How to Mix Epsom Salt to Kill Stumps

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-gallon bucket

  • Box of Epsom salts (about 30 cups)

  • Electric drill

  • 1-inch drill bit

  • Funnel

A mix of Epsom salts and water can effectively kill off unwanted tree stumps.

Home and property owners face the troublesome task of removing a tree stump following cutting down a tree. Stump removal can often be the most difficult portion of the job, but should the owner use Epsom rock salt; the job is made easier. Epsom salts remove moisture deep within the stump, thus killing the stump by drying it out, but it's all for naught unless you have the proper mixture.


Step 1

Fill the 5-gallon bucket about halfway with warm but not hot water. The recommended mixture is approximate, so add 15 cups of Epsom salts to the bucket and stir until dissolved. Finish filling the bucket with water and add another 15 cups of Epsom salts to make a powerful solution.

Step 2

Stir until all remnants of salt have dissolved. Dig away any soil with a garden trowel to reveal as much of the base of the stump as possible. You'll need access to the stump's root system to increase your chances of killing off the stump and preventing growth.

Step 3

Drill one hole at least 2 inches deep into each of the four sides of the stump. If you can see some of the stump's roots showing up from the ground, drill a few holes into the thickest part of each root. Push the tip of the funnel into each hole you drilled and pour one-quarter of the solution into each hole. Use less of the solution in each hole to save some for any holes in the roots.


Step 4

Pour the solution into the holes until you see the solution drain from the holes. This is a good indicator that you've saturated the stump well. Use up all of the solution. One week later, fill the holes again with more solution.

Step 5

Check the stump each week prior to additional applications. After about a month, the wood should be drying out. If it's dry, cut out the stump; otherwise, add more solution and periodically check the stump over the next few weeks.


The higher the quantity of salt, the more powerful the effect will be.

Avoid letting the mixture spill over onto nearby plant life, as it will affect flowers, grass and plants negatively.


Kirk Maltbee

Kirk Maltbee is a freelance writer based in southwestern Virginia. A former licensed massage therapist, Maltbee has also spent considerable time as both an ACE- and NASM-certified personal fitness trainer. When not writing, he tackles home improvement projects.