removing tree stumps

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I live on 20 forested acres I am familiar with this task. There are three stategies I have used. I have not used the chemical like StumpOut.
1. Wait a year or two and you should be able to pull the stump out or push it over with a something as small as a tractor, skidsteer, pickup, winch, ATV, or even a come-a-long. If it is a small tree, you can push it over and it will just break off at the ground level. If it is larger you might have to yank it out with a winch or pickup at the least. A 24 inch tree is a big one and may require the use of heavier machinery to pull it out. There will be a crater where the stump used to be but this creates less disturbance than the other methods.
2. If you are building something in the spot where the stump is including a driveway or sidewalk or the excavation for these things then you may need to remove the stump right away. This means digging them out with heavy machinery and can still be a pretty tough job depending on the soil conditions and the size and species of tree.
A dozer might be necessary for a 24" tree. A backhoe will also work. A Bobcat skidsteer or similar tractor can be used but can take longer than the others. In any case, a lot of soil will be disturbed, more than you expect. Also, a big crater will be left where the stump used to be possibly requiring you to bring in fill dirt to bring the soil back to the original level and may be necessary anyway. The machine itself can also cause quite a disturbance and the compaction of the soil everywhere you use it or drive it. If the ground is too soft to too frozen, it may be impossible or undesirable to use a machine at all.
3. If it is a yard or garden then a grinder will be your best option. I am able to rent these from my local rental store and they are affordable for the job they do. The kind my store has are pretty crude and require a some muscle to operate. You tow it behind your pickup and then when you unhook it you have to push it up to the stump. You then lock one wheel which is used a pivot to swing the spinning carbide cutters back and forth across the stump in an arc. In order to grind another arc you have to reposition the grinder by pushing or pulling the entire machine to a new spot. A large tree will require several of these repositionings. You might need a helper if you are lacking in size or strength. This is the type my store has and is the most common. It gets the job done but is a hassle to use.
There are other cooler stump grinders and you might be able to rent one if you go to a Bobcat dealer though it will be expensive. I sort of have my heart set on one of these. It mounts on front of a Bobcat skidsteer or any other skid steer for that matter and operates hydraulically. There are two styles.
With one style you have to position it over the stump and then pivot the entire skidsteer back and forth across the stump. This has the disadvantage of disturbing the ground more. The other style, which I like, has an articulated arm that looks similar to a backhoe but has cutters which can be positioned at any place over the stump minimizing equipment repositioning and ground disturbance. Any grinder will only grind to a certain depth below the surface of the soil. Here are some cool links:
For the cheaper generic skidsteer grinder: http://www.skidsteersolutions.com/Skid_Steer_Stump_Grinders_s/19.htm
For the coolest grinder ever from Bobcat: http://www.bobcat.com/products/att/stumpgrinder.html
Good luck with a tough job! Lawrence
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If stumps are not big, say more than eighteen inches in diameter, then removal of those trees without a tap root is easy. I have done quite a few. All you have to do is dig around the stump to uncover the roots and cut or chop through them. The roots tend to go perpendicular to the tree so you shouldn't have to dig more than a foot or so to get to them. Once you cut the root, they are easy to pull out. I just put a chain around the stump and hook it to the trailer hitch. Trees with a tap root (such as pines are another deal). You would have to dig down enough to get access to the tap root and then cut it.
Big trees, call the stump grinder. I had two ground and it was the way to go.
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why would I chopp off at the root, then pull the stump? if the root were cut, wouldn't the tree trunk fall down?
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There are many roots holding the stump in place as well as the soil itself. It is not neccesary or desirable to cut them all. You will have to cut as many roots as possible before any decent stump can be yanked.
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as I think about it, this makes sense- cut a few roots, pull the stump out, then re-reade the hole left behind?
how long would it take for roots to decay? Assume grass is planeted over it on a sloped hill. roots would be under about 6-18 inches of clay and soil.
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maybe so, if it doesn't, then pull it.

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If it does, then no reason to pull the stump (other than out of the hole). I was never that lucky, but se la vi.

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Actually with a backhole removal plan you should leave about 5 feet of the tree in the ground to use for leverage.

