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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 even 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 go about removing a tree stump or brush that’s a few feet underwater?

We’re going to give you four tips on how you can DIY and then one final tip on how to remove stumps and brush 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. This assumes that it’s within reach of the shoreline. If not, skip to the 2nd step. While on dry land, stump grinders are miracle workers. The cut, dice, and slice through even the most stubborn of tree stumps.

The problem with using a stump grinder on an underwater stump is having to keep the device on dry land. While this may work for a stump that’s in a few inches of water, for larger and taller stumps it’s just not going to cut it.

Also, keep in mind 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 exactly head on down to Home Depot to buy them.

You need to go to a specialty store and 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 either use too much, or too little explosives to remove the tree stump. If you use too little, then there’s an even higher chance that you’ll accidentally wind up using too much to make up for the first attempt.


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

You’re going to need to buy a chemical (usually in powder form) that is specifically designed to kill off tree stumps. Drill a few deep holes into the stump and then 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 start to dissolve it from the inside, making it very easy to remove.

Winch and Chain

If you’re somehow able to get a strong chain around the stump, you might be able to winch it out of the bottom of the lake. For situations like this, you might need to clear the immediate areas surrounding the stump to ensure there are no branches or other roots that 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 in such a way that it’s going to hug it tight when you fire up the winch. You’re also going to 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 not an easy task. In fact, for the untrained person, it’s pretty dangerous. If you have a stubborn stump that refuses to budge, give the experts a call at (817) 377-8512.

At American Underwater Services, we specialize in tree stump and brush removal. Even though we’re based out of Fort Worth, we can travel to any state to help you remove 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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