There are good reasons why removing a tree becomes necessary. One example is when a tree becomes unstable because of a lightning strike. Trees age just as we do and die naturally. They are subject to disease and pests. Aging, ill, and dying trees are dangerous when they are in domestic settings. Trees that are damaged in storms and drop limbs or fall can be hazardous. Many lives have been lost in this way. Tree removal becomes necessary, and there stands the stump.
In this article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about stump rot and stump removal!
Table of Contents
How to Get Rid of The Stump
When a tree dies in its natural environment, it takes from three to seven years to decompose. The time varies according to the environment and whether the tree is a hardwood or a softwood. Local climate factors control the time taken to decay. Humidity and moisture content is essential for speedy decomposition.
Trees are usually cut down, leaving a stump at about waist height. These present an unsightly problem. Cutting the stump off at ground level goes a long way to helping solve this problem. But the remains still have to be attended to. Options are to leave it; hire a stump grinder; burn it, or find a way to rot it as quickly as possible.
Tree stumps might pose no particular problem and can happily be left alone to finish the rotting process. However, in domestic environments, this isn’t practical or even safe. The tree may continue to grow or put out suckers that will become invasive in the garden. Trees and fallen branches can become difficult obstacles. In smaller areas like backyards and gardens, the landscape needs to be free from hazards and user-friendly. Farmers need to remove trees and stumps when building fences, and local government must keep the public environment free from risks as well.
If you are very creative, you might be able to convert the tree stump into a nice seat or surface for an outdoor table.
Burning the Stump
Burning the stump out presents a few environmental problems. Smoke from the fire is unpleasant and will impact everybody. The fire may need to burn for days. The fire might get underground in the roots and become very difficult to control. The fire may get out of control and spread to nearby trees and buildings. There are better methods of stump removal.
Grinding the Stump
Grinding a stump is difficult, and the machinery is heavy and expensive.
Hire a professional tree service good at grinding stumps and stump removal. Stump grinders are costly machines operated by means of a high-speed disk with teeth that grind the stump and roots into small chips. This is a quick option for tree stump removal and will take care of the problem and your money.
How To Use A Chemical Tree Stump Remover
Most available products use potassium nitrate while others contain alkalis that decompose the lignin in the wood, or enzymes that thin the cell walls. Lignin is the property in the cells of the wood that gives it its rigidity.
Apply chemical stump killers to cut stumps from autumn through winter freshly. Reapply chemicals every one to two weeks, or as frequently as the label recommends. As always, when handling chemicals, be aware of the risks, read all instructions carefully, and use all recommended safety gear.
Once tree removal is complete, get your drill with a large drill bit and drill several holes into the wood on the top and on the stump’s sides down to ground level. Pour the chemical into the holes, ensuring that it gets as deep into the tree as possible. Wet the whole stump, preferably with hot water, trying not to dilute the chemical too much. Cover with a tarp that is weighted down and wait. This process isn’t fast. Every two weeks, check the progress and add water if the tree stump has become dry. When the wood has become soft and spongy, the job is done.
Most chemical stump removers are made with potassium nitrate. The high nitrogen content speeds the rotting process. Natural sources of nitrogen include manure, blood meal, and compost. Natural alternatives to potassium nitrate are Epsom salt and rock salt. The salts dry the soil out, depriving the stump of nourishment. Salts also dry the wood, speeding up the process of decay. If the tree is alive, the job is much harder. You must kill the tree first. Depriving the tree of sunlight and moisture will help this process. Cover tree stumps with manure and compost and a dark tarp for a few weeks.
Signs of Stump Rot
When it comes to stump rot, there are a few signs that you can watch out for so that you know when removing the stump would be easiest. Some of these signs include:
- Mushroom-like growth on the stump. If the tree stump is looking “fuzzy” or showing signs of grayish mushroom-like growth on the top and bark of the stump, this is a clear indication of stump rot.
- The stump is moist and soft to the touch. If the tree stump is softer to the touch, mushy in some areas, or “spongey”, stump rot is taking hold.
- Signs of pests or pests present in the stump. If there is a whole host of insects living in the stump, this is a clear sign of stump rot. While healthy trees and tree stumps will have some bugs, a rotten stump will likely be infested.
Once you know that your tree stump has stump rot, you can now begin the process of removal. A rotten tree stump is far easier to remove than a stump that is still healthy or sprouting new trees.
Removing The Rotten Stump
Now that the tree stump is softer and showing signs of stump rot, the removal job becomes a little easier. Digging is the easiest option if you have the back for it. Pull away as much of the softwood as possible from the top of the stump and dig around the stump to get rid of the roots.
Chop the roots off at the stump with an ax and then follow them as far as you can with a hoe and remove them from the ground. Once the roots have gone, you might consider burning the rest. If the tree stump is completely dead, this won’t take very long. After all the wood is removed, fill the resulting hole with soil, prepare for cultivation, or seed the lawn area.
When it comes to stump rot and removing a rotten tree stump, it’s best to wait until the stump is completely rotted through before you attempt to remove it. Not only will the removal process be faster, but you also may not need large, expensive tools such as a stump grinder to accomplish the job.
We hope our guide to stump rot has been helpful! Happy gardening!