Removing Tree Stumps with Salt

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After a tree is cut down it may take many years for the roots and trucks to die. Often stumps will go on living for many years to come with new roots developed and sprouts not only appearing at the stump but in the tree’s general area. If stump removal and stump grinding is not an option for you (although they are relatively inexpensive) and you don’t feel the need to burn the stumps or use toxic chemicals, then the use of rock salts might just be for you!

How it is done

  1. Have the tree lopped to as close to ground level as possible. Make sure it is safe and not a tripping hazard.
  2. Drill holes into the side of the stump at a downward angle as close to the top of the stump as you can. Make sure the holes you drill are at least 2 cm in diameter.
  3. Drill additional holes all around the stump. The larger the stump – the more holes it will have.
  4. Fill the holes with rock salt. Compress the rock salt in using a rod.
  5. (Optional) If you are not concerned about nearby vegetation sprinkle salt around the base of the stump.
  6. Cover the stump and salt with soil. Give it a good soak with water so the salt dissolves and enters the soil.
  7. Water the stump every 2-3 days for 5-6 weeks. This helps the salt enter the stump.
  8. If you notice any growth during this period repeat the salting process. Patience is the key to success!

If you’d like the stump to rot faster now that it’s dead, have a read of this organic stump removal process.

Organic Stump Removal

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Removing stumps can be a long, difficult, and exhausting task. There are many methods from digging it out, using toxic chemical, to stump grinding. Somewhere in this spectrum of tree stump removal methods there is removing the stump organically. That is, removing the stump using natural products, methods and allowing Mother Nature to do all the hard work. This article focuses on using mushrooms to speed up the process of decomposition. There are plenty of other organic stump removal methods, this is just one.

Before I begin – organic stump removal isn’t for everyone. It should be used for people who don’t require the stump removed immediately, have limited funds or have an organic philosophy to life.

Stumps are massive. They take several years to decompose unaided. So if that stump is going to be around you might want to make the most of it and get some edible mushrooms out of it… right? Tasty gourmet mushrooms are natural stump removers. They break down the stump while producing a wonderful supply for your gourmet dinners. Mushrooms can halve the time it takes for a stump to be fully decomposed.
Before you start a word of caution – you need to be able to identify the difference between poisonous and edible mushrooms. Just because you plant edible mushrooms doesn’t mean that a poisonous species hasn’t beat you there and has started growing first. You need to be able to correctly identify the mushroom you intend to eat, mistakes can be fatal.

You’ll need to pick a suitable mushroom for the job. Mushrooms like shiitake and oyster grow very well on logs but are not suited for growing on stumps. Stumps are a highly competitive environment and you need to use a mushroom variety that can handle competition. There are some mushrooms that are stump specialists so you may want to consider these; agrocybe aegerite (black popular mushroom), hypholoma sublateritium (brick top mushroom), grifola frondosa (maitake), laetiporus sulphureus (chicken-of-the-woods mushroom), trametes versicolour (turkey tail mushroom). I will leave it to you to do your research and decide what is best suited for your environment and taste buds.

The method is actually quite simple. You need to inoculate the stump with mushroom plug spawn. This is a small wooden down that has the particular mushroom that you were looking to grow on it. Drill a hole in the log or root and then hammer that dowel in, making sure to seal the hole with wax upon completion. Obviously, the more plugs you put in the better. You can space them at around 2-3 centimeters apart. If you don’t have access to a plug spawn you could alternatively use sawdust spawn in the holes. It is harder to protect, but well worth the effort.

Organic stump removal

hypholoma sublateritium

Celtis Tree

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The Celtis  tree is also known as Hackberry or Sugarberry has migrated from the Northern hemisphere and is appearing in garden beds around Sydney.

This tree produces thousands of seeds which are spread by birds and before you know it you have a large tree in your backyard which requires an arborist to remove. Keep watch of them growing in your garden beds because both the tree and their stumps are very difficult to remove.

Shown is a picture of a 30 m tall Celtis tree which was growing out of a garden bed in Lindfield. The tree was growing out and over the neighbours pool, I’m sure the neighbour was happy the tree was removed.

