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Best Stump Killers 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

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a stump killer

You know that you need a good stump killer. You just aren’t quite sure how to tell the good from the bad. Until the solution is in action, there isn’t really any way to know how effective a stump remover is.

That’s where guides like this one come into play. We’ve researched and tested out various stump removers to see which products work the best. We’ve since assembled our findings in this guide. To help make your decision, have a look at our stump killer reviews.

–> We’ve also reviewed stump grinder machines in this article

A Comparison of our Favorite Choices in 2020:

ModelPriceTreatments/pkgEditor Rating
SeedRanch Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate Crystals
SeedRanch Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate CrystalsBest Overall

Check Price
5 4.8/5
VPG Fertilome 32295
VPG Fertilome 32295 Chemical Stump Killer

Check Price
Bonide 274 728639280241
Bonide 274 728639280241 Vine & Stump KillerBest Value

Check Price
Tordon RTU 62719-031
Tordon RTU Specialty Herbicide 62719-031

Check Price
Spectracide Stump Remover Granules
Spectracide Stump Remover Granules

Check Price

The 5 Best Stump Killers:

1. SeedRanch Copper Sulfate Stump Killer – Best Overall

SeedRanch Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate Crystals

The SeedRanch Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate Crystals option is a multipurpose stump killer that you can get plenty of use from. The nice thing about this product is that it can be used for a wide variety of things: cleaning ponds, clearing out drains, killing roots, and, yes, eliminating stumps.

It’s a moderately priced, sizable bag that is good for about five treatments (with each treatment using roughly two pounds of the crystals).

It’s also pretty easy to apply. The copper sulfate is contained in sizable crystals that can be measured out easily and distributed for a perfect treatment time after time.

Our biggest issue with the SeedRanch is the packaging. We’ve found (and had several regulars confirm) that it tends to short you. While you’re supposed to get ten pounds, in reality many of the bags weigh in at closer to nine pounds. A 10% shortage isn’t insignificant. Otherwise, it’s a great all-purpose method for killing roots and mitigating algae.

  • Very versatile
  • Sizable bag
  • Easy to apply
  • Some bags are slightly lighter than advertised

2. VPG Fertilome Chemical Stump Killer

VPG Fertilome 32295 Chemical Stump Killer

The VPG Fertilome 32295 Chemical Stump Killer isn’t quite as versatile as our top choice. It’s pretty much limited to removing stumps and other heavily wooded foliage around your property. You can also use it on poison ivy. However, despite the limited applications, this is still a great way of getting rid of your stump.

The 32-ounce container has enough of the chemical for several treatments and comes in an easily applied liquid solution. To use the Fertilome, you simply apply it in undiluted form to a paintbrush, then spread it evenly over the entire surface area of the stump.

The big issue you’ll need to look out for is that the Fertilome will kill pretty much any plant it comes into contact with. If your stump is located near other plants, you will want to be very careful in how you apply it. There is also a value concern. Since this product only kills stumps, you won’t get quite as much use out of it as you would with our top choice.

However, this product will serve as a reliable way to take care of your pesky stump problem.

  • Easy to apply
  • Sizable container
  • Very potent
  • Will kill other plants
  • Not as versatile as our top choice

3. Bonide 274 Root & Stump Killer – Best Value

Bonide 274 728639280241 Vine & Stump Killer

The Bonide 274 728639280241 Vine & Stump Killer is in our best for the money position.

This bottle is about half the price of the last two options, making it a great choice if you are buying on a budget. It also advertises itself as being safe to use around your other plants, meaning it shouldn’t cause too much trouble in your garden.

However, part of the reason it’s gentle on your garden is that it isn’t extremely potent. You’ll probably need to use it several times for optimal results.

It’s not a bad stump killer, but it also won’t be as effective as some of the higher-rated options on our list.

  • Best for the money
  • Gentle on your garden
  • Not nearly as potent as other options

4. Tordon RTU Specialty Stump Removal Herbicide

Tordon RTU Specialty Herbicide 62719-031

The Tordon RTU Specialty Herbicide 62719-031 is a moderately priced option that works on a variety of different plants. You can use it to treat over twenty different types of wooded foliage, making it a good all-purpose option for problems you have in your garden. This includes stumps,  ivy, vines, and roots.

