If you have an old tree stump in your garden, then you may have decided to let it rot down naturally. If the stump isn't in your way, then it may not bother you too much right now.
However, tree stumps don't necessarily rot away quickly. Even small stumps can last for months, and large stumps may take years to degrade on their own.
Plus, if the tree stumps roots are firmly in the ground, they may still be supplying the stump with some nutrients. Rather than dying away, the stump may actually be sprouting new shoots and trying to grow. While you can cut these shoots off, they may keep growing back.
There are, however, ways you can speed up this rotting process. What can you do?
Add Rotting Material to the Mix
To get things moving, it may help to thoroughly wet the tree stump. A good soaking at this stage will help to rot the stump down later.
Once the stump is wet, place garden materials around it that will decompose quickly. For example, piles of leaf mulch will break down quicker than the wood, so covering the stump with this mulch and scattering it around the base may help.
Once you've added quicker rotting materials to the stump, you need to change its environmental conditions.
Block Out Sun and Rain
Putting fast degrading materials like leaf mulch on and around the stump isn't enough on its own to rot the stump down more quickly. You then need to deprive the stump of light and rain to starve it of growth nutrients as much as you can.
If you have a small stump, then you can cover it with a plant pot or bucket. Put something heavy on the top of the pot or bucket, like a couple of bricks, to hold it in place and to cover any holes.
If the stump is too big for a pot or bucket, then cover it with a tarpaulin. Peg the tarp in place over the tree. Your aim here is to completely cover the stump so that it doesn't get any sun or rainfall.
These steps may accelerate the stump's natural rotting process. However, bear in mind that this may still not give you a quick fix. You may still have a long wait until the stump breaks down completely.
If you want the stump gone sooner, then it'll be more time efficient to hire a stump grinding company. They can completely remove the last bits of the tree in hours, leaving your garden immediately clear again.