After you have cut down a useless tree in your garden yourself, you may also want to remove the stump. However, this can often be a real challenge, especially if you want to complete the task without professional machinery. You can hire a company to use a mechanical grinder to turn the stump into sawdust, but this can be expensive. Another option is to rent a suitable tool, but its safe use is also not an easy task. However, there are several methods you can use to get this gardening job done without high costs or large equipment. Here are some of the most common of them that you can try yourself.
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When should you remove a tree stump?
A tree stump can be removed at any time after the tree is cut down, but the manual process is sometimes easier when the stump has aged and dried out a bit. If you have the option of leaving the stump in place for a full year or even two years, the dried wood may be easier to cut out than working on a new stump that is still green. However, chemical removal should begin immediately after you cut the tree. In addition, a small to medium sized stump can be removed with good, old-fashioned muscle work. Larger stumps, however, may require so much work that it is not practical unless you can pull them out of the ground with a chain. For larger stumps, use the chemical method described below instead.
Deciding on the best option
A useful tool for manual removal is a pickaxe, which has a wide end for digging and a sharpened end for cutting. Everyone has favorite tools, however, and the more different digging and cutting tools you have on hand, the better. For larger stumps, you may want to call in a helper or two to speed up the job. For those who are not up to the physical effort or whose stump is too large to remove by hand, there is an easier method, but it requires more patience. All wood will eventually rot. In addition, it is possible to speed up this process by keeping the stump moist and adding nitrogen in the form of a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content. However, this is not an immediate method. It can take months or even a year for a tree stump to completely disappear as a result.
There are also specially formulated products in powder form that are designed to break down the wood fibers of stumps and make them porous. The porous wood then absorbs kerosene well. So after you soak the porous wood with kerosene and ignite it, the stump will begin to burn. The fire soon becomes a low, smoldering flame after that. If using kerosene and flames is acceptable to you, this would be another inexpensive and easy way to remove a tree stump. However, disposing of large tree stumps can be difficult. Therefore, it is best to find out how and where to dispose of large yard waste. There is also an option to compost the tree stump on site in an environmentally friendly manner.
Use manual force and remove the tree stump
If you do not want to use chemicals or wait too long to get rid of the tree stump, it is possible to remove it manually. Again, it is not expensive to do it this way if you already have the tools. It can take about three to 12 hours to complete the project. Here are some steps that can be followed.
- First, dig around the tree stump with the wide end of a pickaxe.
- Once you have loosened the soil this way, shovel it out of the way.
- First, be prepared to clear away a lot of soil. The larger the stump, the more soil you will move. This is necessary to gain access to all the root shoots.
- If you are digging out a tree stump by hand, a hose or pressure washer can be helpful to wash away dirt and expose roots as you dig down.
- Then split the stump with an axe, using a splitting wedge as well, and separate any visible roots.
- Use the other end of the hoe to hack through the tree roots. You can also use a hacksaw to cut through the roots.
- Dig and chop your way under the root ball to the tap root. For all but the smallest trees, taproots are imposing enough to be cut with an axe or large bow saw.
- Afterward, clean excess dirt from the taproot with a damp rag before cutting.
- Next, cut through the taproot with an axe or bow saw. However, be sure to keep the area clear of people, pets and objects before you begin cutting.
- Carefully aim the ax to avoid hitting dirt so you don’t dull the blade.
- Always wear steel-toed boots when wielding an axe.
- Finally, pull the stump out of the hole. This may require the use of ropes or chains and the assistance of helpers or a vehicle.
Use method of removal with chemicals or Epsom salt.
Removing a tree stump with chemicals is the least labor-intensive method of getting rid of it. However, this process takes time, especially if the stump is large. In some cases, it can take up to a year to remove the stump because you are literally letting it rot. The good news is that this method is inexpensive if you already have a chainsaw and a drill. For this you will also need potassium nitrate, plastic sheeting, garden mulch and possibly an axe.
- First, use the chainsaw to remove as much of the tree stump that is above ground level as possible. Make sure you wear protective gear like goggles and boots when you do this.
- Next, it’s time to drill holes through the remains of the tree stump. Place the holes close together and use the largest drill bit you can. Go as deep and as wide as you can with these holes.
- Fill the holes with water first and then add the potassium nitrate. You can also use another type of fertilizer with a high nitrogen content or even granules designed for this process to remove tree stumps.
- Soak the soil around the stump with water to get it nice and soggy, then cover the area with a plastic tarp. The tarp will help retain moisture and speed up the rotting process.
- Cover the tarp with mulch, preferably an organic variety, and water again to retain moisture and soak the area.
- Check progress regularly and add more water and nitrogen to your tree stump.
- After four to six weeks, your tree stump should become spongy. If it does, you can use an axe to speed up the process and remove parts of the tree stump. When enough comes off, you can cover the rest with soil and create a flower bed or even plant grass seed.
- Should you want to avoid harsh chemicals, fuel oil, or anything else that is not natural, you can try the same method with Epsom salt. Just follow the steps above to do this, but with Epsom salt instead of potassium nitrate.
Light the fire and remove the tree stump
Burning the tree stump may seem daunting, but as long as you follow some safety measures, this would be an effective method by which you can remove a tree stump. To do this, carefully follow the instructions below.
- First, drill holes and apply a powdered chemical suitable for this purpose.
Then fill the holes with water and wait four to six weeks for the chemical to take effect.
- The more porous the stump, the more kerosene it will absorb and the longer it will burn.
- Pour kerosene slowly over the stump first, making sure the liquid does not run off and collect on the ground. Allow time for the kerosene to soak in. Never use gasoline or motor oil to burn a tree stump. Gasoline is dangerous and explosive, while motor oil produces toxic smoke when burned.
- Now light the tree stump and watch it from a safe distance while it burns.
- Remember that the tree stump may smolder underground for some time. Therefore, erect barricades to prevent people or animals from accidentally walking over the embers.
Try environmentally friendly option with mycelium to compost tree stump
Mycelium for effective tree stump removal and composting is an organic substance that is safe for the environment: people, animals and trees. It consists of the saphrophytic spawn of the species Peniophora gigantea, which parasitizes only on dead wood. The product is easy to use and very effective. As long as the stump you want to get rid of is not overdried, the beneficial microorganism will decompose it within six months. However, this process can take up to 3 years for hardwood or in adverse weather conditions. In addition, you can use mycelium to remove tree stumps of all types.
- Cut the stump with a saw or ax.
- Mix the substrate with 5 liters of water and pour it evenly over the stump.
- Cover it with mulch to keep it moist and warm, and wait for the effect.
- Thanks to mycelium for effective removal and composting of tree stumps, you will remove fallen tree debris from your garden almost effortlessly, in an environmentally friendly and plant-friendly way.
- Mycelium grows naturally in the wild, with one pack you can remove five tree stumps up to 30 cm in diameter.
In addition, you can make a compost pile and the tree stump. Just fill it with shredded leaves and spent coffee grounds from your local coffee shop and you will achieve two goals. First, over a period of years you will get that tree stump to become compost as well. Second, it will allow you to finally stop tripping over it, which can be kind of fun, but not if you hurt yourself because of it. If you want to add kitchen scraps to the mix as well, be sure to use a sealing lid unless you want to help your local mouse, or rat population feed.