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View Full Version : How to dissolve a tree stump...naturally


pamelay2000
February 16th, 2009, 03:25 PM
Hi y'all

I tok down a pretty big dying old tree last year and left with a pretty large tree stump. I want to grow on every available space and wondering if anyone had ideas on how to naturally (if that's possible at all) dissolving the stump. It would be too much of an ordeal to get a large machine in to pull it up. Thanks! Pam

jbest123
February 16th, 2009, 03:48 PM
The only way to do it naturally is to let Mother Nature take her course.

John

melodyelf
February 16th, 2009, 03:58 PM
you could always put a container on top of the stump and grow something in the container.

tughillcam
February 16th, 2009, 04:13 PM
vinegar helps break it down faster -

redneckplanter
February 16th, 2009, 04:45 PM
pam if i am understanding your question correctly?
are you asking if there is a plant or vegetable that will root in the stump and 'assist'' it /accelerate breakdown?
i know fungi ect will eventually assist you.that's a pro question..
is there a plant or veggie out there guys that has roots invasive enough to accelerate tree breakdown ?
like if pam scooped out a bowl in the stump and planted something...kinda like the way lichens break down rock?
if i understand correctly???

Dramaqueen
February 16th, 2009, 05:05 PM
you could always put a container on top of the stump and grow something in the container.



That is what I do, I use plant pots and put flowers on the tree stumps it looks very nice

beads
February 16th, 2009, 05:16 PM
It depends on how "naturally" versus how quickly you want to see this stump gone. There exist a great many natural fungi that will indeed digest a stump or any other ligen (woody) material. Some edible - so not so much. Think wood ear fungi - edible but not real tasty.

Allowing nature to assist with removal will probably take more time than patience. With that said, if the weather gets cold enough you can help out by using the freeze/thaw method by drilling a few good sized holes in the heartwood (center) poor water into the holes. That will also help nature bust some wood this time a year as well. Take much longer but it will split the wood deeper thus decompose faster.

Covering with compost after splitting or manually opening some of the heartwood should likewise accelerate the decomposition process but depending on where the stump is located may not be the best option as well.

Fungi Perfecti. http://www.fungi.com/

- beads

(Has anyone seen my spring? I though I left it here about this time last year but its gone missing! Shhhhh!!!)

- beads

Eric
February 16th, 2009, 07:55 PM
I just bury them in soil and wait a few years, varies depending on the wood and size.

Imp
February 16th, 2009, 10:21 PM
A rather large and hollow hearted sycamore had to be taken down out front of our house- I planted that silvery gray "Dusty Miller and petunias in it for some time after filling it with compost. It also got some fungus- hard shelf looking stuff, and broke down in just a few years to nothing.

Took a lot of compost though, about 6 to 8 good sized wheelbarrows. I imagine there are "veins " of compost there now where the large roots were.

Pairahulls
February 16th, 2009, 10:48 PM
Potassium Nitrate. You can buy it at most garden centers, Depending on the size of the stump, drill one 1/2 hole in the center and another intersecting hole at at 45 degree angle. Fill with potassium nitrate and soak with water. If you want to speed up the process soak with kerosene instead. Wait a day crumble charcoal on top and light it. It will do a slow burn until gone. BTW, if you don't let it soak in and jus t light it, then you will find out how they make Roman candles! I have burned out 3 stumps this year that way, from 18 inches to 3 inches in diameter..
Good Luck!:)

Woodchuck
February 16th, 2009, 11:15 PM
Nitrogen, Nitrogen, Nitrogen! :)

Naturally.....drill holes in the stump and add an organic source of nitrogen (eg bloodmeal)
Cover with moist mulch.


