How to remove tree stumps

I split the cost with my neighbor for taking down two very large maples that were on our property line. I live out of town and rent out this property. The deal was to have the stumps removed. Next thing I know, he sold his place and moved away, but the stumps are still there. (Why am I not surprised?)
I consulted with one tree guy and he said that because there is wire fence embedded inside the stumps, no tree removal company will touch this kind of job. Does this sound accurate?
The stumps are HUGE. About 4' across at the top (larger at the base) and 4' high. I can't leave them in place and wait for time to rot them away because I need to put up a picket fence for the next renters. I can't blow them out with explosives because the property is in suburbia.
Can stump-grinding machines take on this large a project? Am I right in thinking that they will only work on stumps flush with the ground?
Any ideas? Thanks.
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Nice neighbor....
1) You will have a hard time finding a tree service that will touch a stump with fencing in it. 2) Stump grinders won't work on stumps that are 4 feet high. You will have to get them cut lower to the ground. The 'tallest' stump I gound out was about 1 foot above ground. 3) Chain saws don't cut through chain link fence easily nor safely. This could be why the trunk was left 4 feet high. 4) Even if you did get the stumps lower, stump grinders don't go through chain link fence easily and when they do, stuff goes flying.
Did you get a copy of the estimate/bill for the tree removal? If so, did it state stump removal? If so, I would call the tree service and demand they do what they originally stated. If you don't have the estimate/bill, then there's nothing you could do to the tree service co.
What you could try to do, is to buy a chain saw, a lot of chains and files to sharpen the chains with. Carefully cut small pieces of of the stumps but try to avoid any fencing. This will take a long time but I think it may be the only way. If you haven't used a chain saw before, then I wouldn't recommend this. See if you can find a person that works for the tree service to handle this as a 'side job' with you purchasing extra chains for the job.
snipped-for-privacy@spamless.net wrote:

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POssibilities: The fence is *probably* only embedded above ground level. Dig a ditch all around the stump and have someone who knows chain saws cut it down below ground level.
Or; Have someone with an excavator come in and do the digging and removal for you. a 4' diameter stump is going to need a big machine to remove it.
FYI - stump grinders normally cut below ground level. That won't help you because they won't grind it if they know there's a fence in there. A grinding company might still be the place to start as they might be willing to handle it.
Bob
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Somebody with a big backhoe?

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Couple things come to mind.
1) Call several tree surgeons and ask if they give free estimates. 2) Dave has a great idea about the chainsaw. 3) Sawzalls work nicely for cutting roots out from under stumps. I know, I did one this year. Mine was only about 8 or 10 inch diameter trunk. 4) Are you far enough out from town that you can drill some holes in the stump, pour in kerosene, and burn it out?
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Well, thanks people for your input. I don't think any of the options are feasible though. Backhoe is probably the only workable solution, but it would cost a small fortune and tear up half the back yard. These stumps are humungous.
I think what I'll end up doing is building a log-type fence and integrating the stumps into it by drilling some notches for the horizontal poles.
My wife suggests that I hollow out the top part and fill it with dirt and plant some kind of ivy or draping plant. That may even hasten its decomposition.
What maybe in 10 years I may be able to just kick it apart?
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I wonder if you can buy termites? How far is the nearest house? If you have room, just burn enough to pull out the fence and get the stump low enough for a pro to grind it out.
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I think you already know where this one is going. :-(
You'll need to examine the fence to see where it is in the tree trunk. Typically, trees grow over a portion of a fence that abuts their outer limits -- i.e., the fencing won't be dead center but rather towards the outer edge of the tree.
Assuming this is the case, the option would be to cut the tree in such a way as would allow you to basically cut the fence-growth area out. Then you can cut the trunk further to the ground and use a stump grinder. This option especially makes sense in your case -- a tree with a 4 foot plus trunk is not likely to have chain link embedded very deeply considering how many years it took that tree to reach that diameter.
Another option would be to cut the trunk beneath where the fence intersects the tree -- that may or may not be possible, you might have to dig a ditch around the tree first, etc. Remember that it's the roots that keep the tree in place, not the trunk so it may well be possible to get underneath the stump and take it out bottoms up.
An important safety item -- chain saws, stump grinders, and manual saws do not get along well with chainlink. Exercise caution and wear appropriate protective gear if you do any of this yourself. In the end, your best bet is to bring in a professional to handle the work -- granted, no one will grind the trunk with the fencing embedded but there's bound to be SOMEONE willing to remove the stump for the right figure.
An item of curiosity -- assuming this is a typical 4 foot tall chain link fence, what did the contract/estimate from the tree trimming service say they would do? Most services take trees down further and I would expect there to be a clause in there about this -- if not, you may be in a position to demand they "finish" the job, be that all the way to removing the stump to cutting it down to ground level.
Alternatively, hull out part of the top of the stump, add soil, and plant some vines -- in no time at all they will cascade over the stump and make it a focal point. (Our neighbor across the street did this, likely inadvertently, and it's actually pretty neat looking).
James
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Actually the fence is not a chain-link fence. It's more of a heavy chicken-wire type fence, the diameter of the wire being about half that of chain-link. Still, it would have to be cut down at ground-level (by chain-saws) as someone in this thread wrote.
I can't tell where the wire now is. It just disappears into the bark about center line. I'm assuming that the growth process could have taken the wire anywhere inside the stump.
I don't even know what company did the cutting. I live in a neighboring state. We just sort of did a gentleman's agreement. I gave him cash and a month later the 2 trees were down, except for the stumps and the neighbor who is nowhere to be seen. I got the feeling that he thought the stump removal would be typical, then found out what I now know, that this is no simply thing.
I recall years ago somebody telling me that they drilled holes in a stump and kept pouring in saltpeter. Then, after it dried, they said it burned like a Roman candle.
Where can I buy termites??

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That's correct. Is the fencing above ground level? If so, get some good friends, a couple of cases of beer and a few large pizzas -- put that and some shovels together and go to work. In all seriousness, you get enough folks to help you and you can get these puppies out.

LOL -- A better solution, if you can't get them out, is to turn them into focal points in the landscape. Hull out about a two foot deep "pot" in the center of the tree stump. Fill it with a soil/compost mix and plant a variety of vines and such with something that has a little vertical value in the middle. The vines will cascade over the stump and, if trained and maintained right, turn them into a really neat addition to the landscape.
Another option is to hull it out and drill a hole from the base of the drilled area down and out one side. Waterproof it, stick a tube through the hole, and use a submersible pump to turn it into a water feature -- you can do any of a number of things with it at this point. You could also not drill the hole for the line and just make it into a pair of fountains.
All sorts of things you can do here. :)
Good luck....
James
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