I got rid of a 3' diameter by 3' tall stump by building a fire on it. It
took about three days using a fan to keep it hot. The grass growing where
it was now makes it about impossible to notice anymore.
The procedure is to drill 1" diameter holes into the stump, 4 or 5
inches deep and keep the holes filled with 34-0-0 (potassium nitrate
or saltpeter). The downside is that some nitrogen will leak into
surrounding area, making turf turn a deep green color.
I found it much easier to cut the stumps as close to the ground as
possible so you can mow over them. For your size saplings, it can't
take too long to allow them to decay naturally.
Potassium nitrate is approx. 14-39-0 and sodium nitrate is 16-0-0.
Ammonium nitrate is 35-0-0 which is what you are referring to and may
leach faster. Saltpeter refers to potassium nitrate but Chilean
saltpeter is sodium nitrate. Myself, I just use whatever fertilizer is
I used a mattock for 20-30 of this sized "volunteer" tree roots. For
the larger trees (6" diameter and up, a couple approaching 20"), I
used either a bow saw or a chain saw to cut, then used a mattock on
some after digging around the stump to reveal roots radiating out.
For the extremely large stumps (including the 35"-40" stump left by
the city after they cut down trees interfering with power lines), I
had a guy with a grinder come in. He used a large unit, not a bumber
mount, which was self-propelled.
If they aren't too big, digging/cutting/roots/digging/cutting roots
around the tree works pretty well to get the stump below ground level
at least a foot or so. Once you get the first couple roots cut with
the mattock, additional roots become easier to cut.
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