<Woodchuck>

capebuffalo
February 17th, 2009, 01:31 AM
if your stump is dry, just pour salt on and around it. the local wildlife will love it and dispose of it.

capebuff

tughillcam
February 17th, 2009, 08:18 AM
WOW ! OH SNAP !
good idea !

except... how do you get rid of the critters once the stump is gone ?:p

bughunter99
February 17th, 2009, 08:21 AM
Hi y'all

I tok down a pretty big dying old tree last year and left with a pretty large tree stump. I want to grow on every available space and wondering if anyone had ideas on how to naturally (if that's possible at all) dissolving the stump. It would be too much of an ordeal to get a large machine in to pull it up. Thanks! Pam

I armed my eight year old with a cordless drill with a medium size bit and let him practice drilling. Then, nature took care of the rest. :)

tughillcam
February 17th, 2009, 09:43 AM
good idea !!

peterskeepers
February 17th, 2009, 12:14 PM
I cut them off flush at ground level and cover with a rain proof material.
That keeps the stump perfectly moist.
Then them carpenter ants have a go at it...

sharon1957
February 17th, 2009, 02:42 PM
[...]There exist a great many natural fungi that will indeed digest a stump or any other ligen (woody) material. Some edible - so not so much. Think wood ear fungi - edible but not real tasty.

Allowing nature to assist with removal will probably take more time than patience. With that said, if the weather gets cold enough you can help out by using the freeze/thaw method by drilling a few good sized holes in the heartwood (center) poor water into the holes. That will also help nature bust some wood this time a year as well. Take much longer but it will split the wood deeper thus decompose faster.

Covering with compost after splitting or manually opening some of the heartwood should likewise accelerate the decomposition process but depending on where the stump is located may not be the best option as well.

Fungi Perfecti. http://www.fungi.com/

- beads

Great link -- thanks! I've ordered their catalog and will be making a purchase or two this year. Also good variety of options for stumps, which I'm trying to figure OUT, too.
Sharon

sharon1957
February 17th, 2009, 02:49 PM
Potassium Nitrate. You can buy it at most garden centers, Depending on the size of the stump, drill one 1/2 hole in the center and another intersecting hole at at 45 degree angle. Fill with potassium nitrate and soak with water. If you want to speed up the process soak with kerosene instead. Wait a day crumble charcoal on top and light it. It will do a slow burn until gone. BTW, if you don't let it soak in and jus t light it, then you will find out how they make Roman candles! I have burned out 3 stumps this year that way, from 18 inches to 3 inches in diameter..
Good Luck!:)
Ah, this looks like what I need for the big willow stump in the little front yard. Theres nothing but roots from fence to fence! Does it soak into/follow the roots below the surface and burn them out, too?

SpaceAge
February 17th, 2009, 03:27 PM
Hi y'all

I tok down a pretty big dying old tree last year and left with a pretty large tree stump. I want to grow on every available space and wondering if anyone had ideas on how to naturally (if that's possible at all) dissolving the stump. It would be too much of an ordeal to get a large machine in to pull it up. Thanks! Pam

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OH ! GOOD GRIEF ! WRONG WRONG WRONG ... :rolleyes:

all of these suggestions stink ... !:eek:

what you REALLY NEED is one of these ! ;)

MrJT
February 17th, 2009, 04:00 PM
1) Drill as many holes into the stump as you can.

2) Pour buttermilk down the holes.

3) Wait.

jpsmithny
February 17th, 2009, 05:11 PM
Grow Mushrooms on it.

bean
February 17th, 2009, 07:17 PM
What kind of tree?

Oak could be a problem.

I really like that Roman Candle recipe. I have to jot that one down.:D

Jackofalltrades
February 17th, 2009, 08:51 PM
nitrogen, as someone already said. It will feed the fungus which feeds on the stump.

momol
February 18th, 2009, 09:49 AM
I don't know if some one has mentioned this before if yes, sorry... there is a live fungus spawn sold in our local seeds-shop which use to eat away /compost the tree stumps faster, try to contact your local garden centre, they might have similar thing. Good Luck!

capebuffalo
February 18th, 2009, 05:44 PM
WOW ! OH SNAP !
good idea !

except... how do you get rid of the critters once the stump is gone ?:p

tug,

the critters can,freeze and dehydrate well.....trust me.

couple weeks now until march, SPRING month.:)

capebuff

American_Gardener
June 28th, 2009, 08:47 AM
Nitrogen, Nitrogen, Nitrogen! :)

Naturally.....drill holes in the stump and add an organic source of nitrogen (eg bloodmeal)
Cover with moist mulch.
<Woodchuck>

Thanks for the info Woody.. I'm gonna try your method first. I just had some guy come over and cut out alot of the dead wood from my forest yesterday. So i got plenty of stumps to practice on. If your's dosen't seem to work this year.. i'll try some other suggestions next year. I do want to use that section that he cleared for a garden in the back corner of my backyard though.. so hopefully i can remove those stumps fast.