Celtis Tree

Celtis Tree

Benefits of Stump Grinding

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Stump grinding is possibly the most effective method of removing the remnants of a tree stump from a garden, plot or landscape. By default arborists only remove the tree to the ground level.

Usually, a tree is lopped to the lowest possible point that cutting equipment can operate at without being damaged by being run into the dirt or concrete. This means that a small section of the tree truck may stick up from the ground. These stumps can be unsightly and a tripping hazard. They are also subject to disease which may run the risk of spreading into nearby plants and trees in the nearby area.

Stump grinding allows for a complete removal of stumps that not only eliminates potential hazards, but also creates an opportunity for new plants and garden beds.

Having being experienced with many years of stump grinding, we know that our stump removal service offers several benefits:

  • Affordable (and cost effective)
  • Clearance means that construction of pathways, patios, fencing or walls can be built without obstruction
  • Any size and any amount of stumps can be removed quickly and efficiently
  • Stump removal is fast and has minimal disturbance
  • Minimal risk to damaging surrounding areas
  • Fully licensed, insured and certified service

Contact us today for a free quote.

Removing a Tree Stump with a Tractor

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This is an interesting video that shows how to remove a tree stump using a tractor. Well, they use an excavator attachment on the tractor but that is besides the point. If you have the heavy machinery and the space to dig out a stump mechanically it is a great option. It is a more thorough alternative to stump grinding which is the more common approach, however, if you have to hire the equipment it becomes very expensive quickly. The video shows  how large the root ball of the stump is and how easily the tractor can dispose of the stump.

Best way to kill a tree stump

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Poisoning a tree stump

Poisoning a tree stump*

After a tree is removed, often the stump will continues to grow and there will be sprouts of growth on the stump in the few weeks after it is lopped. If left untreated then the stump could potentially regrow into another near full sized and slightly disfigured tree. Removing the tree stump is the only way to prevent the tree stump from regrowing if poisoning and kill the stump is an unacceptable option.
The first thing that needs to be done is the tree must be cut to ground level, or the lowest level permitted by the terrain. Within 30 seconds of causing an injury to the stump or its roots a generous application of tree poison needs to be applied. Any delay in applying the poison may allow the tree’s cells to close up and the stump won’t accept the poison as readily. Use a chainsaw to cut grooves in the stump and roots and quickly apply the poison using an applicator or spray bottle. Drilling holes into the tree’s stump and roots is an equally effective option.

There are many products on the market that would be suitable to poison a tree stump. Glyphosate based liquid poisons are highly effective (such as Round-up, glypho 450, zero, etc) when applied in this manner. Make sure they are applied in dilute form and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Wait around 6 weeks and then reapply in the same manner – making grooves in the timber before a quick application. If the poison is undiluted it will damage the cell membranes of the stump but not be absorbed by the plant which how they cause the stumps to die.

A common concern with glyphosate based poison is that it is considered a nasty toxic herbicide. In fact, it is one of the least toxic herbicides and it is not soil residual. This means that in 14 days from application it would be impossible to detect in the soil as it leaves without a trace. There is zero chance that glyphosate would poison plants that it was not applied to. So don’t get over zealous with your application and accidently exposed the other plants when you were applying it. There is the risk if it rained within 6 hours of application the poison could spread – so check the weather before applying. Also, in winter trees can have greater resistance to herbicides as the tree’s growth slows during this time.

For stumps that just refuse to die there are some serious heavy duty poisons available. Tordon has an injection poison, which is injected into tree stumps roots and causes rapid death. Graslan and Tordon have pellets which require drilling into the tree stump and inserting the pellets that get slowly absorbed. There are basal bark forms from Access, Garlon 600, and Starane which are also highly effective for those hard to kill stumps. We suggest using a glyphosate poison, but if it isn’t working then try the cut stump method with any product from Access, Garlon 600, Tardon, and Starane – they are guaranteed to do the trick.

If you can’t be bothered with poisoning your stump you could always get a professional arborist to come around and poison or remove the stump for you. Try the crew at Sydney Tree Removals as they are highly affordable and have an excellent reputation.

*The drill holes in the picture are incorrect, the ideal place to drill is just into the cambium layer which is just inside the bark.

