and active. By then, the weeds are more established so they’re harder to kill. Also, the toxin can rise through the sap and end up damaging surrounding plants via pollination and sporing. But if you’re killing a stump or best results, apply Vitax as soon as you chop it down.
On older stumps, you can slice a few inches off the top to expose a fresh layer. This matters because the herbicide ‘takes’ best on wettish wood. But remember, this is a really strong chemical. You should only apply it on leisurely grass (never pasture). Don’t apply it anywhere near fruits or vegetables. The chemical travels quickly through plants, effectively contaminating food crops.
Vitax is a solid granule, so it works best when conditions are damp. Particularly if you’re after weeds that have woody stems and branches. Vitax works by attacking the roots of the plant or stump. It’s quite strong and acts slowly. So if you plan to reseed your grass, wait at least 6 weeks before planting. And if you need a repeat treatment, don’t do it more than twice a season.
Most tree stump killers contain glyphosate. This one doesn’t. Its active ingredient is triclopyr. It’s a safer alternative because it leaves the soil quicker, allowing you to replant (or repeat the treatment) within two months. You can dissolve the product in water, but or stumps, solid application is best. Drill holes into the top of the stump, closer to the outer edges and bark.
Pack these holes with Vitax granules, cover with a waterproof tarp, and wait. You can also dilute your chemical (100 to 200ml) with water and paint or spray the stump. It’s quite convenient.
- You can kill up to 8 stumps.
- It has zero glyphosates.
- It works best for lawns.
- The application process is a bit more involving.
5. Doff Tree Stump Killer + Weed Killer
Many UK weed killers have the same target list. You’ll see Japanese knotweed, bracken, dandelions, and nettles. Doff Tree adds one more … willow-herb. Which is every bit as pretty as it sounds … but is still a weed if it’s growing where you don’t want it. But while the herbicide properties are impressive, we’re more interested in its results regarding tree stumps.
The box carries two sachets that each hold 80ml of product. The tree stump killer is in liquid form, so you dissolve the sachet into a litre of water. That’s enough to spray or paint a single tree stump. Ideally, drill holes into the top of the stump and fill them with diluted Doff. It travels throughout the plant, including any leaves and all roots. The stump will die within 7 to 4 days.
If you’re using it on leafy weeds, dilute a sachet in two or three litres of water. That would comfortably treat a 25m2 garden. You can then spray this over your lawn. This is a glyphosate chemical and it’ll stay in the soil for a while. So be careful if you have a pond (or river or lake) nearby – it could poison the fish and frogs. Also, double-check the weather on application day.
You don’t want the rain washing it all away. You should also avoid applying it in windy conditions because the spray could stray. And even if you’re painting on the product or sluicing it into pre-drilled holes in the stump, the wind will evaporate your fluid faster. Some stumps are especially stubborn so you can paint the stump with a higher concentration in 20ml of water.
- It takes a week or two to kill stumps and weeds.
- The formula contains 90g of glyphosate per litre.
- A little goes a long way (up to 3 litres!).
- It’s potentially poisonous to nearby water dwellers.
6. Resolva Xtra Tough Liquid Sachets (Our Top Pick)
Exploring tree stump killers is a great way to learn weed names. You probably know what they look like already – those sunny dandelions and lavender willow-herb. But you may not know their street names (or even their Latin ‘work’ ones!). Here are a few more weeds Resolva can … resolve: bindweed, buttercup, and creeping thistle. Lovely names and flowers – just not for you.
But let’s talk tree stumps. As powerful as Resolva is, the strength of its formula is sometimes a liability. Case in point – one sachet can kill up to three trees. But you can re-seal the sachet once it’s open. You have to drain all the contents or dilution. So if you have a single stump to treat, the product is a bit of a waste. You may find yourself weeding elsewhere just to use it up.
Resolva has a long lifespan in the soil. It can stop weeds from re-emerging for several years. So if you plan to hold on to the stump (as opposed to grinding it or digging it out), you get long-term protection from sprouts. Which is crucial if you want to use the stump decoratively. You could convert it to a bench or work surface and you don’t want your stump-table sprouting leaves.
Timing matters though. Or stumps, the best time is from November to March. These are snowy months when the trees (and stump) are naturally dormant so it’s easier to hasten their demise. Between March and October, weeds are sprouting and sap is rising. So that’s a good time to kill weeds because the ‘medicine’ will flow through the plants faster and therefore be more effective.
In terms of weed killer, the manufacturer is clear in listing the weeds they treat. And every weed has specific instructions on the mixing formula. If you’re unsure about weed names, a quick Google image search could be helpful – just shoot the weeds on your phone, upload, and search.