Just so ya all know.. there is a vine here that really helps to break down wood. I've got a neighbor who likes stacking firewood.. just he dosen't use it.. so there's a pile that's been rotting for quite a few years that i've been taking all the rotten wood out of to use in my garden. Well it's full of this vines roots. And i can see where everywhere those roots are the wood is well composted. Not that i want a whole bunch of vines growing where i want to put that garden in. Might be a real pain pulling em out afterwards.. but it does speed up the breakdown of the wood considerably.

Anyways.. don't know the name of the vine.. just know that it can send it's roots down into the ground and then up into the core of a dead tree and the core of this one dead tree that fell in a storm a few weeks ago had the center rotted out and was full of this vines roots. On the outside of the tree nothing.. but inside full of roots and the vine was just growing like every other weed in the area along the ground.

Dave

florin
June 28th, 2009, 08:26 PM
I think I am going to stop by my local nursery and see what they may have in the way of fungi. I lost 15 trees to Hurricane Rita then another 16 or so to Hurricane Ike. Most of my stumps are about 3 ft tall and laying on their side with the root system up in the air. Almost everyone in our area wants at least 150 per stump to remove the ones that are on their sides like that.

Liberty_Man
October 26th, 2009, 12:14 PM
Grow Mushrooms on it.

What kind??

older than dirt
October 26th, 2009, 01:03 PM
Potassium Nitrate. You can buy it at most garden centers, Depending on the size of the stump, drill one 1/2 hole in the center and another intersecting hole at at 45 degree angle. Fill with potassium nitrate and soak with water.
Good Luck!:)

Good advice

In the old days we stuck 1/2 a stick dynamite under it & it was out in a few minites :cool: good entertainment to boot.

I sometimes seed stumps with Honey mushrooms . Not that I seem to get an mushrooms or that it rots faster but hey I try sometimes :confused:

florin
October 26th, 2009, 08:46 PM
Potassium Nitrate. You can buy it at most garden centers, Depending on the size of the stump, drill one 1/2 hole in the center and another intersecting hole at at 45 degree angle. Fill with potassium nitrate and soak with water. If you want to speed up the process soak with kerosene instead. Wait a day crumble charcoal on top and light it. It will do a slow burn until gone. BTW, if you don't let it soak in and jus t light it, then you will find out how they make Roman candles! I have burned out 3 stumps this year that way, from 18 inches to 3 inches in diameter..
Good Luck!:)

Would you still fill with potassium nitrate if you soak with kerosene.

HillsideDigger
December 26th, 2009, 09:25 AM
Spread birdseed on and around the stump and then let it snow a foot.

The last several mornings as the snow has been melting dozens of squirrels have been tearing this stump apart out in the edge of the garden. It's a big party.

startover gardener
December 29th, 2009, 09:45 AM
I like hillsides method. Only I use corn around the stump,and invite a larger crowd to the party. It is not for everybody but it seems to be working.
http://i761.photobucket.com/albums/xx255/corneliusfamily/photos%20to%20share/12-29-09005sh.jpg

SherylGallant
December 29th, 2009, 11:29 AM
I have read that pigs will clear a field for planting, tree stumps and all, and fertilize it at the same time. Thats great!! Are they your pigs? I like pigs. :D

Potassium nitrate is actually called "Stump Remover" at our Co-op. It makes a great pond fertilizer. Since it doesn't have phosphorus, it doesn't feed the algae.

I would like to grow my own crop of mushrooms. You really have to know what you are doing, though. I wouldn't want to get some wild, unedible ones growing in there too.

Canna'isseur
August 20th, 2010, 03:32 PM
Buys some shitake pegs for cheap(http://fungiperfecti.com/plugs/index.html), and grow your own gourmet medicinal mushrooms on that stump.

skiracer
August 20th, 2010, 03:40 PM
first i usually cut the stump down to grade or as close to grade as i can. then i run the saw thru the top of whats left of the stump about every two inches. then i run the saw again at a right angle (90 deg) to the first cuts. go in about 2 to 3 inches if you can. then i take fertilizer and spinkle a decent amount into those cross cuts and cover it with dirt. in a year or so go back and uncover the stump and take a hatchet or a framing hammer with a straight claw and whack out whats left. it should be pretty soft and easy to take down to about 6 in. repeat the process if you want to get deeper. but after the whacking cover with more new fertilizer and soil again and come back in another year and repeat the process.

