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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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
What maybe in 10 years I may be able to just kick it apart?
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).
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??
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. :)
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