There are a lot of reasons you might need to have a tree removed, ranging from storm damage and disease to simple aesthetic changes to your garden landscape. If you've had a tree taken down for whatever reason, you might find that parts of it are left behind afterwards.

Often, the stump will be removed by grinding, burning, or some other method, which means there shouldn't be any visible parts of the old tree remaining in the ground. But even if the stump is removed, you might have roots left behind.

Depending on your situation and the condition of the roots, this might not be a problem. If they're out of sight and staying safely in the ground, they'll eventually rot away, but this process can take years. That's a problem if you want to dig up the area for replanting, and a hazard if they're protruding above ground. Here are some ways you can deal with tree roots and get rid of them quickly.

Get digging

The most basic way to get rid of those remaining roots is often, unfortunately, the most difficult. It's a shame, because it's certainly thorough, and there's no waiting time. All you need to do is get a sturdy shovel and dig out the roots, taking care not to miss any bits.

If that back-breaking work is too much, which it is for many people, hiring a mini excavator is a good way to do it more easily, but that comes with some expense.

Use fertiliser

If you don't want to wait four or five years for the roots to rot away on their own, you can speed up the process. A nitrogen-based fertiliser will make the biological processes happen faster, so apply one to the whole area of the roots once a week and monitor how quickly the roots are disappearing. If they're fully underground, uncover them so the fertiliser can reach them.

Break them up

This can be done on its own or, for a greater effect, in conjunction with fertiliser. Simply break the roots up as much as you can, using any garden tools. They'll rot much faster.

Attract fungi

Fungi are nature's root destroyers, and they can be attracted by applying various substances to the root area. Beer, powdered milk and manure are popular choices that work well.

Lay turf

If you're not able to get rid of the roots fully and you want to have a neat lawn where they are, you might be able to just lay some turf over the top, covering them up effectively. Eventually, the roots will just rot away to nothing underneath.