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Natural stump removal

Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3769
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  53
When I bought my land it was covered in Douglas fir stumps. I found this quite distressing and considered hiring a machine to pull them. They are breaking down nicely on their own now and with a small amount of compost added to hollowed out tops they will become planters soon.

   Nine years ago I stuck the tip of my chainsaw deep into a few of these stumps and peed in the holes regularly. I also covered a couple with dog shit. These stumps rotted faster than the others. I probably should have added lime. The fastest rotting of all was one that got the pee and poo treatment and was then covered with a compost pile consisting mostly of scotch broom which is a legume. This one is unrecognizable as a stump now.

  The large root structures of my stumps absorb plenty of water during the winter so it's unlikely that I'll need to water these flowerpots very often.

   Outside of grinding and excavating, does anyone have other techniques to expedite the decomposition of tree stumps?


QUOTES FROM MEMBERS --- In my veterinary opinion, pets should be fed the diet they are biologically designed to eat. Su Ba...The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know. I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one. John Polk ...Even as we sit here, wondering what to do, soil fungi are degrading the chemicals that were applied. John Elliott ... O.K., I originally came to Permies to talk about Rocket Mass Heaters RMHs, and now I have less and less time in my life, and more and more Good People to Help ! Al Lumley...I think with the right use of permie principles, most of Wyoming could be turned into a paradise. Miles Flansburg... Then you must do the pig's work. Sepp Holzer
                  


Joined: Jan 31, 2011
Posts: 92
Cut the stump as low to the ground as you safely can. The less stump there is to rot, the quicker it will. Drill lots of holes as deep as you can (to create more surface area). Cut the roots that you can get to (stump doesn't live as long). Dump compost, urine, and excrement as you did to hasten the degradation (more moisture retention and bacterial action). Dump extra compost on the pile and try to create a hot compost heap around the stump. If it's not near your home, import termites.

There's also chemical stump remover. Which is potassium nitrate, aka saltpeter. This occurs naturally in many areas (like old horse stables) and works really well when you can find it.
Robert Reid


Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 24
    
  10
when I was a kid, my dad cut down some trees in our yard, possibly elm due to a batch of Dutch Elm disease coming in.
A couple of them were cut off and left with 3-4foot stumps.
After a couple of years, the roots had rotted and having the longer stump above ground allowed him to easily push them over with the tractor and they broke off about a foot below ground.
L. Jones


Joined: Apr 29, 2012
Posts: 80
Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
Best success IME is to have an entire pile of manure completely covering the stump. That way it's not got the opportunity to dry out as with a pile just on top, or being peed on - feel free to pee on the pile, of course. Add more manure if any stump sticks out. If you are in a hurry (relatively speaking) take a pick to the stump after a year or two and worry off any chunks that will come free, then rebuild with fresh manure. Otherwise just give it a few years (In drier climes that's probably a few years and some water, or cover the manure pile with a layer of plastic to hold water in, or something like that - not needed here.)

For lawn tree stumps, this then becomes a flowerbed. I supposed here it would be more popular to call it a hugelkulture, since everything is more exotic "auf Deutsch." Anyway, planting something should help move the process along, though things will plant themselves if you don't bother to plant it.

Certainly the last batch of manure I got was loaded with mushroom spore (and mushrooms, and no, it wasn't "mushroom compost" - just an outside pile of horse poo. Presumably some fraction of those go after the wood, and the nitrogen helps balance out the stump's carbon.


Muddling towards a more permanent agriculture. Not after a guru or a religion, just a functional garden.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
if it is a fairly fresh stump, why not plug it with some mushroom plugs..(check with fungi perfecti)


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Jay Green


Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 587
    
    8
Dale Hodgins wrote: When I bought my land it was covered in Douglas fir stumps. I found this quite distressing and considered hiring a machine to pull them. They are breaking down nicely on their own now and with a small amount of compost added to hollowed out tops they will become planters soon.

