How To Preserve A Tree Stump

When you have a tree cut down in your backyard, you need to deal with the tree stump. Removing them can cause an enormous mess and leave a vast hole you need to deal with.

Keeping tree stumps can be an alternative; although tree stumps can attract pests and disease, they can enhance the attractiveness of your yard or house if properly treated.

When you preserve your tree stump, rather than burning or digging up your stump, you can seal it. A stump can be made into a natural chair in your home’s outdoor living space.

tree stump

In our guide, you can learn more about how to preserve wood stumps. By the end, you’ll see how to preserve a tree stump still in the ground so it won’t rot or attract any of the nasties associated with dead wood. (Learn How Long Does It Take a Tree to Grow)

How do you keep a tree stump from rotting?

When a tree in your landscaping dies, you need to have it cut down so it won’t fall and hurt your family or your home. In many cases, you have no choice to remove the stump, or you risk losing the curb appeal of your home.

However, here, we can see how to use such a tree stump to add fresh personality to your outdoor living space.

You can use them as a chair if it’s 1 foot tall and has a decent surface; you can even use them as part of a stump table set. Whatever ingenious way you find to use them, you need to stop the stump from decomposing.

You will find all tree stumps decompose, yet you can delay this by a considerable number of years with these steps.

All tree stumps disintegrate in their natural state. It’s not a quick process, and a stump may take two to ten years to disintegrate, where it will finally convert to a fine sawdust-like material through this process.

The one thing that causes such decomposition is fungi, and to stop the tree stump from rotting, you need to preserve a tree stump to stop the fungi from growing. (Learn How to Get Rid of a Tree Stump with Charcoal)

Using fungicides can protect against rot-causing fungi, yet sealing the surface with a finish can be your best hope to preserve tree stump.

  1. Begin with scrubbing the stump’s surface.
  2. Remove leftover bark or bumps, so there is a smooth hardwood surface
  3. Use a damp, clean washcloth, and run over the stump’s surface to remove dirt or small debris.
  4. Buff the surface using high-grit paper, then work to a fine-grit paper. Sanding your stump is optional, yet it results in a smoother surface, which seals easier.
  5. Use a premium wood sealant product to protect the wood. Apply two or three coats of polyurethane wood sealer onto the surface using a small to medium-sized brush. Ensure you cover the top along with the sides.
  6. Allow 48 hours minimum for the sealant to dry after finishing, and then your stump should be protected against mold or fungi.

grassy tree stump

How long will a tree stump last?

Depending on the type of tree and the surrounding environment, stumps can take anywhere from 2 to 10 years to decompose. Pine trees and softer woods decay faster, whereas a Hickory tree can take up to twice as long to decay.

It would help if you began by chopping the tree as low as workable. Obviously, the lower the stump is, the faster it will decompose.

Ask a tree service to cut the stump as low as possible if you’re having the trees cut down.

Because pine and poplar trees don’t have above-ground root systems that branch out from the trunk, these stump cuts should only be a few inches above the ground.

Cedar trees and trees with wide flaring trunks can’t be cut as low to the ground as other trees; therefore, cutting them lower would cost more.

Hickory trees take longer to decompose and decay. The tougher, denser woods keep out the moisture and air that are required to break down the wood. (Learn How to Grow a Lemon Tree From a Seed)

If you keep your stump, it is best to make sure it is dry before working on it. Here you can see how to dry out a tree stump before your DIY preservation project.

Use two gallons of water to one gallon of Epsom Salt. Pour the solution on the stump so the salt can draw out the moisture. Do this once per week for several weeks. To fully dry, you can find it takes around 6 months. Keep the stump dry under tarp, but let air in, or it will rot.

Do you need to treat a tree stump?

Here’s how to save a tree stump if you find a dead, dying, or removed a tree that has a viable foundation. Depending on your end aim, there are a couple of approaches. If the stump is left, bugs see it as a pleasant, comfortable home, and you want to avoid this.

You can preserve it or remove it and preserve it for DIY projects for outdoor furniture such as a chair, table, or planter according to size.

The wood must be sanded and treated with a wood stabilizer before being used. When you have a tree stump still in good shape, you may preserve it following a few simple steps. The best wood is long-lasting and won’t decay or disintegrate easily. Redwood, oak, and western red cedar are a few examples of fine woods.

For Trees with Still-In-Ground Roots

Things are a little different for trees that meet the wood type requirement but will be harvested soon. To begin, you need to remove the tree stump, then saw off the piece you want to use.

Before you begin the sanding and treatment process, the wood has to be totally dry. Based on the thickness of your selected piece, you’ll need to dry it outside for at least six months. It can take upward of six months and needs to be done in a dry location like your garage or shed to let it dry.

cut tree

How do you treat a stump?

It might be costly to remove old tree stumps from your yard. Consider turning the base into an ornamental showcase rather than trying to remove the tree fragments. Hollowing out the stump and using it as a planter is one way.

This method is appropriate for stumps that have already begun to decay on the inside. Before you start, look for termites and get rid of them.

If you have multiple tree stumps close together, you can also cut them down flat and create a garden around them. If you preserve the stump, you can use it as a seat or a tree stump table if the top is set flat. (Learn How to Decorate a Tree Stump)

Make a Pedestal

An old tree stump may be used as a platform, adding to the beauty of your home’s outside. You could put statues or colored globes or a plant on top of them, then surround them with flowers and ground cover for color and texture.

Climbing vines and ivy commonly use tall tree stumps as a trellis rather than your house.

Make A Feature

You may want to make some beautiful home furniture, such as a stump tree table. After you’ve cut the stump down to ground level, you’ll need to preserve it. Before applying any preservation chemical to the stumps, make sure they are totally dry. Place the cut pieces in a covered area for three to six months, away from rain or other moisture. This makes the process easier by ensuring old bark is easier to remove.

Materials You Need

  • Sand
  • Epoxy
  • Polyurethane sealant to help preserve
  • Stain


  • Orbital Sander and sanding pads in 60,80,120 and 220 grit
  • Foam brush
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Various Chisels
  • Hammer
  • Various stain brushes

The first step is to use a chisel or rotary hammer to remove the bark. Depending on the age of the stump, you may need to utilize a few different instruments.

To make a flat surface, sand the stump. To achieve the desired effect, you can use two different grit sandpapers.

Vacuum out all the cracks to get rid of any remaining dust. If there are any big or deep cracks, sand them down and then use a clear or colored epoxy to fill them in.

To keep the epoxy from escaping out the cracks, tape the sides and bottom of the stump below the cracks.

It’s ideal if you wait until the stump has reached room temperature before applying a stain or preserver. The wood can then be stabilized and sealed to prevent it from cracking, warping, or rotting.

Begin with a small amount of stabilizer and gradually add the amount as needed. As you pour the stabilizer into the wood, it will absorb it.

Cover the stump with plastic and let it dry for 2-4 hours. Allow for complete drying between layers of sealant.

You can go over the top and sides with two more coats. You will need your sander to sand with the finest grit before you add the final coat of sealant to seal it and stop termites taking a shine to it.

How To Preserve A Tree Stump (2)

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