Stump removal

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by merede4, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. merede4

    merede4 Guest

    Hi,
    I am trying to remove some stumps, and the pines are just pure dee stubborn. Is burning the best method, or is there some sure fire method that will help me get a small garden in by march. I have 3 large stumps, that have been sitting for about 3 years now. Any help will be appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    You're on a fairly tight timeframe there, aren't you? If you're not going to do something like a stump-grinder, then that about leaves burning. One way to help that is to drill large deep holes downward all through the stumps, and then fill them with a nitrate. Saltpeter (sodium nitrate) is good, as is ammonium nitrate. You could get either of these from a garden supplier - they are fertilisers.

    Now, what the nitrate does is to add oxidiser to the stump. If you can, if it's not freezing too much, pour hot water on top of the holes to dissolve the nitrate and carry it through the wood, then refill the holes with nitrate and repeat until the wood won't take any more.


    Now let the stumps dry. If they're getting rained on regularly, cover them with some old plastic or something like that.

    That oxidiser is getting towards the recipe for an explosive - gunpowder is saltpetre, charcoal and sulphur. ANFO is ammonium nitrate - fuel oil. Which reminds me - don't add diesel fuel or fuel oil to the ammonium nitrate in the stumps unless you're prepared to have them removed RAPIDLY. However, just soaking the oxidiser through the wood and then drying it out should just make sure the wood burns hot and steady.

    Then pile kindling around the stumps and set them afire.

    Remember you're trying to get the fire to chase the roots down into the ground and burn as much of them as possible too. DON'T be surprised if it happens - watch for it. Otherwise you could be surprised by a fire burning slowly undergound for months, then breaking out again. When you think the fire's all burnt out, dig after the roots with a mattock (do you call them that there?). Either way, you want to break as much as possible of leftover roots out, or douse fires burning undereground.
     

  3. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Fence those stumps in..... place a few swine in the pen, throw corn around the base of said stumps, let the hogs do the digging, add corn until the stumps are pretty well dug up.... next spring as the ground is solid enuff but before it dries out totally, wrap a chain around the stump and pull it out with your 4x4 pick-up then burn it..... I know a family that cleared several acres this way about 20 years back with their jeep.

    You can also rent a backhoe from a rental place for a couple hours.... and dig them out or pay an operator to do the same in minutes [while there have them kind of dig up the garden area for your preparation of putting on your compost too]
     
  4. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    You've gotten some good advice here. The fastest, but least economical way is to just hire a stumpgrinder. The best alternative IMHO, is burning. You might try this method: Get a 55 gal. (or smaller) metal drum that has both ends cut out of it. Drill several holes into your stump as deep as you can. Put the drum over the stump and put a big bag of charcoal in it; soak with lighter fluid and light. Keep adding wood, charcoal, etc. Let it burn all day and refill the drum about half way up before you go to bed. Keep feeding it as needed the next day. The drum contains the fire and concentrates the heat and oxygen. After about 24-36 hours, your stump will be gone. I've heard that digging a few holes out about 2-3 ft. from the stump will help with feeding oxygen to the stump and roots, but haven't tried that. Good luck.
     
  5. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    P.S. All this assumes that you will be able to grow a garden. However, you say that need to grow a "small"" garden just where the stumps are. If the reason you're short on open space is because you're fence in by living trees, then you'll probably be too limited on light for most plants to grow, In addition, the other trees would suck moisture and nutrients out of the small open space. Even if you had enough light, you'd need to build a raised-bed garden, then turn it all over every year, just to keep the tree roots out.
     
  6. Farmer_Jon

    Farmer_Jon Guest

    Hi,

    If you have some time, drill some 1 inch or so holes as deep as possible then fill them with rock salt. By the next year they are dead and rotting out. At that time you can burn them pretty easily or pull them with a tractor if you left enouth of a stump to attach to.

    Rock Salt and epson salts are very cheap and easy to use.......good luck
     
  7. merede4

    merede4 Guest

    I wanted to thank all of you for your great responses to stump removal. We are going to use the nitrate for immediate removal, and use salt for removal of stumps later. I like the pig idea, but my brother in law does not want pigs. I love them. They are great to eat, and reallly easy to maintain, but he and my sister work full time, and feel it would be a lot of extra work for them. Anyway, thanks again, we really appreciate your assistance
    :worship:
    merede4