   Nine years ago I stuck the tip of my chainsaw deep into a few of these stumps and peed in the holes regularly. I also covered a couple with dog shit. These stumps rotted faster than the others. I probably should have added lime. The fastest rotting of all was one that got the pee and poo treatment and was then covered with a compost pile consisting mostly of scotch broom which is a legume. This one is unrecognizable as a stump now.

  The large root structures of my stumps absorb plenty of water during the winter so it's unlikely that I'll need to water these flowerpots very often.

   Outside of grinding and excavating, does anyone have other techniques to expedite the decomposition of tree stumps?


Fence your lot with some hot wire and drill holes down by the roots of the stump and fill the holes with corn. Turn a few pigs into the lot and let them do what they do best. All your stumps will be rooted out in short order.

Another method is soaking them in old cooking oil, build a fire cairn over them and let them burn...keep adding to the fire until you have a good bed of coals burning on and around your stumps, then cover lightly with soil and let them continue to burn with very little O2 to the fire...you will see wisps of smoke and vapor on occasion. Leave it alone and let it burn all the materials to completion. Scrape back your covering and see if there is any of the stump still there....if it is, it should be charcoal and will chip out quite easily. You've also created some great biochar for the soils there.
Kat deZwart


Joined: Aug 13, 2011
Posts: 103
Location: Limburg, Netherlands, sandy loam
    
    1
- My dad encouraged my brother and me to build small fires on top and (later) in the pit of an old stump that had been annoying him. He even bought us little sausages and found a old grid to use as a grill. We as kids had loads of fun and in one summer, the stump was gone. But that was just one stump.
- On my current gardens I had to take out a load of laurels (Prunus laurocerasus) and they keep pushing up from the roots. Eventually I hired a milling stumpcutter and shredded the hell out of them.
- Another larger stump from a cherrytree that I left a bit higher now carries a birdfeeder and has some holed drilled in it for various solitaire bees and bumblebees. Eventually it will degrade and be gone, but for now, it just has some useful time left.
- I build a small hugelkulturish mound over de the stump of a catalpa-tree and planted new bushes on that.

Just some thoughts...
John Alabarr


Joined: Sep 25, 2012
Posts: 55
L. Jones wrote:Best success IME is to have an entire pile of manure completely covering the stump. That way it's not got the opportunity to dry out as with a pile just on top, or being peed on - feel free to pee on the pile, of course. Add more manure if any stump sticks out. If you are in a hurry (relatively speaking) take a pick to the stump after a year or two and worry off any chunks that will come free, then rebuild with fresh manure. Otherwise just give it a few years (In drier climes that's probably a few years and some water, or cover the manure pile with a layer of plastic to hold water in, or something like that - not needed here.)

For lawn tree stumps, this then becomes a flowerbed. I supposed here it would be more popular to call it a hugelkulture, since everything is more exotic "auf Deutsch." Anyway, planting something should help move the process along, though things will plant themselves if you don't bother to plant it.

Certainly the last batch of manure I got was loaded with mushroom spore (and mushrooms, and no, it wasn't "mushroom compost" - just an outside pile of horse poo. Presumably some fraction of those go after the wood, and the nitrogen helps balance out the stump's carbon.



Cows, horses, and goats cannot digest cellulose on their own. They rely on microorganisms in their digestive tracts to digest it for them and make the nutrients in the plant material available. Piling manure of a ruminant on a stump should speed up the break down process since the stump has a lot of cellulose in it.
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
Over the years we've cleared many acres bringing them back from forest to the pastures they once were. I don't pull the stumps. Instead we just cut them low to the ground. Regen from the stumps, which happens with some tree species, is good fodder for our livestock. Keeping stumps moist makes them rot faster. Pigs don't clear stumps very fast, contrary to the popular image. We have about 400 pigs and they're working their way on the ~70 acres of stumps. Over time the stumps get rotted enough that the pigs do pull them out. I experimented with drilling with molasses, corn, etc and it didn't make much difference. Putting some dirt on top did help. Note that our pigs are pastured and don't get fed commercial hog feed / grain so they're well motivated, there is just too much other more interesting forage in the pasture rather than stumps. Once the stumps get some good grubs going in them though then they get more interested.

