I've got an old cherry tree stump which I really want rid of. It's
probably about 10" high by 15" across, and the problem is that it's in an
awkward position at the foot of a banked area, and surrounded by paving
stones, so would be very disruptive and difficult to dig out. It's
inaccessible to a tree stump grinder (other than maybe something hand-
Burning it out seems the way forward, and I've tried several times (over
years), burying the thing in burning coal. Trouble is the stump doesn't
really burn much as such; it just chars over, and has got quite dished on
top, but there's a lot more to go. Anyway, it occurred to me that maybe I
could try again this summer but first impregnate the remaining timber over
a period of time (maybe honeycombing it with a drill first) to encourage it
to burn properly. Anyone tried this? What would be good to use, that
wouldn't just evaporate off?
I'm not after getting the whole thing out - if I just get the stump below
ground level and cover it with a plant tub or something, that would be
Or any other constructive ideas!?
On Sat, 22 Mar 2014 17:41:34 GMT, Lobster
I think saltpetre (potassium nitrate) is the stuff to use. If you
drill a vertical hole into the wood and pack it full of saltpetre, the
rain water will dissolve it and it will eventually permeate the wood.
This will encourage the wood to rot, as it supplies a source of
nitrogen for bacteria, and will also make the stump easier to burn as
it is an oxidiser.
It's not a quick solution though.
I'm not sure I understand why you can't just saw it off at ground level.
You could then put a paving slab on it (to create a form of shallow
plinth) and add the plant tub you mention.
You could stretch this idea to drilling holes in the flush stump and
pouring SBK in them before placing the slab plinth. That way it will
rot away out of site and be safe for passing animals and children.
SBK Superbike (racing motorbikes)
SBK Svenska Brukshundklubben
SBK Snowboard Kids (gaming)
SBK Stichting Bouwkwaliteit (Dutch)
SBK Short Bus Kids
SBK South Brooklyn Railway Company
SBK Single Below Knee (amputation)
On Sat, 22 Mar 2014 17:41:34 +0000, Lobster wrote:
Probably no need to wait until summer.
Possibly try a more serious fire instead of just heaping coals?
If you build a temporary wall around it using old bricks, blocks and stuff
you turn it into a fire pit.
Then light a fire around the stump and keep feeding it for a few hours.
Once you get a really high temperature the stump should begin to char away
- but it will take time because the charcoal protects the wood underneath.
Keep poking the stump with an iron bar or similar to break off the
charcoal and this will both feed the fire and expose more wood.
It may take several attempts, but if you persevere say over a couple of
weeks you should be able to burn the stump down below ground level.
Then again, one good steady fire could shift it.
Why not try hollowing it out and using it as the plant tub, this will in
time help it to rot.
If you had left 4 or 5ft of the trunk then it would have made digging it
out an easier job as you would have had a good leaver.
Alternately why not dig down about a foot then get someone with a chain
saw to saw it off below the ground level you want, a 5 minute job for
You can get angle grinder disks which are similar to a proper stump
grinder, basically a ring of chain-saw chain wrapped round a hub.
Sometimes used for "carving".
Drill a lot of parallel deep holes with a big (say 25 mm) auger to
remove a large proportion of the material?
I have used a 1 inch chisel in a 4 kg SDS drill to attack similar things
in the past.
As another poster said, saltpetre (potassium nitrate) is a good
oxidising agent if you can saturate the stump with it before applying
fire. Potassium permanganate is another possibility, perhaps easier to
obtain. When trying to purchase such things in kilogram quantities,
suggest blacking up, put on false beard, and speak with funny accent. (Not).
I recently had a need to produce lots of smoke and Potassium Nitrate was
easily and cheaply available from suppliers on Ebay.
As far a removing stumps, I drilled lots of 1" dia holes about 6" into a
12" dia stump a few years ago and filled with Pot' Nitrate. I all but
forgot about it for 3 or 4 years and when I went back to it it just
pulled out of the ground , having rotted below the surface.
So just buy a cheap pack of three crosscut hand saws and set to with
the saws, or attack it with a splitting axe or just drive a 2" wide
bolster chisel into it an inch from the edge, split lumps off it and
work yoru way across. Might need some extra cold chisels as wedges or
get a log splitting grenade. Just takes a bit of physical effort.
I would cut it off flush with a green wood blade in a reciprocating saw.
The turn it into a swiss cheese on top with an auger bit. At which point
there are various options for the last stage including many of those
mentioned above, as well as the attention of a big roofing blow torch to
char it, clean off the charred bit with SDS chisel or arbortech disk in
an angle grinder. The repeat a couple of times until its low enough.
On Saturday, March 22, 2014 5:41:34 PM UTC, Lobster wrote:
You can break it up any way you like. If you've got something that can cut
into it, albeit not far, at ground level, cut in, chop the overhang off wit
h axe, repeat. Or cut across the top with circular saw and axe off. If you'
ve got no effective power saw, auger drills are a workable way to remove bu
Saltpeter. It (dead stump) smoulders nicely in an oxygen rich atmosphere
We had an old elm stump - going back 50+ years - and we were burning out
the ditch adjoining it. It caught fire, and we doused it, but the next
morning it had almost gone to ground level and in the next few days it
simply vanished underground. Could not put it out.
I did the same with a leylandii 15 years ago. Built a fire on top and
fed it and when it went out, no stump left.
so pour diesel or put candles on it or use old engine oil on it and get
a good blaze going that will draw in air.
It WILL burn.
(in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) – a system of government where the least capable to
I've got an old cherry tree stump which I really want rid of. It's
Don't waste your time and fuel. Just attack it first of all with a drill or
saw. I used an old blade in the circular saw crossing the top from all
directions, then finish it off with hammer and wood chisel. It only took me
a couple of hours chiselling spread over several sessions and it was gone.
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