03 Nov How to remove tree stumps
How to remove tree stumps
When one of the trees in your garden falls or is felled, the stump needs to be removed to prevent suckers from the roots shooting up and turning into another plant.
Tree stumps which are completely dead won’t form suckers but they can pose the risk of forming fungal root rots, such as honey fungus, which may infect other nearby trees.
When to remove a tree stump
The best time to remove a tree stump depends on a few factors, including the climate in your area and the condition of the stump. Here are some things to consider:
- Season: The best time to remove a tree stump is usually in the fall or winter when the ground is drier and harder. This makes it easier to access the roots and remove the stump without causing damage to your lawn or garden. In addition, insects and other pests are less active during the colder months, reducing the risk of infestation.
- Stump condition: The condition of the stump can also affect when you should remove it. If the stump is fresh and has not begun to rot, it may be easier to remove in the summer or early fall when the ground is still soft. However, if the stump is older and has begun to decay, it may be best to wait until the fall or winter when it’s easier to remove the roots.
- Availability: You’ll also want to consider your own schedule and availability when deciding when to remove a tree stump. If you’re planning a major landscaping project or have a busy spring and summer, it may be best to schedule stump removal for the fall or winter when you have more time.
In general, the best time to remove a tree stump is when the ground is dry and hard enough to access the roots without causing damage to your lawn or garden. This is typically in the fall or winter, but the specific timing may vary depending on your climate and the condition of the stump.
Physical removal tree stumps
Physical removal is one of the most common methods of removing a tree stump. This method involves digging around the stump to expose the roots and then cutting them with a chainsaw or other cutting tool. Once the roots are cut, the stump can be pulled out of the ground with a stump grinder or other heavy equipment.
Physical removal can be a labor-intensive and time-consuming process, especially for larger stumps. However, it is a reliable method that ensures the entire stump is removed, including the roots. This is important for preventing regrowth and ensuring that the stump doesn’t continue to pose a hazard to your property. Physical removal is typically best left to professionals, as it requires specialized equipment and expertise to complete safely and efficiently.
This uses specialist machines (stump grinders) to mechanically grind out the main root plate, leaving fine sawdust.
Although you can hire stump grinders, they are potentially dangerous so are best left for professionals to use. Some roots will be left in the ground but most should eventually rot away.
Before you enquire, think about how you will cover up the ground stump afterwards – as this will determine how deep you need the stump ground down to.
Shallow grinding to 25cm or 10 inches below the surface of the soil is usually enough to allow turf to be laid over the area.
If you’re planning to replant or landscape the area, then you may need to request more depth. Afterwards, it’s best to remove most of the sawdust and fill the hole created by the grinding with topsoil.
If a lot of sawdust gets mixed with the soil around the stump, it’s usually worth adding nitrogenous fertiliser before planting to avoid possible problems with nutrient lockup. Look at mixing in chicken manure pellets or sulphate of ammonia.
Stump grinding generates a lot of fine sawdust. Unless the wood is diseased, this can be used as mulch in other areas of your garden.
Sawdust from broadleaf trees – such as the oak, beech and lime – as well as that from conifers like the pine, yew and larch make excellent mulch – decomposing slowly, moderating soil conditions by absorbing moisture and slowly releasing it back, suppressing weeds and protecting the soil from erosion by the wind and the rain.
Chemical removal of the tree stumps
Chemical removal is a viable option for those who prefer not to physically remove the stump. It involves using a chemical stump and root killer that is applied to the stump to kill it from the inside out. These products typically use either glyphosate or triclopyr as the active ingredient. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide that is commonly used to control unwanted vegetation, while triclopyr is a selective herbicide that targets woody plants like trees and shrubs.
The best time to apply the stump killer is in the fall or winter when the tree is dormant, and the sap is not rising. Applying the chemical during this time allows it to be absorbed by the stump more effectively, leading to better results. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when applying the chemical to ensure it is done safely and effectively.
One of the methods used by TTS Tree Surgery is the Ecoplug system, which is a granular glyphosate that is released inside the tree stump. A hole is drilled vertically into
the stump, and the plug is inserted. The glyphosate is then released through the stump to the roots, which prevents any new growth or suckers and allows the stump to naturally decay over time. Multiple Ecoplugs are often used to ensure the entire root system is affected.
It’s essential to remember that chemical removal can take several weeks or even months for the stump to decay fully. During this time, the stump may continue to be an eyesore in your yard, and it’s important to take precautions to ensure the area around the stump is safe. Children and pets should be kept away from the area, and any lawn equipment should be used with caution.
In conclusion, chemical removal of a tree stump can be an effective alternative to physical removal. It’s essential to choose the right product and follow the instructions carefully to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the process. The Ecoplug system is an innovative and eco-friendly method that can be used in any weather and reduces the risk of collateral damage to other plants and trees in your yard.
If you feel unsure you can do it then…
Get in touch
Get in touch to arrange a free visit and quotation for professional advice on looking after your trees and what we can do using the latest techniques and our professional-grade equipment. Stump removal is one of our specialities.
TTS Tree Surgery is committed to caring for trees by safely removing them, planting and maintaining them.
We are fully-qualified tree surgeons and use the latest techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to achieve results. We have years of experience in the industry and are committed to providing a reliable and professional service. We carry out all arboricultural work for both domestic and commercial clients.
Based in Perth, we cover Perth & Kinross, Dundee and Angus.
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