Attempting to chop up and dig out a tree stump is back-breaking labor that is likely to land you in the chiropractor's office. Luckily, there are a few ways to get rid of that stump without breaking your back -- or blistering your hands, twisting your neck, or straining your arms. Here are your options:
Burning the Stump
If the stump has been around for a while and is considerably dried out, this method is likely your best option because it's fast. Wait for a dry day. Prepare the area by making a ring of bricks around the stump. You should also wet the grass directly outside the ring to further prevent the fire from spreading. Then, construct a bonfire on top of the stump. Place a good layer of newspaper or wood shaving directly on top of the stump, then add some kindling on top of that, and then stack up a few dry, split logs either in a tee-pee or cabin shape. Spray on some lighter fluid, and start the whole mess on fire.
As the fire burns, the stump will eventually catch fire. However, if the fire starts to burn out and there is still a considerable amount of stump left, you'll need to add more logs to keep the fire going strong. Feel free to roast some marshmallows while you're at it!
When the stump has burned down a few inches below the ground level, put the fire out. Let the coals cool, shovel them out, and then bury whatever is left with top soil. Plant some grass seed, and water it. The stump left below ground will slowly rot away out of sight.
Using Chemical Stump Remover
If the stump is still green and fresh, it won't burn well, so you'll need to use chemical stump remover. This product is sold at most home improvement stores. The active ingredient is potassium nitrate. If you aren't sure what to look for, talk with a professional like St Pete & Pinellas Tree Service for more information.
Use a power drill to create plenty of holes in the stump -- the more the better. Then, sprinkle the stump remover (it's usually either a powder or in granules) into the holes. Spray the stump down with water to dissolve the potassium nitrate. Then, wait about 2 weeks--or for as long as recommended on the stump remover container. The stump will become spongy and soft. You'll be able to remove chunks with your hands or with some very gentle, non-back-straining axe strokes. When you get down below the ground level, you can fill in the hole with topsoil, leaving the rest of the stump to rot away below ground.
Removing a tree stump in your yard does not have to mean wielding an axe with the strength of a lumberjack. As long as you can carry wood, drag a hose, and maybe make a few gentle axe strokes, you can get rid of a stump effectively.