Above-ground Stump removal ideas needed

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I live near Pensacola, FL, and recently experienced Hurricane Ivan. Fortunately my home had minor damage, but my yard which I had invested much effort in landscaping these past few months has been decimated.
The biggest problem I face is figuring out the best way to handle the removal of two root balls from trees uprooted by the storm. The smaller root ball sits above the ground and is about 4' in diameter. The larger root ball is about 6' in diameter. I have already cut up the trunk portion of both trees.
I'm assuming that having the root balls lifted out of the yard by crane would be very expensive. Having them dragged out by tractor or similar device would likely damage a large portion of the yard (and the underground sprinkler system). I could have them ground, but I'm not sure if it is possible for a stump grinder to work on a root ball that sits totally about ground and is laying on its side.
Can anyone suggest anything I could do to best remove these? I don't want to take a chain saw to them because of the massive amount of clay-rich soil embedded in the roots. I had contemplated using a hose to try and wash the soil away from the rootball a bit at a time. I'm not sure if this would really even be feasible, though.
Any suggestions on what to do with these would be greatly appreciated.
Tony
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If you or a friend has a power washer - or they can be rented, or bot from from Home Depot for 100-150 bucks - you could blast the root ball and remove much of the clay. Only need to remove enough clay to cut roots down to a ball-shaped dense mass. Then try rolling it out of the yard, up a ramp, and into a pickup. Never done this - just an idea.
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Clay? In Florida?
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Absolutely. I'm in Northwest Florida and most of the yards here have pretty acidic clay soil. It's only on the beaches that I've ever seen sandy soil (Pensacola Beach [what's left of it], Gulf Breeze, and so on).
I have "soil" in one section of my yard that even after top dressing with organic material and core aerating several seasons is still so hard that you can't put a screwdriver in the soil unless it is wet.
I'd be thrilled with a higher sand content in my yard.
Tony
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stump root balls NEVER roll cooperatively, unless it isn't necessary for them too. think it is one of Murphy's laws.
--
Totus Tuus
Claudia (take out no spam to reply)
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Gouge a hole in the center with a chainsaw (the bigger the better). Put a bag of charcoal in it and light it. Should burn most of it.
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On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 22:32:32 -0700, someone wrote:

Are you claiming to have done this?
-v.
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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net (v) wrote:

no (although memory makes me think I've seen this done before), but does that disqualify it from working? of course I'd basically rescind this advice as further info shows the stump to be three feet from the house.
You could make the best of this by (still) gouging out the center but leaving a rim of three or four inches and then filling the gouge (hopefully you've made it as deep as possible) with good soil and planting either vegetables, flowers or even something like a grape vine which could be trained to climb a trellis. This will either last a long time or rot away in a few seasons and then you can start over until it is gone or more easily managable.
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On Mon, 27 Sep 2004 14:35:17 -0700, someone wrote:

basis to think it will, then I have to think it won't be effective. I do a lot of chainsaw work for a homeowner (rural property owner who also has a number of business locations with trees). I have also burned a lot of "brush" which around here includes what city folk would call logs and stumps. A fresh stump doesn't burn very well. A single big chunk of wood doesn't burn very well.
Have you done much chainsaw work? Because to "gouge a big hole" is definitely NOT something easily done with a chainsaw, ESPECIALLY in a stump. If it was that easy, he'd just cut up the stump in little pieces and put them out with the trash, why bother with the hole. The OP seems well aware of the problems of chain sawing a stump.
Your other idea I don't regard as useful input either - that either it will or it won't work - so what - it won't help him if it won't. Basically you have no clue again and are just guessing.
sorry.
-v.
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v wrote:

It's also REALLY dangerous because to do a hole you're going to be using the tip which you aren't supposed to do. Unless you enjoy chainsaws bouncing into your face that is.
--

-Bill

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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net (v) wrote:

Doesn't burn very well is not the same as doesn't burn at all. Which is why I suggested starting with charcoal (I suppose you could even start with coal.) Granted it might burn slowly but I'm not sure there was a time constraint from the OP.

Not lately.

Okay so start with a little hole and take a little longer. Or start with lots of little holes.

I believe the issue was of ruining chain, blade, etc with dirt.

Yes the OP seems quite well aware of the problems chain sawing a stump, which is why I suggested he gouge a hole and burn it...I also suggested that this might not be such a good idea when I learned the stump was 3 feet away from his house.

And it will if it does.

And that's a bad thing?

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We burned a walnut tree stump. First we cut vertical slots down into the stump with a chain saw so that it had a lot of grooves going down to near the soil line. Then we started a fire with stove oil and it burned down into the ground and into the roots. It smoldered for a couple weeks before we put it out. We never guessed it would work so well. It was in the fall and the stump was fairly fresh.
Another alternative is to give the stump away. We have people around here that buy stumps to chop into hardwood mulch for nurserymen. So perhaps you can find someone who wants the stump.
--
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Cheers, Steve Henning in Reading, PA USA http://home.earthlink.net/~rhodyman
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Bury them deeper than they was, and any luck at all, they will re-sprout and a new tree will grow--depents a lot on the species and if there is suffient starches in the rootball......you will know if you start getting suckers to grow offa them as these will definately need trimmed if you only want a single trunk....
Im a machinist by trade, and am a nurseryman as a hobby--to me the whole gig reeks of possible opportunity...........anybody maybe need several hundred rooted trees that do well in Florida ????
--

SVL



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I have done this twice, and it IS work, but it works. We have sandy soil in Nevada where these trees were planted. We started digging them out by the roots, and used a big shop vac to remove the dirt as we went. This way, you could easily see the roots that were holding the thing. We cut those with a sharp double bladed long handled axe. Any type of chainsaw or regular saw dulls quickly. On one, we had a come along on it with a tight bind on it because we couldn't get the truck close. On the other, we had a chain to a four wheel drive truck. It was slow going, but in both cases at a time once it started to move, it popped out from there, breaking the remaining roots on its own.
Don't know if that would work with the type of soil you have. We had a neighbor who suggested the water blaster idea, but decided we would soon have a muddy moat. It was a chore, but they took only about three hours each. One was a eucalyptus tree, and the other a chinaball. Both trunks were about sixteen inches in diameter. If you haven't cut the main trunk yet, leave it a little tall, and this will improve your pulling leverage.
HTH. There is no easy way to do it.
Steve
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How do you remove an underground stump?
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Hehe...
100 interesting and fun things to do with high nitrogen fertilizer.........
--

SVL



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With a backhoe.
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Tony wrote:

Is there some reason you can't blast 'em out?
Dynamite is easy to use. The guys who sell it can give you pointers.
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Well, considering that one of the stumps is about 3' from my house, I'm a bit tentative about using such extreme measures. :)
Tony
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I take it you don't live in the kind of neighborhood where you can just drag the rootballs to a disused corner of the lot, and leave them as habitat for small creatures? All sorts of things would be very happy living in the nooks and crannies. Failing that, simplest solution is to just clean out and deepen the holes they came out of, and bury them. If planting replacement trees makes that not an option, you are either facing a whole lot of manual labor with shovel and ax and maul and wedges, or a decent sized check to somebody with the equipment to get them out of there w/o trashing your lawn and sprinklers and such. Dirty wood like that will kill a chainsaw quick, and possibly you, too, from kickback when it jams. People who clear trees for a living, when they can get away with it, dozer the root balls and other chaff into bigass piles, soak with #2, and burn them. Unless you can leave them sit till weather washes dirt off, chipper guy won't even want to touch them- those dirt clods really cut blade life.
aem sends....
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