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Author Topic: stump removal - best way to rot a stump  (Read 13809 times)

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Offline PB Logging

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stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« on: January 09, 2007, 09:07:14 pm »
Stump elimination, non mechanical, non chemical, no fire either.  What is the best way to casue a stump to rot or at least speed the process up? 

It is my hypothesis that a stump cut at 18" above ground will rot faster than a stump cut at or as near as practical to ground level. 

My thinking is that bacteria will take action on the tissues that are above ground more rapidly than those that are at ground level.  The analogy that I make is the subsurface portion of the stump is similar to pressure treated lumber in so much as it has been exposed to the avaialbe bacteria and did not rot while the tree was standing/alive/healthy.  Where as, the above ground portion of the stump is simialar to common lumber in so much as it does fine when protected but when exposed to the elements it is highly susceptible to bacterial action.

I'm interested in some science here.  Does my hypothesis hold any merit?  Resasoning for and against? 

As part of the urban forestry services that we provide stump grinding is available.  When a client chooses not to have a stump ground out when a tree is removed I advocate leaving the stump at 24-36" above the ground.  While ugly, have you ever tripped over a 3' stump, damaged a tire, an oil pan, a rear end, an exhasut system, etc.  Typically, stumps are left behind as a result of economic considerations.  Are we doing our client any good by leaving the stump taller in consideration of the length of time it will take that stump to rot?

To narrow things down a bit lets please not take into consideration the value of the 3' piece of log left behind.  I'm stricly interested in the stump.  All varialbes that might come into play when making a stump cut should be ignored. 

Again I ask - What is the best way to casue a stump to rot or at least speed the process up? 



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Offline Tom

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Re: stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2007, 09:14:35 pm »
An old timer's solution around here for pine is to cut the stump a little high.  The sap will pump out of the top.  When the resin solidifies, it mean that the stump is through pumping.  Then cut the top of the stump off.  It leaves the bottom of the stump without protective resin and unsealed.

Rot generally seems to grow fastest where the wood is damp but alternates between dry and wet.  That is why fence posts rot at ground level.   We will flush cut big hardwoods close to the ground and bore a few holes into them with the chainsaw.  You can buy enzymes from the box stores that is supposed to help, but we just put a few grass clippings on the stump and let nature do its thing.
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Offline logbutcher

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Re: stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2007, 09:20:31 pm »
I cut stumps to ground level only when trail/skid making. Saw slits in the stump help it to absorb moisture, make bacteria, algae, fungi, lichens that finally "rot" the cellulose that's the solid 'wood'. Otherwise it's too much work and danger to ground cut; kills chains. Stumps are usually left about a foot depending on the cut and buttress of the tree.
It's also too much extra work and $$$ to pull stumps. The soil needs woody debris for regen anyhow.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2007, 09:39:44 pm »
You didn't say what kind.I mostly deal with white maple,white pine,some fir and a little red oak.I have a couple pastures that I'm slowly claiming back.I have cut hundreds of trees out of these pastures.I cut them as close to the ground as I can and than a year later go back and cut them off again.The stumps will rise up a couple inches when the ground settles around them.Does a job on a chain.With the white maple,keep the suckers off it all the time.Stump will be gone in 5 years.Now those white pine stumps will hang on for years and years.Won't get no suckers from it,but they are as bad as red oak.The stump takes years to rot.I have cut a bowl in a poplar stump and kept the rock salt and water to it.This keep from having 100's of trees growing every where.If I was dealing with 1-2 stumps I would and have put the rock salt and water to it.The quicker it draws in the salt the quicker it will die and start to rot,if the stump will rot.
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Offline solodan

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Re: stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2007, 10:20:52 pm »
  When a client chooses not to have a stump ground out when a tree is removed I advocate leaving the stump at 24-36" above the ground.  While ugly, have you ever tripped over a 3' stump,     

Or you could advocate leaving it 6-8 feet above the ground  and carve it into a bear. ;D

Offline Tom

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Re: stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2007, 10:22:53 pm »
I have left stumps and cut shelves in them for potted plants or made garden chairs from them.  The larger diameter the stump the more creative one can become.
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Offline Onthesauk

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Re: stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2007, 10:48:57 pm »
I know you said you didn't want to burn them, but read an interesting approach some time ago.  Cut it about a foot high.  Drill a dozen holes as deep as you can run a bit in.  Fill the holes with diesel and cover the stump with black plastic.  6-8 weeks later, fill the holes with diesel again and then burn.  Can't vouch  for this system, but the individual describing it said it works.
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Offline Hi-Country Orange

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Re: stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2007, 11:01:05 pm »
PB logging :i'm not sure what type equipment you got but could you under cut one side of the stump & push the entire tree & stump over in one shot  smiley_huh2

Offline OneWithWood

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Re: stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2007, 11:25:57 am »
An easy solution if you got a bit of time:

Order some antler grow, they were a forum sponsor at one time and Jeff's BIL is or was a distributor or something like that.  Anyway I put some on some problem stumps last summer and the deer ate the stumps down to below grade.  I am now in the process of eating one of the deer  ;).  A definate win-win situation.
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Offline Bill

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Re: stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2007, 03:29:12 pm »
Mostly moisture and shade seem to help rot things around here. I'd go with the holes ( whether by saw or drill ) and then keep 'em covered with leaves/clippings and such so they're always moist. Seems to work like that when I'm collecting firewood someone wants me to "clean up" for them.

Good Luck . . .

Offline ohsoloco

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Re: stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2007, 07:03:17 pm »
I remember reading in a Sawmill and Woodlot Management magazine that someone sells bar oil that contains mushroom (or some kind of fungi) spores that do their thing on the stump.  It was pretty pricey if I recall. 

My dad used to say to rot a stump you should bore holes in the stump and fill them with saltpeter...don't have a clue if this actually works or not  ::)

Online Furby

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Re: stump removal - best way to rot a stump
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2007, 07:49:47 pm »
The "covering" of the stump may be a big key in all this.
About 10 years ago we lost a muti stem black cherry in my parents backyard.
As it was near the pool and I couldn't dig it out, I ran the chainsaw several inches into the stump every few inches across the stump, like a grid. The stump is only a few inches above ground and I had read the saw cuts would allow more moisture into the stump to rot it faster.
This is a very shaded area where grass don't grow but moss does.
The stump has not rotted hardly at all.
There is another stump about 20-30' away that is also a black cherry and it was left a little taller and not cut into with the chainsaw.
It took about 15 or so years for it to rot, but it also got more sun and there was some bark left on it for years.

My thinking is that the saw cuts may be allowing the stump to dry out rather then rot.
I'm considering covering it with leaves and leaving them there all summer after reading this thread.