Stump Removal

Stump Removal process is tedious and involves patience. There are various stump removal techniques discussed in the book called “HomeOwner’s Complete guide to the Chainsaw” – by “Brain J Ruth” and “Jen W. Ruth”. This article is presented to our users below:

Scarf cuts are rarely made down close to the ground. They are made at a comfortable and safe working height. You are usually left with a stump of about three feet high. If it is out in the woods, you can probably just leave it. Eventually, it will decompose. Even if it is in a backyard or garden, you might want to leave it as a decorative item; perhaps mount a birdbath or bird feeder on top of it. If it is a large stump, you might even tempt a chainsaw sculptor to carve it. But sometimes, as when I cut down the large pine tree next to the house, it just has to go. In this situation, the stump was very heavy, so I decided to take it in two steps. First, I cut it down about halfway. Then I cut it down to about three inches from the ground.

1 Horizontal cut comes first:  Kneeling on one kneel I start by making a horizontal cut about a foot off the ground. 

 2 Cut around Stump: I slowly cut in deeper working my way around the stump. The Tip of the guide bar should never be cutting, That can lead to kickback.

3 Blade pinched: I am about three-fourth of the way through the cut, but the weight of the trunk and tension in the wood has caused the kerf to close on the bar, pinching it in place.

4 Turn off saw: Insert wedge. I quickly turn off the saw, which is hidden behind the trunk in this photo, and tap in a plastic wedge.

5 Remove pinched chainsaw: With the wedge in place and the saw off, I can pull out the pinched bar. 

6 Resume stump cutting: Leaving the wedge in the kerf, I start up the saw again and finish the cut.  

7 Finishing the job: Then I push the log off the stump. 

8 Make the final cut: The final cut will be made just about three inches above the ground Clear any dirt that may be mounded up to avoid dulling your chain. 

9 Follow procedure a second time: The process is the same but here I am down on both knees. Just be sure to keep the bar horizontal so you do not cut into the ground. 

10 Small, low stump remains: Finally, the cut is completed and the stump is left only a couple of inches high. 

When using a chainsaw, the closest you will probably be able to safely get to removing the stump is a couple of inches up from the ground level. But what if you do not want to see the stump at all? 

You have a number of options: 

Be patient (very patient): Cover up the stump with some sod and keep it moist. Eventually it will rot, but it might take five to ten years. If it re-sprouts in the meantime, use an herbicide, such as Roundup, on the sprouts. You might hasten the rotting process by drilling one-inch diameter holes vertically into the stump. During the first year, fill the holes with a high-nitrogen fertilizer to encourage the growth of the organisms that decay the wood. After the first year, the organisms that decay the wood are carbon limited, so add granulated sugar into the holes.

Chemicals: Use a chemical made to encourage natural decomposition in stumps such as Stump-Out, Green Light’s Stump Remover, or Revenge’s Tree Stump Remover. To use these, drill one-inch diameter holes in the top and sides of the stump, add the granular chemicals and fill with water. The stump will start to become punky in four to twelve weeks and you can try to break it up with an ax. But do not expect miracles. Also, keep pets and kids away. These products contain some nasty chemicals such as potassium nitrate, sulfuric acid, and nitric acid. One other thing: -these chemicals do not usually work on just-cut stumps. The stump should be dead for at least a year before these chemicals will actively start working. 

Burning: Traditionally were burnt out. But before you go down that road, be sure it is legal in your community. (in many areas, it is not anymore.) And the problem is that once the wood ignites, it may burn for two to three weeks and you will need to monitor it closely. The result will likely be charcoal, which will not decompose, and you will end up having to dig it out anyway. Do not burn out a stump that is close to a building (such as the house in this project), woods, or grassy areas.

Grubbing: No, this does not refer to introducing insects (grubs) into the stump. It is the term used for digging around the stump and then trying to pull the whole stump out of the ground. It is a lot of work and I would not recommend it for stumps that are larger than about fourteen inches in diameter. The easiest way is to dig a trench around the stump, cut off the lateral roots, pry the stump to one side and then sever the taproot. Finally, you may need some kind of a winch to pull the stump out of the hole. 

Stump Grinding: The method I recommend, it is the quickest and easiest–but unfortunately the most expensive. You can rent a stump grinder or have a tree service do it. The grinder is like a metal angle grinder with large teeth that chip the remaining stump into mulch. It can grind as deep as ten to twelve inches below grade and the grinding  can be neatly raked back into the hole or removed. Within a matter of few minutes, the stump will be an unseen memory. Depending on the size and location of the stump, a tree service may charge $100 to more than $1000 for this service.