Killing Tree Stumps With Motor Oil & Diesel!

Tree stumps are the bane for many gardeners. If you have one in your yard, it can seem like there is nothing to do but kill it with chemicals or dig up the roots – both of which are not exactly desirable options.

Fortunately, there is another option that you may not know about: killing tree stumps with motor oil!

This technique works by injecting engine oil into the stump until it reaches its heartwood. You can do this with a drill and a syringe, an oil drip system, or even just by pouring it in.

Once the engine oil gets to the heartwood of the stump, it begins to break down cellulose and lignin, which make up its tissues. This eventually gums up their vascular systems to not bring water from the roots to the leaves, killing the tree.

This article will help you learn more about this process of killing tree stumps with motor oil.

Is this a Good Option for Killing Tree Stumps?

Motor oil works great when killing tree stumps. It can take several months to work, but it is incredibly effective for this purpose. Using motor oil is also a lot safer than using harsh chemicals, which can be dangerous to your plants and pets if they get into the wrong places.

It is also a great option to consider if you want to kill off stubborn roots in your yard or garden. This will help you avoid having to dig up the root of your tree, which can be a lot more time-consuming and labor-intensive than taking care of it with motor oil!

It works best on more giant tree stumps, but you can also use it on smaller ones if you have a lot of them. Just be sure to put some thought into how many gallons of oil that would take, because any more than you need is a waste of your time and money!

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How to Kill Tree Stumps With Motor Oil and Diesel

Things That You Need!

  • A Power drill for drilling holes
  • Wood Boring Bit 
  • An oil drip system or a syringe and needle

Steps to Killing Tree Stumps With Motor Oil!

Step one:  Drill Holes on The Tree Stumps!

The first step to kill tree stumps is to drill holes in the stump. The best way to do this is with a power drill and bit that matches the size of your syringe or oil drip system. 

Drill about 12 or more holes around the circumference of your tree stump.

Be sure to drill them at least two inches deep into the bark, but no more than four if you are using an oil drip system because it can cause the oil to pool.

Removing a tree stump by hand

Step two: Fill The Holes With Oil!

Once you have drilled your holes, it’s time to fill them with oil and allow the stump to sit for several months while it takes effect.

You can use a syringe or an oil drip system (if you prefer) to get more of the oil into the stump where it needs to go.

You can also just pour engine or motor oil directly onto the tree stumps if you don’t have either of these items!

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Step three: Sit Back and Watch The Tree Stump Die!

After several months, your tree stump will be dead – which means that all you need to do is remove its remains from your yard.

This is also a good time to keep an eye out for any sprouts that might appear – if they do, just repeat the process until they are gone.

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Why is killing tree stumps with motor oil better than using chemicals or digging them up?

Using chemicals to kill a tree stump can be dangerous because it could get into the soil and affect whatever plants you might want in your garden. Using motor oil, on the other hand, is much safer for both your yard and wildlife!

You might think that it would be easier to just dig the stump out of your yard, but this isn’t possible in most cases.

Tree roots can extend six or more feet into the ground, and removing that much earth will likely damage surrounding plants or landscaping features, which makes this method time-consuming and expensive!

How do you get rid of stumps in your yard?

FAQ’s: Killing tree stumps with motor oil

What if I don’t want to buy an oil drip system?

You don’t need to buy an oil drip system to use motor oil to kill tree trunks. You can just pour engine or motor oil directly onto the roots instead, and it will work effectively!

The only difference is that you’ll have a more challenging time getting as much of the oil into the stump’s bark if you go this route – but it still works great!

You can also use more basic tools like a funnel and a string to pour oil into the holes.

Can I use motor oil to kill an entire tree?

You can if you want, but it won’t be easy. This method works best for killing small trees or their roots – not the main trunk of a large one.

It might take several years before your tree dies completely using this approach, so just keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to try it out yourself!

How long does it usually take for the trees to decompose after using this motor oil?

It takes at least six months before your dead trees are completely decomposed by nature – but how quickly that happens depends on the size of the wood and many other factors too small to go into here!

What other types of oils can I use?

In addition to using standard diesel from your vehicle, there are some other options as well.

If you happen to be a mechanic, you might already have access to various kinds of hydraulic fluid, making this substance another cheap alternative.

In most cases, these should all work well at removing stumps from your yard!

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Killing tree stumps with motor oil is an easy, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly way to get rid of these otherwise unsightly features in your yard.

Plus, it doesn’t take very long before the dead trunks are completely gone – so you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful vista again soon!

Ground sinking where tree was removed


  • Ricky

    Hi, I’m Ricky. I’ve been involved in lawn care and landscaping from when I was 15. To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of pushing mowers, collecting grass clippings, and maintaining flowerbeds at the time. But having seem the passion my parents had for gardening and outdoors and the effort they put in maintaining the health and beauty of our landscape, I couldn’t help but not only admire their hard work but also I became a part of it. As someone who loves to spend time with nature’s best, I find myself learning a lot more about gardening and outdoors on a daily basis. Not to mention I love to share the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with my readers at We Mow Dallas. To be clear, I don’t have a Master’s degree in gardening or anything like that. Everything I’ve learned about gardening, landscaping, and lawn care spring from passion and engagement with my parents. And with a ton of free information out there, plus the ability to run tests and determine what works best for lawn care and landscaping, every day is an opportunity to learn and implement something new. My goal with We Mow Dallas is to teach you exactly how to maintain your lawn and landscape. And since I walk the talk in reality, you shouldn’t hesitate to join me in this wonderful world of landscaping and lawn care. K Beatrice

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