Sydney Stump Grinding

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Sydney Stump Grinding

Sydney Stump Grinding

Stump grinding is an inexpensive and efficient way to remove tree stumps. Approximate prices in many cases can be provided over the phone so call now on 0488 222 296.
After the removal of trees, stumps are cut off as close to ground level as practicable. This is where most tree removal work ends. However, you can elect for us to use a machine called a stump grinder to grind the stump down to a certain depth. The purpose is for

  • Replanting over it
  • Paving or concreting over the area
  • Improving aesthetics

Alternatively an excavator or backhoe can dig the stump and root ball out. This may be an option where increased depth is required or roots need to be extracted. The disadvantage to this option is that it can be costly and leave a large hole that needs to be filled. There are also significant costs in the disposal of the stump or root ball.
When digging we need to be made aware of any underground services that could be nearby. Some common ones include

  • Electricity
  • Water mains
  • Gas mains
  • Telecommunication cables
  • Storm water drains and pipes
  • Sewers
  • Irrigation
  • Septic grids and drains

While we take care and assess each situation but we accept no responsibility for damage to underground services. Services like Dial Before You Dig provide and council records provide excellent references for to help identify services in your area. However, these can be imprecise and the providers accept no responsibility for the information provided. If you are unsure about services in your area then it could be in your interest to engage a pipe or service location business who can help locate the services as well as their approximate depths.

How to Remove Palm Tree Stumps

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Palm Tree Removal

Root ball of a Palm Tree

There are many varieties of palm species and they have one thing in common – they have a long fibrous root system that has evolved to withstand  tropical cyclones. These roots go deep into the ground and spread a distance around the palm tree. They can be responsible for movement in building’s walls, retaining walls, pavers, concrete, sewers, or other nearby structures.

Removing Palm Tree Stump

Root Structure of a Palm Tree

You only have two feasible options for removing a palm tree stump – using an  excavator, or hiring a stump grinder to remove the stump to below ground level. As you can see from the pictures of the palm tree stumps it would take a long time to dig up and cut through all those roots. We have spoken with people who said it took them years to remove palm tree stumps even though they worked on it a  few hours every weekend till it was gone. They vowed never to do it again.

Using an excavator

In this method you use an excavator to dig a huge hole around the stump so you have access to the palm tree’s root ball. You cut off any long running roots and lift the stump and root ball out of the ground and transport it to the tip. This method is best if you need the entire stump removed if you are already planning to build a structure there or requiring to plant another large mature tree. If you plan to use this method, ensure it forms part of your construction plan (if building a house), since an excavator & truck adds up quickly. Depending on the size of the excavator it can be around $80 per hour, with additional costs for hiring truck hire to dump the stump, paying the tip to take your stump, and then all the additional time to restore the site.

Hint: You must dial before you dig to check for buried services. Their could be telecommunication, water, gas, or electrical lines where you want to dig!

Stump Grinding

With stump grinding a machine is used that has rotating discs with teeth on them that are used to literally grind the stump away. It operates in a fashion similar to a chainsaw – reducing the area being grinded to sawdust. The grinder can only remove what it can reach – which is usually only 1-2 feet below ground level. This method is usually cheaper than  excavating, with a typical stump grinder costing around $100 per hour (with operator) but the work will be carried out in less time (around 3-4 hours). This option is the better value for money choice, but you still have the stump rotting away below ground level. You can plant a garden on top, but you will have to wait a while if you want to plant something that requires deep root penetration.

 

Stump Removal Options

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Tree Stump Removal

Stump Removal Options

When it comes to stump removal, there are a few approaches than can be taken. There are so many myths and “simple solutions” that complicated the process because so many don’t actually work. The following is a list of common ways to remove stumps. This is based from experience in the arbour industry and should help prevent you wasting your time.

Chemical Removers
There are a few chemical remover products on the market, most of them are high in potassium nitrate. The product is spread on the stump and it is used to accelerate the decomposition of the stump. There is no product on the market that makes the stump disappear appear in weeks. This process will take months provided you follow the instructions – keeping the stump moist and covered – or it will even take years if it is a palm stump. Another cheaper option is to use a manure that is high in potassium nitrate like cow manure. This will achieve the same results as a chemical product. First drill holes into the stump, fill it with the manure, and then keep moist and covered. It will decompose as fast as nature will allow it. That is, unless you give it a helping hand by burning it – which brings us to the next stump removal method.

