How Long Does Epsom Salt Take To Kill A Stump

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 24th, 2023

If you’ve ever been left with an unsightly tree stump in your yard, you know how much of a hindrance it can be. Sure, you could hire professionals to remove it for you, but what if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly, DIY approach? That’s where Epsom salt comes in. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how Epsom salt can be an effective, safe, and inexpensive solution for tree stump removal, as well as delve into step-by-step methods to get the job done.

The Popularity of Epsom Salt for Tree Stump Removal

Epsom salt has gained traction as a do-it-yourself method for eliminating tree stumps. The substance is widely available and relatively cheap. It’s most commonly used to accelerate the decomposition of the stump, reducing the time it takes to rot naturally from several years down to just 8 to 10 weeks. This is a far cry from having to use bulky, heavy-duty machinery like stump grinders that weigh nearly 1,000 pounds.

Epsom salt on tree stump

Traditional Methods Versus Epsom Salt

The conventional way to remove a tree stump usually involves professional services and heavy-duty tools. Machines like stump grinders can grind down the stump into mulch, but it’s not a method everyone can afford. On the flip side, some adventurous individuals employ unconventional methods such as setting the stump on fire or trying to rip it out with a vehicle. These methods, while fascinating, aren’t recommended due to the safety concerns involved.

Epsom Salt: The Safe and Convenient Choice

Epsom salt, chemically known as magnesium sulfate, is commonly found in many households and serves multiple purposes. For tree stump removal, it works by drawing out the moisture from the stump and its surrounding soil. This leads to the stump and its root system drying out, thereby hastening decay. Unlike mechanical removal methods, using Epsom salt does not require specialized skills or dangerous tools, making it a safer alternative for most homeowners.

How Epsom Salt Works It’s Magic

The key components in Epsom salt are magnesium and sulfur. While these elements are essential for plant growth, an excess can lead to the plant’s demise. When applied to a tree stump, the Epsom salt leaches moisture from the stump, causing it to dry out and preventing it from absorbing essential nutrients and water. Over time, this results in the stump breaking down and decomposing, making it easier to remove manually.

A Detailed Guide: Killing a Tree Stump with Epsom Salt

Drilling Method

  • Drill multiple holes into the stump, ensuring that they are at least 8 inches deep. Use a 1-inch drill bit and space the holes a few inches apart.
  • Fill the drilled holes to the brim with Epsom salt.
  • Moisten the salt with water, but be cautious not to overwater and cause spillage.
  • If it’s a rainy season, cover the stump with a tarp to avoid dilution of the Epsom salt.
  • Repeat the process every three weeks, keeping an eye on the wood color; light wood means it’s still alive, whereas dark and brittle wood indicates the stump is dead.

Soaking Method

  • Create a mixture using a 1:2 ratio of Epsom salt to water.
  • Liberally apply this mixture to the stump and its exposed roots.
  • Cover the stump with a tarp and reapply the mixture weekly until the stump appears to be dried out.

Why Use Epsom Salt?


Hiring a professional can cost you a pretty penny. Epsom salt, on the other hand, is cost-effective and often already available in your household.

No Time Constraints

While professional removal is faster, Epsom salt offers you the benefit of not having to rush. The time it takes depends on the stump size, but patience is usually the only requirement.

Minimal Physical Effort

Other DIY methods may require strenuous physical activity. Epsom salt spares you this hassle, making it a method accessible to almost anyone.

Safety First

If you’re worried about the risks associated with other removal methods, Epsom salt offers a safer route. It involves fewer risks and is easier to manage, making it an ideal choice for many homeowners.


Are There Any Downsides?

The only significant drawback of using Epsom salt for stump removal is that it can make the soil around the stump unsuitable for planting for a while. It’s advisable to mulch and compost the area before attempting to grow anything new there.

When is the Best Time to Apply Epsom Salt?

Warmer months are generally more effective for this method. If you decide to proceed during rainy seasons, ensure you cover the stump with a tarp to protect the salt from dilution.


Epsom salt offers a unique blend of advantages for tree stump removal. Not only is it affordable and easy to use, but it’s also a safer, less physically demanding alternative to traditional methods. While it may require more time to see results, if you’re in no hurry and want to go the DIY route, Epsom salt may be the perfect solution for you.


Editorial Staff

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