removing stumps

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by leaping leon, Feb 25, 2005.

  1. leaping leon

    leaping leon Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    We have a few small oak stumps to remove, and the situation doesn't lend itself to stump grinders or pulling out with a truck or tractor. I tried burning, but that was taking forever...Stumps range from about 12 to 24 inches in diameter.
    I finally tried cutting the roots about two and a half feet from the stump with an axe and then dug a hole under the stump and inserted a log that is about eight to ten in diameter and about twelve feet long and then we levered the stumps out (three so far). Sometimes we are using a concrete block to get additional leverage.
    I'm working with one of my tean-age daughters, who is not a big person, I am less than 5'6" and have mild asthma (have to rest frequently while chopping and digging) and it is taking us about two hours per stump.
    I hope someone can use this. I had read and heard of several ways of removing stumps but hadn't read about this one yet...I could've saved a lot of time if I had known about this method of stump removal.
    We are in Florida: shallow top soil and high water table so the roots may be more shallow than in other areas...AND be sure you use a "good" log to lever with, we tried using one that turned out to have some temites or something in it and it was NOT pleasant when it broke and took me to the ground with it. Also, I don't know how well this would work with pines, or other trees with big taproots.
    I also "girdled" an oak to allow more light into the garden area. It's been years since I read about this: you remove all the layers of bark on the tree trunk for a belt of about six inches around the trunk. I used a hatchet for this. The tree dies from that area upwards. (Most trees only use the outer layers of bark to transfer food and water from leaves to roots and back again, but pines are different.) This oak leans in the wrong direction and I couldn't figure out a sure-fire way of removing it without using a ladder and hand sawing the limbs, which I can't do right now (I don't use chain saws). The location is OK for the limbs to rot and fall down under the tree if I don't get around to the ladder and handsaw.

    God bless!
  2. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

    Jul 12, 2003
    east ont canada
    chain saws in trees are deadly! when we have to delimb a standing tree we use a reciprocating saw .much more control! better yet get a pro to take it down ,much more afforadable than an accident and whatever follows.

  3. caberjim

    caberjim Stableboy III

    Feb 19, 2004
    Is it absolutely necessary for the limbs to rot off before cutting it down? I usually drop mine whole and take off the limbs once the tree is laying on the ground.

    Two hours to hand remove a stump sounds pretty good to me.
  4. Wilbur

    Wilbur Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2004
    This won't help with the existing stumps but in the future you may be able to winch the trees over with the tractor. Then when you cut the tree up leave the butt log (the one closest to the stump) on the tree. Now you have a 12 foot long stump on the ground. Attach the choker to the end of the "stump" and drive in a circle- the stump will spin right up out of the ground. I used to do that in MA with pine trees (also shallow rooted like you described yours). It would not work as well w/hardwoods or deep rooted trees.

    For big trees we used the blade of the skidder to dig out on the side opposite from where we were winching to free up some of the roots that were there. The tree came over easier after doing that.

    Good luck!
  5. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Why not put a large pot with flowers in it on each stump. I would guess that in your climate with the termites, etc. that you would get rid of the stumps much easier over a period of a few years.
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004
    You pretty much created a 'Widowmaker' tho, those dead branches like to snap off as you work on the tree, falling on the person or building below. I would have rather tried to pull over the live tree when it was still supple. Now it would scare me. I've cut firewood for 30 years. Dead trees are something to be worried about.