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What to do with stumps from freshly-cut-down healthy trees1/16
Hello everyone! This spring, summer, and fall, I'll be cutting down several healthy trees for personal woodworking projects. Should I cut the stump right at ground level? Should I also use a heavy-duty stump chipper to completely chop up the roots, remove the root debris, and cover the area with fresh dirt and plant grass seed? Would it be okay to leave the stump at ground level, but soak the stump with a powerful insect repellent, or perhaps a thick coat of tar, so that termites, carpenter ants, and wood-boring beetles don't become a problem? Any thoughts or input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
The closer to the ground you cut the more wood you get to use. Too close to the ground you run the risks of running the blade through sand and soil that will blunt it, and the more vulnerable both you and your saw are to injury if things go wrong. Felling on anything but level ground has concomitant safety problems, some of which are unforeseeable.
Bugs (and fungii) of all kind play a vital role in the reduction of cellulose to nutrients that can be utilized by future generations of plants whether that be trees that volunteer or grass that you plant.
Termites are your friends(unless those trees are real close to your house, and especially if your house is older with no termite caps on the footers). That being said, if you want to make the stump decompose faster, drill some 1 inch holes into the stump, pour in some saltpeter (Potassium Nitrate), and cork the holes. On most stumps this method will cause the stump to rot faster.
Cut the stump as low as reasonably possibly, drill 4-5, 1" holes per sqft of stump, get some "rot it" or some other brand name product from your local garden centre, leave it for 1 - 2 years then rent the stump grinder. These stump grinders are brutal to run, unless you have a 250 # young football player around, after a year or so you can grind these down with out injuring yourself and in about 1/4 or less time.
Most of these hardware store products ARE potassium nitrate a.k.a saltpeter. You just pay more for the same stuff!
Cut them closer to the ground after the trees are felled. Then call a stump grinding service and have them ground at least six inches below grade. Remove about half of the remaining dirt/wood chip mess and replace with clean topsoil and overseed to match your lawn. (Weeds in my case)
There are a ton of stump grinding services out there, from one man shows to major tree services and landscapers. You will be happy if you shop around to see who is hungry. Ask about alternatives in the scope of work, like stump height before they start and how deep they go (I reccomend at least six from your anticipated final grade after any other landscaping and I also reccomend at least two inches of clean top soil before seeding) Ask about removal of some of the spoil and trucking in better top soil and even if they want the whole project from felling to mowing the new lawn once a week.
I know of some inside prices at flat rates of $20 a stump up to about 3' dia. or $1 an inch if you have over a hundred dollars worth of work (gravey perfered) If the guys won't talk turkey, tell them that you have an important call comming in and that you will get back to them. Like all business, it is a cut throat trade, someone will give you a price that you will like.
This company sells oils to lubricate chainsaws that have cullinary mushroom spores in them. You put the oil on your saw and in inoculates the stump with spores then in a year or so you have delicious mushrooms for your table. The fungus also decomposes the stump for you.
The guy who cut the tree said that he had trouble keeping the stump "slices" from cracking if he wanted to make a stool or clock. Any suggestions? The tree was alive up to about 10'--on up it had been split by an ice-storm.
another way to get rid of those pesky stumps is to drill 1" holes as deep as you can into the top of the stump. (the more the better) fill the holes with diesle fuel. let set overnight, repeat for a couple of days. after the stump has absorbed ALL of the fuel, LIGHTLY dust the stump with diesle again. light with a match. the stump will smolder for a good week.(depending on if there was any rot in the heart). this tends to burn the stump below ground level, and actually burns out most of the roots.
after posting above, I realized I forgot to mention : DO NOT USE GASOLINE!!!!!! Diesle fuel or Kerosene ONLY!
Gasoline is WAY to volitile. it also tends to evaporate before it will absorb into the stump.
And yes, this I learned the HARD way....... :(
You can also burn stumps that have been treated with salt peter, as above. Burns best if you wait about a year, also seems to burn better, if you cover with a bottomless and topless barrel that will fit over the stump, kinda acts like a chimney. Don't burn your house down!
I will dig, remove and pick up stump(s) / trunk(s) with roots from your property for $100.
I've investigated all the methods posted here and I didn't like any of them. First off if you cut the stumps down to the ground they are difficult as heck to remove later. Only cut them to grade level if you intend to later stump grind. If that is the case then stump rot from your box store will make them rot in about 1 year if if you drill the 1" holes in them and pour it in. Stump grinders aren't cheap to rent and a bear to use.
The best option, and the one I did was rent a 331 Mini Excavator. Most machinery rental places have them. They aren't very difficult to operate. If you can drive a bobcat (and anyone can) you'll have no problem with the excavator. Call dig safe before you dig to locate utilities.
Digging out the stumps is the best option. The stump on the ground is the tip of the iceberg. What is under grade is an enormous mass of wood that will take forever to rot out. If you rip the stumps out with the excavator you'll free up all that soil and be ready to plant in the very spot the stump came from. This really is the best option. It cost me $329.00 for 8 hrs of mini exc. and I got it for the whole weekend. I ripped out 50 ENORMOUS Stumps. Some of which are up to 2' foot in diameter and I couldn't even lift.
Digging stumps down by hand so you can stump grind them is an intensely laborious proposition. I hope you love digging and are in exceedingly good shape. Because to dig down more than 2 or 3 stumps (12" or more down) in order to grind them out is nearly impossible for most people.
Trust me, use the heavy machinery and rip them out. Work smarter, not harder. :)