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Getting rid of tree stumps can be a tricky task but here are the three most common methods for removing unsightly stumps.
Digging out tree stumps – A how to guide.
Digging out is best suited to small or medium sized stumps as the process can be very time consuming. Larger stumps can be dug out but you would most likely require the use of a digger/excavator.
When digging out a stump, either by hand or with a digger/excavator the best technique is as follows:
- Dig around the circumference of the stump exposing the lateral roots.
- Cut/Sever the roots using a mattock, loppers or hand saw (be aware soil or rocks surrounding the roots may blunt your saw).
- Pull out and clear as many of the larger roots as possible.
- Lever the stump backwards and forwards to access the roots below.
- Continue to remove the roots until you can dislodge the stump.
- Fill the hole to immediately avoid any accidents.
How to poison a tree stump using a “Stump Removal Chemical”.
Lets be clear treating the stump with poison will never remove it, but it will prevent any regrowth and may speed up the break down/stump rotting process.
The majority of chemical stump removers are composed of either potassium nitrate or granular glyphosate, and are supplied as either a loose powder or in a plug form commonly known as Ecoplugs. The benefit of using plugs is that the chemicals are contained within the stump so they do not pose a risk to children, animals or surrounding vegetation.
Which ever form you choose to use the application method is often very similar:
- Drill large evenly spaced holes around the cambium (This is the line where the bark meet the core wood). If using Ecoplugs use a 13mm drill bit and drill to a depth of 25-30mm. TIP: Wrap some tape around the drill bit to ensure correct drilling depth.
- Apply the poison by either carefully pouring it into the holes or insert the plugs orange tip first and hit them into place with a hammer. The top of the plug should sit flush with the stump.
- If using loose poison be sure to keep children and animals away from the area. If ingested, the chemicals can be very harmful.
*Please check the instructions on each product before use as directions may vary.
Grinding out a tree stump – Our guide to stump grinding.
Using a stump grinder is by far the most efficient way to remove stumps of all shapes and sizes. They use a number of cutting teeth fixed to spinning flywheel to carve the stump up into small wood chippings. These chippings can then be used to back fill the hole left behind.
Stump grinders can often be rented from plant and tool hire companies but these are dangerous machines and must be used correctly. You should always wear correct PPE and have read the instruction manual thoroughly. Alternatively, you can contract a professional stump removal company (such as County Stump Services) to come and grind the stump for you.
How to grind a stump:
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Position the stump grinder with the cutting wheel above the front top edge of the stump.
- Start the stump grinder following the manufacturers instructions.
- Begin carving into the stump on the top edge sweeping left to right slowly progressing down into the ground to your desired depth. The industry standard grinding depth is between 250-300mm.
- Once you are happy with the depth you can back fill the hole and move forward to the next section of the stump.
- Repeat steps 4 & 5 until the stump has been completely removed.
- You can also use grinder to remove/chase out any lateral roots but be aware they may have a very large spread. In addition, once the main buttress of the stump has been removed the roots will rot down naturally.
- Remember to fill the hole with the grinding material to avoid any accidents. TIP: If you leave a slight mound of the grinding material above the hole this will allow for the break down of the wood chippings so it will level out over time.