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How to Remove Underwater Tree Stumps and Shrubs

Underwater stumps, shrubs, and bushes can wreak havoc on boats, marine vessels, and swimmers. They’re unsightly, serve no real purpose, and pose a hazard to everyone or everything that comes into contact with them.

So, how do you remove a tree stump or brush a few feet underwater?

We will give you four DIY tips and one final tip on removing stumps and brushes that can save you boatloads of time, trouble, and money.

Stump Grinder

A stump grinder is the apparent first choice to remove an underwater stump. If the stump is not within reach of the shoreline, proceed directly to the second step. While on dry land, stump grinders are miracle workers. They cut, dice, and slice through even the most stubborn tree stumps.

The problem with using a stump grinder on an underwater stump is keeping the device on dry land. While this may work for a stump in a few inches of water, larger and taller stumps will not.

Also, remember that stumps can take hours to grind down completely. Just because you’re using heavy machinery doesn’t mean the pace of the job will go any quicker.


Yes, you can use dynamite or even Tannerite to remove tree stumps. As a bonus, you might also catch a limit of fresh fish for the day. The problem with using explosives to remove tree stumps is that you can’t precisely buy them at Home Depot.

It would be best if you went to a specialty store; even then, it’s a hassle.

Using dynamite near a boat dock is also not generally recommended. Unless you have a military background (and training in explosives), there’s a good chance you’re going to use too much or too little explosives either to remove the tree stump. If you use too little, there’s an even higher chance of accidentally using too much to make up for the first attempt.


Suppose explosives, heavy machinery, and underwater chainsaws don’t exactly give you a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of your stomach. In that case, you can always try the chemical approach. This process will only work if the stump is above the water.

You’ll need to buy a chemical (usually in powder form) specifically designed to kill tree stumps. Drill a few deep holes into the stump and pour the chemical powder inside. Cover it up and go take the rest of the afternoon off. In a few weeks, the chemicals you put into the tree stump will dissolve, making it very easy to remove.

Winch and Chain

If you can get a strong chain around the stump, you can winch it from the bottom of the lake. For situations like this, you should clear the immediate areas surrounding the stump to ensure no branches or other roots could interfere with the removal.

This option may or may not work, depending on your ability to get the chain securely wrapped around the stump so that it will hug it tight when you fire up the winch. You’ll also need a winch capable of yanking a stubborn tree stump from the lake bottom.

Underwater Tree Stump Removal Done the Right Way

As you can see from the four examples above, clearing a tree stump or brush from the bottom of a lake or river is a challenging task. In fact, for the untrained person, it’s pretty dangerous. If you have a stubborn stump that refuses to budge, call the experts at (817) 377-8512.

At American Underwater Services, we specialize in tree stump and brush removal. Even though our base is in Fort Worth, we can travel to any state to assist you in removing stumps and brush from nearby docks or other parts of the lake. Contact us today and let the professionals handle the dangerous job of removing a stubborn tree stump from the bottom of a lake.



Anthony Di Iulio the founder, president and co-owner of American Underwater Services, Inc., started his business in 1999 with only three employees. Today this commercial diving company employs nearly 30 people and handles over 500 projects annually. Anthony moved to Fort Worth from Louisiana with his family in 1976. He worked summers during high school welding underwater for a marina on Benbrook Lake. Eventually he took scuba lessons after almost drowning on the job. Those lessons led him to training at a deep sea diving school in Houston, which included training on offshore oil rigs. Anthony spent several years in Louisiana working on offshore rigs and on inland jobs at power plants and dams before starting American Underwater Services, Inc.


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