Wildflower
August 20th, 2010, 04:38 PM
For starters, we've never tried this but my brother claims it works like a charm.

Cut the stump to ground level and then put a bottomless metal coffee can or metal bucket, etc. over the stump. Fill it with charcoal and light it. He claims the fire and heat goes down in the root system and burns it out.

Siegmund Family Farm
August 20th, 2010, 04:57 PM
Molasses on the stump also will encourage the pigs.

grapenut
August 20th, 2010, 05:22 PM
For starters, we've never tried this but my brother claims it works like a charm.

Cut the stump to ground level and then put a bottomless metal coffee can or metal bucket, etc. over the stump. Fill it with charcoal and light it. He claims the fire and heat goes down in the root system and burns it out.

I was just gonna post the same thing, except that I would also drill holes into the stump, you may need to let the coals burn out and let things cool, so that you can remove the ash (which would act as a kind of insulator) and repeat. it will still work if you don't remove the ash, it just works a little faster if you do

Wildflower
August 20th, 2010, 06:26 PM
I was just gonna post the same thing, except that I would also drill holes into the stump, you may need to let the coals burn out and let things cool, so that you can remove the ash (which would act as a kind of insulator) and repeat. it will still work if you don't remove the ash, it just works a little faster if you do

Good idea about drilling the holes....I'm going to try this come winter.:)

LuvsToPlant
August 21st, 2010, 06:57 PM
For starters, we've never tried this but my brother claims it works like a charm.

Cut the stump to ground level and then put a bottomless metal coffee can or metal bucket, etc. over the stump. Fill it with charcoal and light it. He claims the fire and heat goes down in the root system and burns it out.

I remember as a child seeing the farmers do it this in a similar way.
I lived on a large vegetation farm...
Only they would chop away at the stump and sit kindling on the stump and set a blaze, adding more to the fire as the day went on...
...not really sure how long they acutually burned it ...

My thought ...if you lived in an extremely dry area...I know fires can erupt from below the soil from dry roots after a forest fire.
Something to think about...

w8in4dave
August 21st, 2010, 10:25 PM
My BIL just cut down a handful of blue spruce trees and he made a hole in the stump and put salt in it.. the kind you buy for sidewalks or softner salt.. I guess it breaks it down alot faster..Altho he does say the rabbits love the salt....

tracerracer
August 21st, 2010, 11:10 PM
LuvsToPlant

My thought ...if you lived in an extremely dry area...I know fires can erupt from below the soil from dry roots after a forest fire.
Something to think about...

I was reading through the thread waiting for someone to mention this....We call those sleepers, they start 'cookin' off usually about mid July in my neck of the woods............Very dangerous.........They burn out one stump only to have it 'travel' to another trees roots, if that isn't a heathy tree..........It will 'climb up' the roots.........6+ months later......

LuvsToPlant
August 22nd, 2010, 05:08 AM
well there you go...there is some truth to it.
I remember them always doing it in late winter early spring.
Probably more safer that way with the ground still covered in snow and wet.

:)

Wildflower
August 22nd, 2010, 09:01 AM
I remember as a child seeing the farmers do it this in a similar way.
I lived on a large vegetation farm...
Only they would chop away at the stump and sit kindling on the stump and set a blaze, adding more to the fire as the day went on...
...not really sure how long they acutually burned it ...

My thought ...if you lived in an extremely dry area...I know fires can erupt from below the soil from dry roots after a forest fire.
Something to think about...

That's for sure! I would only attempt this when it's been raining/snowing ALOT! Glad you brought it up.

Echoes
August 23rd, 2010, 05:36 PM
Thank goodness someone mentioned the hazards of burning out the tree stump. I work for a wildland fire agency and that is a hazard we deal with fairly often. Usually from slash burning, they can come back to life or travel a long ways underground AND, it could happen 6-8 months after ignition. I live in snow country, they come back between July and August, were burned previous November-December. Could come up under your foundation, in a dry forest or just about anywhere...

If you burn them, which does work well, just be aware you could cause more problems trying to solve probelms. You would be responsible for all fire costs, resource damage etc. if you caused a fire from this activity.