The versatility is nice because you probably won’t use the entire quart-sized container at once. Since you don’t often have a stump to remove (thankfully), the bottle may wind up sitting on a shelf in your garage for some time. If you can find a way to use the rest of it around your yard, you’ll get a lot more value from it.

The chemical solution has also been treated with a blue dye so that you can easily tell where and how thoroughly it has been applied. This helps ensure you won’t use more than you need to.

With all these great features, why does Tordon find itself second to last on our list?

It isn’t quite as potent as it claims to be. With stumps, Tordon does a pretty good job of taking care of your problem, but it’s hit-and-miss with the other plants it claims to address. It will also kill grass, so you’ll need to be very careful how you apply it.

  • Works well on stumps
  • Dyed blue for ease of use
  • Doesn’t work quite as well as advertised
  • Will kill your grass

5. Spectracide Stump Killer Granules

Spectracide Stump Remover Granules

The Spectracide Stump Remover Granules are another budget choice that will be great if you aren’t looking to spend a lot of money.

Unfortunately, though, the price is the only selling point. The Spectracide will work to a certain extent, but results are inconsistent, and it isn’t nearly as potent as the other options we’ve seen today. It takes a long time to kick in, and in many situations, it won’t work at all.

If it does work for you, that’s great. If not, you will need to find a different option, which will certainly cancel out the budget-friendliness of this stump killer’s sticker price.

  • Affordable
  • Not very effective
  • Takes a long time to kick in

Buyer’s Guide

You’ve now read the reviews, but perhaps you still find yourself needing a little bit more information before making your decision. That’s why we’ve assembled this list of buying considerations.

First, What Exactly are We Talking About Here?

The idea of stump killer might strike some people as a little strange. After all, it’s a stump we’re talking about. It’s already dead, right?

The job of a stump killer is to induce and accelerate rotting. Within a few days of using the solution, you should find that the stump is thoroughly decomposed and easy to extract.

There are several different means of getting rid of stumps, including grinding them into dust and digging massive ditches in your yard to completely extract the stump and its roots. Stump killer is both the least invasive and most affordable do-it-yourself option for stump removal.

Safety First

You’ll want to practice safety when applying stump killer. Generally speaking, the chemicals used for this job are very harsh, so you’ll want to be careful with them. Avoid direct contact with your skin, and keep children and pets away from the area where the chemicals are applied.


Some of the options we saw today had multiple purposes. For example, our top pick could also be used for anything from reducing algae in a pond to removing roots in your pipes.

While you might only need to kill a stump right now, you might find it a good idea to get a multipurpose option. After all, you never know when you’ll need to unclog a drain or clean a pond.


Stump killer can get pricey. Higher-end bottles buy you a little bit of quality assurance. While there are never any guarantees, the idea is that you are paying for active ingredients that will work faster and better.

You can always roll the dice with cheaper options, but you do so at your own risk. The last thing you want is to have to buy another bottle, right?


The thing about poison is that…it’s poison. Chemicals that can kill your stump also won’t be so good for your garden. If you have a big stump problem, there may be no getting around the need for some heavy-duty chemicals.

However, if your situation is more moderate, you may be able to get away with a mild, possibly even organic solution. As a general rule of thumb, the less poison you can use in your garden, the better off you will be.


Our stump killer reviews say plenty about the products, but the one thing they won’t do is tell you which one to buy. That choice is still yours, but we can help to make it at least a little bit easier.

If you want to make certain your unsightly stump bites the dust, go with the SeedRanch Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate Crystals. This product is fast-acting and efficient, making it a great choice for your stump removal needs.

If you need to keep budget in mind, you might find a friend in our best for the money pick. The Bonide 274 728639280241 Vine & Stump Killer is praised both for its affordability and its effectiveness, making it a competitive choice.

Of course, thanks to this guide you’re now something of an expert on stump killer, so you can get the best one for your yard.

RELATED: Stump grinding or removal -> Which method do we recommend?

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!