Resolva is the best tree stump killer we’ve seen so far. (And it kills almost 30 weed varieties too!) Apply it on your tree stump within a week of felling for optimal results. Or saw off the top layer.
- You can kill three stumps with one sachet.
- It controls close to 30 types of weeds.
- The sachet styling leaves minimal clean-up after mixing.
- It’s toxic while wet so keep the kids and pets away!
7. Bayer Garden Tree Stump Killer
When you’re unsure of where to start with this stump killing business, you’ll go for a brand you trust. And Bayer has name recognition so that’s already a massive leg up. And it’s a treasure or gardening novices. You don’t need to worry about complex mixing ratios and designated equipment. Bayer packs the product in soluble sachets, so just drop one into the water and done.
Each box has three sachets and one sachet is enough to treat and kill a whole tree stump. The sachets contain 8g of glyphosate granules. And it doesn’t just target tree stumps. This herbicide can kill a long list of common intrusive plants. These include bracken, knotweed, couch grass, ground elder, ivy and rhododendron. It’s especially effective against perennials with deep roots.
The sachet solution – pun intended – is a good one. How so? While it’s easy to paint a few drops onto a skinny vine, it can be tricky to figure out stumps. You may end up wasting a lot of the product. Or burning your fingers. With Bayer, three sachets kill three stumps so your shopping list is easier to compile. And the product biodegrades naturally, so there’s no long-term toxicity.
Meaning you can plant new trees, veggies, flowers, or herbs on the same spot. The concentration of this chemical is 680g per kilo so it has solid killing power. One sachet mixes into about 150ml of water and there are instructions on the box. Pour or paint the mixture all over the raw surface of the stump. And as always, if it’s an older stump, saw an inch or so off the top surface first.
Bayer Garden (SBM) is a multipurpose product that can kill close to ten common weeds. And it kills tree stumps too. Apply it on a calm day with no harsh winds and no rain expected.
- It’s safe for replanting.
- It can kill brush, brambles, and nettles too.
- The product is easy to mix and use.
- It works best after a prolonged dry spell … which we rarely have here so …
Some gardeners are completely against chemicals. So whether it’s a growth agent or a pest preventer, they prefer organic options. And in that case, fully uprooting the stump is essential. You could use a winch or mini-excavator. You could also use a stump grinder. But if you’re at peace with commercial tree stump killers, here are some things to consider while you shop.
The best tree stump killer needs living tissue to be effective. So you need to apply it immediately after chopping down the tree. Some tree stump killers are granular and can be placed directly on the stump. Others come ready to use while others must be dissolved. Depending on the type and presentation of your chemical, getting it onto your dying wood can be quick or complicated.
Some chemicals are sprayed on the stump. With others, you chisel notches into the bark or cut grids on the surface of the stump. There are even products where you dig holes or drill nails then fill the gap with chemical granules. Pick a product you’re comfortable dispensing. Seasoned gardeners may be fine with a chisel and nail gun. DIY-ers might be happier with a spray can.
For the environmentally-minded, you can read the product label. Most tree stump killers are based on glyphosate. But lots of other chemicals can kill tree stumps. Copper is especially effective at killing trees. So you could get away with a copper-based product or just screw some large copper nails into the stump. Other options are bleach, Epsom salts, or regular herbicides.
On average, a tree stump killer takes two to six weeks to fully kill the stump. So if you opt for a surface product, you’ll need to be sure it can’t hurt you. If the kids play on the stump, or if pets, neighbourhood rodents, or even staff get exposed, it could contaminate them. Plus with the rain here being so regular, the chemicals leach easily. Cordon off the stump to avoid health hazards.
You’re probably killing the tree stump because you can’t physically grind and/or extract it. Or maybe it’s an older stump that has recently started sprouting and/or rotting. So getting rid of the stump may not be your only chore. Maybe you’re replanting the grass, shrubs, and greenery. Or maybe you’re clearing the site or fresh construction, upgraded infrastructure, and renovation.
So you might follow up with a concrete foundation. Or fertiliser or your new plants. So check that the product carries out those extra tasks. Some tree stump killers will kill vines, weeds, and even some garden pests. I the aim is to reseed or replant, you may want a weed-n-feed product. And of course, if the stump is close to a water source, you want to avoid accidental poisoning.
Stop That Stump!
Based on the research we’ve done, we recommend buying Resolva. Here’s why:
- It kills over 25 species of weeds.
- You get two sachets per box, each killing three tree stumps.
- The sachets are pre-measured or in perfect proportions.
- Said sachets are soluble or easy mixing and application.
- You can use it to control unwanted grasses like couch grass.
- It keeps the weeds and sprouts away or years at a time.
- You can pour sachets directly into spray bottle mixers. No fuss, no mess!
What tree stump killing methods have you tried? Tell us (or show us) in the comments!