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How a Tree Stump is Removed


Trees come down all the time due to storms or disease but once they do come down they can create a whole headache of problems. When the tree gets hauled away, what remains is a stump and that can be the hardest thing to get rid of. The stump is difficult because at the bottom is a vast network of roots that go deep so proper removal will save you a hassle. Below are the ways a tree stump can be removed from the DIY to the professional level.

Assessing Your StumpHow a Tree Stump is Removed

The first thing you need to do is assess your stump. The best way of doing this is by finding out what kind of tree you had. This will give you a better idea of what path to take to get rid of your stump. For example, pine trees have shallow thick roots that make it easier to remove manually while denser trees with deep root systems will be difficult to remove on your own because they go much deeper.

Next, take the age of the tree into account. If the tree is older, the stump will be easier to move, while a tree that was in its prime will be more difficult since the roots will still be strong. If the tree is very young, it will also be relatively easy to get rid of the stump since the roots haven’t had a chance to grow too deep. After assessing your stump, you’re ready to decide how to get rid of it with one of the below methods.

Manually Removing the Stump

If you have assessed your tree and decided that it’s a job that you can handle, the manual removal method is the right one for you. When digging out a stump it’s important that you break up the job, and don’t try to dig the whole stump out. The first step is to dig a trench out around the stump. It also has to be wide enough to expose major roots that you can cut away.

After the trench, the next step is to start getting rid of the root system below. Take an ax or cutting blade and eliminate the exposed roots. Then begin loosening the soil around the stump and work your way around until the stump comes free. If the stump is still stuck, hook it up to a truck to give it the final nudge to come loose. This method is best used with shallow root systems so you don’t have to dig too low to remove the stump.

Removing the Stump with Machinery

The most common approach for getting rid of a stump is the mechanical choice. This method requires a stump grinder, which whittles the stump down until it’s turned into woodchips. Stump grinders are made up of toothed circular blades that take apart the stump layer by layer. Now it is possible to rent your own stump grinder to do the job but this is a job better handled by professionals.

If you do opt for running the machinery yourself it’s important to prepare by clearing away any rocks from the area, cutting away as much of the stump as you can, and slimming the stump down as much as possible before taking the grinder to it.

When operating this machinery it’s important to wear long sleeves, pants, protective eyewear and close-toed shoes to make sure you aren’t hit by any debris or hurt by the machinery. Vernon Imel Tree Service offers stump grinding as one of our services and this way you can have a professional who is familiar with the equipment and knowledgeable about tree removal take care of your stump.

Chemically Removing a Tree Stump

If you choose not to use machinery there is also the option of chemical products. What these do is expedite the decomposition of the stump, allowing for easier removal. The most common chemical used is potassium nitrate, which causes the stump to become softer, and therefore a quicker removal. To begin, drill holes in a large diameter around the stump. This is where you will first put the chemicals and then fill up the rest of the space with water.

After a few weeks, the wood will become mulchy, at which time you can clear away the stump with an ax.

Burning A Tree Stump

If you want to take the manual labor factor out of stump removal then this is probably the best option. Removing a stump with fire usually goes hand-in-hand with chemical removal or a manual removal of a tree stump. This is a great method to use for expediting either of those two removal options.

Like in a chemical removal, the first step is drilling holes into the stump. This time though, these holes should be filled with kerosene or fuel oil. It’s very important not to use gasoline. Let the stump soak that up for a week. Then drop a lit match into each hole. This will cause the stump to begin to smolder, which it will do for a few days. In the end, the stump should be gone completely.

Naturally Get Rid of Your Stump

The final removal method is to naturally let the stump decay. Once the tree is cut down, the stump will naturally start to decompose. If you want to expedite this process, then covering the stump in mulch or fertilizer can help bacteria and fungus to grow. The fungus usually takes the form of mushrooms and mushrooms work best in damp, dark environments. Once the fungus takes root inside the tree, it will feed on it until the stump is gone.

Trees come down all the time and what’s left is a stump that’s hard to remove and takes up space. If your tree falls, call for professional tree removal. We can get rid of the tree, but also get rid of your stump. If it’s a smaller job, you can follow the above methods to make sure your lawn looks as good as new.

No matter which method you choose though, make sure you take all the precautions to do it safely and accurately. For more tree services, contact us at Vernon Imel Tree Service for your Oregon tree service needs.