Removing palm tree stump

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My son lives in San Diego and asked my advice on removing the stump of a palm tree. So on our last visit, I piled some of my tools in a suitcase, including a hatchet, steel wedges, a small sledge, and a strong knife (my big ax wouldn't fit in the suitcase). Three TSA inspectors had heart attacks, apparently thinking they had caught a terrorist, but finally everything got to San Diego. I've broken out a few hardwood and softwood stumps with those tools, but had very little success with this palm tree. Most of the stump is reedy and very tough, and even dulled my knife. On the farm, dynamite was handy, but I wasn't sure they would allow it in San Diego. I even thought of burning it where it had dried, but I quit smoking and didn't have any matches, and they have so much trouble with wildfires out there I didn't want to risk causing more heart attacks. Not to malign the people of California, but all their back yards are fenced, with no gate big enough to bring in even a small bobcat, and I was too lazy to take down the damn fence for that, so the stump is still there. I didn't want to try a chain saw in the confines of the pit around the stump, for safety reasons. This stump looks too tough to decompose.
So what would be the best way to remove it, assuming I ever go back there again?
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If it's anything like a King Palm from Florida, the base is a round ball. Depending on the height of the tree the base widens I had 40 footers when I lived there and the ball was 5 feet in diameter. The way they pulled them out was digging a trench around the circumfirence of the ball then using heavy equipment to lift the ball.
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Not@home wrote:

The best way may not be legal :o) We had a palm stump in our condo yard that showed me how tough they are .. they are like a tightly wound ball of twine. No saw or knife would do signifcant damage, so we decided burning was "it". Now, a ball of string soaks up (and holds forever?) a lot of water. Well, oil and water don't mix but alcohol and water do. Just soak it, wait a while, light it...we got rid of enough of our stump that we were able to cover the remains with soil. I would not suggest that anyone do this if burning isn't allowed or if conditions are not perfect. It makes the day more interesting if you pour more alcohol on the stump while it is still smoldering; be sure to toss the can far enough that it can't burn anything else in the yard, the house or your helper :o) Fire extinguisher and water hose important to this project :o)
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On Thu, 05 Mar 2009 15:18:01 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net"

Get some video. :)
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Yeah, I am sure he thought he had one of those Vikings from the Capital One TV commercials.
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metspitzer wrote:

They don't have tool stores in San Diego? You missed a Teachable Moment there, Dad. All the tools you listed are things any homeowner should have on hand anyway.
As to how to remove- sharp machete and something to keep sharpening it. You just keep nibbling away at it. If you have more money than time, a stump grinder or shovel and skycrane.
-- aem sends...
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stump grinder to get it down 6", and bury it.
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Not@home wrote:

Most palms have very shallow roots. In sandy soil - such as we have here in Florida - I'd hook a chain around it and pull it out. I *know* it will come out with a tractor pulling, probably with a 4WD or truck, maybe with a car. Wet the soil down well first.
--

dadiOH
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dadiOH wrote:

Don't know about that ... I've seen an awful lot of palms with the crowns snapped off after storms, but with the trunk still standing.
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

Yep. The trunks are weak, too.
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replying to norminn, MrDowntown wrote: The roots of a palm do not go very deep, but rather they go wide. They are very flexible, and cand bend in in extreme winds. The wide root base helps in keeping them rooted, the fiberous nature of the trunk is what keeps it from snapping (bend one dowel rod, and it snaps easy. Bend 6 dowel rods bound together from end to end, and they will flex without snapping). The fronds are not as strong as the trunk, they are more likely to snap of in high winds, and then just grow back later.
Palm wood is a nightmare to split, and does not burn well unless you make it look like shredded wheat (which isn't worth the trouble unless it's all you have to work with). To split it, it's best to chop it into short logs, and then split small pieces around the outside working your way into the middle. If you try to split it by hand down the middle, it will string up between the halves, and you will waste a lot of time trying to pull them apart. If you must go that route, a good ole fashioned hand saw, or pruners is a lot easier at clipping the strands in the middle.
I drove around taking photos during hurricane Charley (what can I say, I live dangerously). I saw a lot of palm trees nearly bent to the ground during that adventure. Most all of the trees that I saw break were not a palm variety. Ringed tree's can snap in hurricane force winds. We had a lot of trees to remove after the storm.
If you have the time, and the tools, a large self feeding auger bit down the middle will help rot it out faster.
Another thing you could do is dig it out around the base, and chop the roots with an axe, then drag it out with machinery, or a railroad tie tripod, and a winch after you have cut the large roots around the base to a depth of about 18".
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wrote:

The letter writer stated already that he can't get any equipment in the backyard.
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Sanity wrote:

All that he needs in the yard is one end of the chain. The other end can be outside.
--

dadiOH
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wrote:

Or, build a raised garden bed; fill it with soil, and grow food.
Getting the stump out depends on the size of the root ball. I have two palm stumps in the back yard. One has a 36 inch root ball, the other a 48 inch root ball. Not about to dig them out without big tools. So the rot!
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Not@home wrote:

That made me remoniss.
I hope you can understand the accent. Enjoy.
http://www.blasterbates.info/Media.html
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Create a fire break around the tree and use a couple big bags of charcoal for the fire. When the charcoal is burned off and the fire is out, shovel out the ash. The stump will be short enough that you can bury it.
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replying to gfretwell, KW wrote: I burned my oak stump out. Cross-hatched cuts with a chain saw, ringed the stump with concrete block piled in the briquettes,list it on fire and covered it with my webber grill lid. Two bags of charcoal and two days and the stump was below grade. I think I will try the alcohol and water concoction mentioned above. After I cut a bowl in the stump.
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On Fri, 16 Sep 2016 20:14:01 +0000, KW wrote:

First of all, he had a *palm stump*, not an oak like you.
Second, do you think he's been waiting *SEVEN YEARS* for your answer? You Home Moaners Nubs need to read dates!
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Not@home wrote:

Rent a heavy lift helicopter.
TDD
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You can pull out the stump using a chain and a tractor. The easiest and cheapest way is to let it rot. Nitrogen fertilizer (34-0-0) will help it rot faster. Burning is cheap too, but can be annoying to neighbors. Another option is to hire a stump-removal service.
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