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5 Ways to Remove Tree Stumps from Your Backyard

Nothing is more beautiful than a large tree dominating your landscaping. Unfortunately, when that tree dies, it can leave quite an eye sore.

Taking out a very large tree can be extraordinarily difficult. Even after a tree has been removed, there is more to the problem than meets the eye. Not only does a tree removal process involve the entire tree, branches and the trunk, but it also includes the stump as well.

And while there are several ways to accomplish stump removal on your property, some do a better job than others. If you want to remove an old stump from your landscaping and create fertile soil ready to be planted again on your Oregon home property, then contact Mr. Tree.5 Ways to Remove Tree Stumps from Your Backyard

#1 Hand Digging

First of all, this is not a recommendation, only what has been done in the past. Hand digging out a tree stump involves intensive manual labor, so it’s a valid method if the tree was particularly small and shallow rooted.

To dig out the stump, it’s important to dig around the roots. Using a shovel, dig next to the stump, exposing the roots underneath the surrounding dirt, and continue clearing on all sides of the stump until the largest roots around the tree are exposed.

Once the roots are exposed, we usually cut the tree roots using a lopper or a root saw. We break the roots down into manageable pieces. After clearing away as much of the root system as possible, we use a grub hoe to wrench the remaining embedded roots out of the ground. We keep cutting and pulling until the entire root system is removed.

Once the root system has been removed, it’s fairly easy to dislodge the tree stump from the ground. A shovel should fit underneath to lift the stump out.

This may sound like something you could do on your own, but it’s not without a fair share of hurdles. For instance, if at any time you discover a larger root system, or it’s difficult to expose the roots, then a different stump removal process may be needed – with different tools you don’t have. This is one of the reasons why it’s best to contact Mr. Tree for assistance.

#2 Stump Grindin

A stump grinder is a machine that grinds up a tree stump and its root system to a depth of (approximately) one foot beneath the ground. Stump grinders are heavy equipment and should be handled by experienced users only to avoid accidents or injury. Gloves, goggles, and ear protectors are a must when operating.

The stump grinder is positioned over the tree’s remaining stump. It will grind the stump’s surface and work its way down into the ground to grind up all the roots as well. The grinder needs to be moved around the circumference of the stump in order to reach all roots around the stump as well. Without proper handling, this piece of machinery can get away from you – and you don’t want that.

Once the stump is ground, we remove all grindings from the hole and replace them with dirt. The ground will repair itself faster without the ground up wood in place.

#3 Backhoe or Skidsteer

For particularly large projects, like completely overhauling your backyard landscaping, a backhoe may be the tool of choice.

Backhoes work best when removing a variety of stumps. The backhoe takes a lot of space and will usually create a significant mess through the process, but we clean up afterwards. That said, it can seem like your yard just underwent a tornado, so we only use this method when substantial landscaping and maintenance is required.

If you have a select amount of smaller (or medium-sized) stumps, then the tool we use is called a skidsteer machine. The bucket or forklift attachment is used to pop the stump out, using the bucket or forklift to move it off site.

#4 Chemical Removal

In some cases, we’ll use a chemical stump removal process. What we do is drill holes into the stump using a large drill bit. We ensure that these holes are placed evenly over the entire surface area to have the maximum effect. Then, we apply the chemical stump remover directly into each hole.

Most stump removers are composed of powdered potassium nitrate, which reacts to wood and softens it to make it rot more quickly. Chemical stump remover can be extremely dangerous if used incorrectly, so it’s recommended that you don’t try this yourself, but rely on a trained professional to use the product according to the guidelines.

Over the next few weeks the stump should start rotting, leaving it softened enough to remove with relative ease. Due to the timeframe, we only recommend this route if you need the stump removal to be as least invasive as possible (e.g. if loud noise would otherwise wake your newborn).

Once the stump has rotted away, a simple axe or shovel can finish the job. We may use ax or shovel to chop away leftover pieces of wood until the stump and roots are completely removed. Of course, to prevent the risk of chemicals, we typically fill the hole with loam or another filler (like sawdust) to stabilize the ground.

#5 Fire

Technically, you can remove a tree stump with fire, but this is not a recommendation in the slightest. This method of removing a tree stump is a bit archaic and typically reserved for people living in remote areas that are not at risk of causing a wildfire.

In the past, people stacked scrap wood over and around the stump and then set it on fire. Of course this required significant monitoring as it can take several hours for the stump to burn away completely.

Once the fire burns all the way down to the stump, the ashes need to be shoveled out and discarded (while the hole is once again filled with loam or sawdust).

A final note, burning stumps away is illegal and dangerous. Most cities don’t allow tree stump removal in this manner, but moreover, you don’t want to find out your tree stump is resting on top of a septic tank or (FAR WORSE) a gas line. It’s all too common for fires to get out of control.

Of course, you can avoid the dangers of precautions by simply contact Mr. Tree for stump removal services today.