Burning
This is a common method of stump removal but is highly ineffective. It is rare for a stump to stay on fire since it sits deep in the ground and no enough oxygen is supplied to the fire. However, stump burning can work after the treatment of a chemical remover since it causes the stump to be more porus (allowing more oxygen in) and the potassium nitrate will provide fuel for the fire (so to speak). It still comes with a big risk: if you burn a stump you could end up with charcoal material that decomposes even slower than the stump, and is even more difficult to remove. So DON’T DO IT.

BUT… If you still have your heart set on burning that stump out of the ground there are a few things you can consider. (Your neighbours should definitely be a consideration!) But in addition to using a chemical additive to make the stump more porous before burning, you can build a makeshift open stove out of a large metal can or bucket, placing the stove over a portion of the stump and let it burn for a time. After you are satisfied that the area of stump has been burnt out, you should then move it to another area on the stump until the whole stump is removed. Make sure to remove any charcoal from the stump after each fire. If done right, this method can be an effective way to remove a stump. But generally, it should only be carried out in rural areas such as farms. In the suburbs or the city this is a big no no.

Grubbing
We wish there was small caterpillars we could use to remove stumps for us, but grubbing is actually the industry term for manual labour. Getting those gardening gloves out of the shed, grab your crow bar, mattock, shovel, chain saw, and dig the heck out of that stump. When you grub, you need to first dig a trench around the stump to as deep as you can go. From this you need to work in under the stump cutting off the roots and freeing the stump for removal. This can be really hard work and not a job for those with sensitive backs. If you stick at it long enough you will eventually get there.

Stump Grinders
Decomposition and grubbing can be used to get rid of stumps. However, some clever engineer was contracted by an arborists to make his job easier and came up with a stump grinder. This tools are machines who use rotating teeth to grind away a stump to below the ground level. This doesn’t get rid of all the running roots, but it does get it low enough that you can plant a flow garden, or cover it in dirt so natural decay can occur out of sight. Stump grinders can be hired, but it is recommended that you should hire an experienced arborist or landscaper to do this work because it can be very dangerous. Grinding a stump can take an hour or two, but setup and removal might add another two hours onto it. This still isn’t easy work and required a bit of elbow grease, but it is definitely the best option for stump removal.

If you’re looking to remove stumps from your property, consider talking to our favourite stump removal experts who can arrange a professional to remove that stump for you in no time and at a fair and reasonable price. If you end up doing it yourself, just be careful, it can be a dangerous task.

Tree Stump Grinder

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Stump Grinding

Bandit HB19XP Stump Grinder

Sydney Tree Removals is proud to announce that we have a new stump grinder to add to our collection of hard working arbor tools. It is a Bandit HB19XP manual self-propelled stump grinder. This is a lightweight, compact unit that can gain access to tight or confined locations. The stump grinder has a Honda engine so it has a lot of power and life in it. We are very happy to have a unit that can be easily moved to grind stumps in almost any location.

The Honda engine packs 13-horsepower and is controlled by a joystick that allows it to travel forward or reverse. It has an electric start and an electric clutch. But most importantly it features a 14 inch diameter cutter wheel with 12 carbide teeth. These teeth will tear through stumps in no time. We invested in this unit because there has been increased demand to have tree stumps removed in the back of small apartments blocks with limited access. Now we will be able to remove the stumps quickly, safely, and cost effectively.

Just a few more specification of our new stump grinder;

  • Width 38 cm (15 inches)
  • Height 137 cm (54 inches)
  • Length 218 cm (86 inches)
  • Weight 317 kg (700 pounds)
  • Cutting depth 32 cm (12.5 inches)
  • Cutting height 86 cm (34 inches)

So if you have a stump in a limited access location and you want that stump removed fast – you should contact Sydney Tree Removals for a free quote from a qualified arborist.

 

 

 

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