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depth of removal depends on the use of the dirt you plan. a shallow garden may only need a foot depth of no stumps, and a 4 foot foundation and a basement needs the big excavation equipment to start the digging.
where? climate and local ordinances may limit your chemical stump removal options. when? is your timeframe for completion [chemical= slow] why? for what depth of soil use.
""What Can I Do With This Ugly Tree Stump?" Try This! Don't rent out a stump grinder; don't hire a tree service! Use StumpOut to get rid of ugly tree stumps with a minimum of hard labor! Just drill a few holes in the stump and pour in StumpOut. It decomposes the wood in a few weeks, leaving holes all the way down. Then drop in a match to burn the pulp. Some chopping may be required on larger stumps. Nonexplosive, dry granular formula. 1lb. can for one stump. 176185 $5.99 at: http://www.improvementscatalog.com/product.asp?product=176185zz&dept%5Fid=12100&subdept%5Fid=12150&cm_ven=GoogleAdwords&cm_cat=IMPOUTDOORCOMBINED9205&cm_pla=ImplngrdnStumpRemoval&cm_ite=ImplngrdnStumpRemoval&code=macs=MP6WGGL
more answers at google: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLG,GGLG:2005-52,GGLG:en&q=stump+out
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Years ago, I knew a social worker/ state employee. His approach was to sign out a state van for the day, put in low gear with cable on bumper.. good for the smaller stumps. Just kidding- but the story is true- wrong person drove by and reported him- don't recall what the penalty was.
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I was in Czechoslovakia in 1974. That was the way they did things there, all the time. But I don't think anyone reported anyone. The government looked at it that if it is a communist country, I have as much right to use the government's equipement as any one else, and I have a right to build my own home with it as much as do government work. They'd take materials too.
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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""What Can I Do With This Ugly Tree Stump?" Try This! Don't rent out a stump grinder; don't hire a tree service! Use StumpOut to get rid of ugly tree stumps with a minimum of hard labor! Just drill a few holes in the stump and pour in StumpOut. It decomposes the wood in a few weeks, leaving holes all the way down. Then drop in a match to burn the pulp. Some chopping may be required on larger stumps. Nonexplosive, dry granular formula. 1lb. can for one stump. 176185 $5.99
On my 18" low-cut stump I tried chainsawing it but burned out my chainsaw. I tried an axe and wedges and broke the handle off my axe. I tried the chemical but no go. I tried sulfuric acid. Then I tried the kerosine&fire method. That worked some on the edges; one of the problems may have been that I had drilled some holes in the middle, with no drain, and when it rained the stump would get waterlogged again. Finally I pushed dirt up against it and hoped bugs and grubs would take it out. It is now two years and the stump is still there, looking just as tough as ever.
I know you are asking how to do it, not how not to do it. So in that spirit let me suggest this: think of all the things you can try and then try one than I did not.
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Now you know why stump grinders were invented. Those other solutions might work for small, 6" stumps, but for a large tree you either need a huge backhoe or a stump grinder.
puttster wrote:

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I've removed 2 stumps in my yard. I hired a person who had a trailer with a portable grinder. In both cases I wanted to put new trees in so They ground the old stump up to a depth of around 24 inches. The first one cost me $50 and the second one cost me $40 but I got it done at the same time as my neighbor did his and so I got a discount on that one. My neighbor has had it done where they only went a few inches down with the grinder -- didn't need to call Julie in that Case. YMMV.

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Years ago, I cleared my building site with a '64 GMC 1 ton. I wrapped a boomchain around the back axle, easier on the frame that way, but watch the brake line, eh? I had about 50 feet of wire rope/cable, what loggers call strawline. With one end tied off to a bigger tree or stump, I wrapped the cable around the tree ( 14'' diam hemlocks they were), up as high as possible, about 10' up using the ladder. Then hook up the truck and slam on the cable till the tree falls over, roots and all.
JK
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jIM wrote:

Stumpgrinders and heavy equipment are good, of course. I've had some limited success with stumpkillers and fire, but that takes time.
Another trick to try is to get the biggest, fastest drill bit you're willing to use, and make swiss cheese out of the stump. Then, whack this swiss cheese layer to pieces with an axe. Drill up and whack down another layer. Repeat until you get the stump below ground level. Bury it, and let it rot.
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the bury it situation is a reasonable one. Any guidelines on how deep?
I need to knock stumps down ( I left 3-5 foot after cutting trees down), then I could bury when my yard gets graded.
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jIM wrote:

It depends. If you don't plan on doing a lot of digging in the area, it might only be necessary to leave 5 or 6 inches of dirt for an aerator or plugger to operate. If you never plan on doing that, just make sure it's deep enough that you won't be tripping over it if the dirt settles.
The worms, bugs, fungus, and bacteria aren't too picky about soil depth.
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Hey, I like it! a 12" stump has ~100 sq in, so if you use a 1" bit, figure 1 minute per hole, yer probably done in two hours. I have been going at my stump for two years!
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I had a pretty good sized stump and some guys offered to get it out for $100. I was expecting some fancy equipment, they just used an axe and a shovel. They just dug and chopped until it came out with a chain on their truck. It took about an hour.
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