Stuck with a stump in your yard? Besides being a nuisance, stumps left in the ground can attract termite, carpenter ants and other pests as they rot. According to SFGate, it takes up to 10 years to decompose completely. Leaving a stump in the ground also allows for the spread of plant diseases like honey fungus and armillaria root rot.
Although there are some chemicals that can be used to decompose stumps, that process is quite lengthy and the chemicals will stay in the ground forever. The fastest way to remove your stump is with a stump grinder.
Remove the Entire Stump
If you decide to remove a tree stump, be sure to get the entire stump, not just the part above the ground. Otherwise, the stump produces shoots. If these shoots grow, they can damage your driveway, flowerbeds, gardens and sidewalks.
Proper Stump Removal Tools are Essential
Attempting to remove a stump without the proper tools can be time consuming and difficult. A stump grinder is a mechanical device with teeth that grind the stump into wood shavings (mulch). You can use these shavings to fill the hole or create compost/mulch for your garden. Grinders remove the entire stump because they go down into the soil (as much as 18 inches). This is important because it ensures the stump is completely gone and cannot put out any more shoots.
While stump grinders are effective in getting the job done quickly and efficiently, unless you have a lot of stumps to grind, you probably don’t want to spend the money on purchasing a stump grinder. For most do-it-yourselfers, renting a stump grinder from an equipment rental service is probably the way to go. You get to utilize the power of a stump grinder without breaking the bank on equipment you’ll rarely use.
Stump Removal Using a Grinder
The materials you need for this project:
- Safety Glasses
- Work Gloves
- A Mattock
- Stump Grinder
- Chain Saw
- Use your safety glasses!
- Use the shovel or mattock to clear the area around the stump. This is important because rocks and debris harm the grinder.
- Use the chain saw to cut away the stump until it is as close to ground level as possible.
- Use the hydraulic lever and raise the wheel of the grinder about 2 inches above the stump.
- Turn the grinder on and start lowering it into the stump.
- Use the lever to move the wheel side to side.
- Remove about 3-inches of the stump.
- Raise the grinder and move forward.
- Repeat steps three through seven until the entire stump is approximately 6-inches below the surrounding soil.
Create Compost Out of Wood Shavings
To make compost, the easiest way is to fill the pit left after removing the stump. At this stage, the wood shavings take up more room than the stump, so you may want to expand the hole that remains after stump removal. Create your compost by adding blood meal to your stump shavings at the rate of no more than four ounces of blood meal per square yard of wood shavings. The blood meal contains high levels of nitrogen and ammonia acts as the activator. Keep the shavings covered for about a year to complete the process. After they’ve decomposed, add more soil to level out the hole and plant your grass or lay sod and water in well.