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/
David Mcgowan Hicks


Joined: Sep 11, 2012
Posts: 32
whats wrong with the axe, shovel, and car jack method?

You can get rid of a stump in a couple hours this way, without undue strain on the back or the use of fossil fuels.
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3769
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  53
I've devised a simple method of converting a stump to a rocket stove.

Using a chainsaw with a long bar, plunge the nose strait down. Then dig a hole beneath soil depth at whatever spot is easiest, lowest on a slope or toward the prevailing wind. Do a few plunge cuts horizontally to meet with the chimney. A fire in the lower cut will naturally find its way to the chimney. The stump could be allowed to burn out or fires could be snuffed after each use if a stove is valued more than the removal of the stump. Wood is a good insulator so a stove like this will work well once the first fire dries out the core.

Anyone who has burned out a hollow stump can attest to the huge increase in burn rate once the fire perforates the side of the stump, thus allowing air flow. This is natures rocket stove.

I believe this is the fastest way yet to create a rocket stove for outdoor cooking. Two flat rocks may be needed, one for a feed door damper and one as a snuffer and rain cap. Cook flatbread on a chunk of slate.

Not advisable during fire season.

Not advisable if you are on peat, muskeg or other flamible soil.

Don't try this in the livingroom !!!

Photo to follow. I need to find a suitable stump.
Judith Browning
steward

Joined: Jun 21, 2012
Posts: 2973
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 stoney acidic sandy loam
    
101
I think patience is the best stump removal system. We have several around the yard and our woods. I planted a pie cherry within the big roots of an old white oak stump and it is growing very fast and lush. Birds, I think, have spread my echinacea seed so that it is growing against a couple stumps. These are 100 year old trees stressed by years of weather events then killed by white oak fungus. The stumps are two to three feet tall and reminders of these beautiful trees. I am using them as the core for my new fruit tree guilds after the success of the pie cherry.

"We're all just walking each other home."
Ram Dass
David Hartley


Joined: Mar 23, 2012
Posts: 258
Brenda, I agree If someone is setup for doing a bit of Mycology. There are several species that have their niche growing area in the roots or root/butt interface One of the most medicinal and edible of gourmets, Grifola frondosa (Hen of the Woods), grows in such a habitat.
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3769
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  53
Brenda Groth wrote:if it is a fairly fresh stump, why not plug it with some mushroom plugs..(check with fungi perfecti)


I'm leaning more toward the fungi approach. I'm also planning to create a stump dump where others can pay me a fee to dump off their tree stumps. Hugelkultur and mushroom production will consume this material. I have to be selective. Hardwood stumps are preferred while coniferous stumps are much more common around here.

Also came up with a simple method of creating a rocket stove from a stump using a chainsaw to cut properly shaped openings.
David Hartley


Joined: Mar 23, 2012
Posts: 258
There are quite a few aggressive species; such as white or blue Oysters and Reishi, to name a couple... Turkey Tail is also very aggressive and will happily colonize Douglas Fir There is a species or two of Chicken of the Woods that should be well of For, as well... There are also some "root-rot" and "butt-rot" fungi that might work; but I would have to look it up


ETA: Hmmm; Reishi might not do so well at that lattitude, now that I think about it
Elliot Everett


Joined: Dec 20, 2011
Posts: 26
Location: Coastal Uruguay. Wet winters, hot and dry summers. 1000 mm annual rain.
We have lots of eucalyptus, which will regrow (coppice) if you cut them down. I read somewhere that ash prevents regrowth and it seems to work for me so far. I cut the stump down to ground level and cover with ash from the woodstove. One tree we cut down a year ago has not grown back using this method. I have no idea why this works, nor do I know if it speeds up decomposition.
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3769
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  53
I would think ash might extend the life of a stump since lye might kill off bacteria.
 
 
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