Home>Discussions>YARD & GARDEN>Stump removal, replanting
52 posts / 0 new
Last post
zipkruse
Stump removal, replanting

Sadly, we had to have a massive old oak tree taken out yesterday. It was the "tree swing" tree in our yard, and we had many old memories of swinging on our bench seat with the children. I'm generally not nostalgic, but this one kind of hurts.

Anyhow, I intend to try and dig at least some significant portion of this old giant out and try to replant a tree in its place or very nearby if I can. Any recommendations on that?

Are the rotting roots of the great beast going to negatively impact a new tree? Is there a chance that disease from the tree still exists there?
Will the rotting render the soil unstable?
What is the right season to plant an oak tree?

A. Spruce
Re: Stump removal, replanting

If you're up for a bit of a workout, then stump removal isn't that bad. You'll end up digging approximately 3 feet out from the trunk to get the largest portions of root, and depending on the diameter of the tree, anywhere from 2 to 4 feet deep to get below the tap root enough to dislodge the stump.

You'll want shovels, an ax, and a sawzall or a chainsaw. Keep in mind all safety precautions when using any of this equipment, as well as the dirt is going to dull the chainsaw chains quickly. Another handy device will be a come-along or a truck and chain to help nudge the stump and break it loose, again, observing all cautions when performing this type of work with these types of equipment.

If you've got hard pan, dig what you can, then add a few inches of water to the hole. The water will soften the dirt for removal. Once the stump is out, you can buck it up with the saw for firewood or easier handling to remove from the property.

ed21
Re: Stump removal, replanting

I've dug out small stumps and it was a major workout. If the tree was as big as I imagine, I think you would be better off having the stump ground out, remove the wood chips as much as possible & fill with top soil. I would be leery replanting an oak tree in the same spot if it had succumbed to disease. If you know what killed the old tree, then an arborist or state extension agency should be able to tell you if you can plant another oak. In general a disease that effects one species won't hurt another.

Cougars1996
Re: Stump removal, replanting

I've done this before. I would discourage using a car, truck, etc. to do any pulling because it is quite possible to damage the clutch or transmission. Also, using the chainsaw is a very, very bad idea not just because of the dulling of the chain but because of the potential for kickback because if you are cutting roots there is likely to be some sort of compression or tension strain on the roots. A reciprocating saw is a much safer option.

Good luck!

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: Stump removal, replanting

ed21 has given some excellent advice. cougars has made some great points as well. most oaks will graft roots with others in the area. an arborist from the extension office or your local village is a local professional information resource you're already paying for with your tax dollars.

A. Spruce
Re: Stump removal, replanting

Cougar and Blue Ridge, there is no caveat large enough to put upon any post as to encompass all situations. The best that we can possibly hope for is that with adequate warnings to heed all safety warnings and safe practices, that the user will use a touch of common sense in their endeavors. Warnings that were included in my original post.

There are a myriad of tools and equipment that will be beneficial in the removal of a stump of any size. When used properly, in accordance to recommended safety guidelines, these methods, equipment, and practices are perfectly safe and effective. We must allow the end user to decide what is right for them. The use of a chainsaw was a suggestion, as was a sawzall and and ax, yet the hackles didn't rise at the use of an use of either of the latter which are equally dangerous in the hands of a fool. The use of a come-along was also suggested, yet you focused on the use of a vehicle. Again, equal dangers are in place, the equipment is the only difference.

It was not suggested that the user employ equipment or objects in an unsafe manner, quite the opposite in fact. Allow the free flow of ideas, with accompanying safety warnings, and let the user decide what's best for them.

Cougars1996
Re: Stump removal, replanting

OH NO! I've made some comments and have been "Spruce-ified". :eek:

This is the reason why, even though I have only recently joined the board, I don't make more posts where I just list my experience or what I did. If you do, it seems like the "Spruce-ster" is just sitting out there getting ready to chop you down.

I think the moderator should limit A. Spruce to 1 post per day.

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: Stump removal, replanting
zipkruse wrote:

Sadly, we had to have a massive old oak tree taken out yesterday. It was the "tree swing" tree in our yard, and we had many old memories of swinging on our bench seat with the children. I'm generally not nostalgic, but this one kind of hurts.

Anyhow, I intend to try and dig at least some significant portion of this old giant out and try to replant a tree in its place or very nearby if I can. Any recommendations on that?

Are the rotting roots of the great beast going to negatively impact a new tree? Is there a chance that disease from the tree still exists there?
Will the rotting render the soil unstable?
What is the right season to plant an oak tree?

A. Spruce wrote:

If you're up for a bit of a workout, then stump removal isn't that bad. You'll end up digging approximately 3 feet out from the trunk to get the largest portions of root, and depending on the diameter of the tree, anywhere from 2 to 4 feet deep to get below the tap root enough to dislodge the stump.

You'll want shovels, an ax, and a sawzall or a chainsaw. Keep in mind all safety precautions when using any of this equipment, as well as the dirt is going to dull the chainsaw chains quickly. Another handy device will be a come-along or a truck and chain to help nudge the stump and break it loose, again, observing all cautions when performing this type of work with these types of equipment.

If you've got hard pan, dig what you can, then add a few inches of water to the hole. The water will soften the dirt for removal. Once the stump is out, you can buck it up with the saw for firewood or easier handling to remove from the property.

the most logical choice when dealing with the stump of a massive mature tree is to use a stump grinder, you can rent one, or hire the work out. you don't pre-dig or undermine the stabiliy of the area around the stump beforehand, that actually makes the procedure more dangerous. if there was concern the former tree was diseased or have other same species oaks on the property you should check with an arborist or forester regarding precautions to avoid damaging the other oaks and controlling disease, they can also advise your best replanting options and precautions.

since you are up in Massachusetts and the winter is fast approaching this might be a project that you may need to wait for spring/summer if the ground is already saturated with moisture or frozen and/or the activity might damage your lawn you'd know your site conditions better than anyone. you might get some estimates from professionals and then compare the pricing with renting and DIYing it, as fuel prices are coming down, folks are tightening their budgets with the economy, etc. you might find the price to hire it out, especially with work being scarce nowadays, it might actually be cheaper to hire it out as for the cash flow alone (they have to pay their equipment bills!) - one cavaet is to make absolutely sure that whomever you hire it out to has proper liability and workers compensation insurance sufficient dollar amount and that the policy is INFORCE both then you hire them and reconfirm that on the day they do the work.

using or suggesting that someone use a chainsaw anywhere near the nose, cutting to the earth and confined in a pit is maliciously dangerous advice, please don't do it or even consider it! since you mentioned the tree was taken out to the stump it is fair to assume it has already been taken as close to the ground with a chainsaw or other cutting tool as low as was safely and responsibly possible by your tree removal efforts/service already, if it hasn't been taken to a stump already, and the tree was as massive and mature as you seem to indicate, have it professionally done, the stumping service should be able to do it for you.

it is a good idea to consult your site survey to locate any underground features and have your utility locating service mark the area before any work begins.

Ask This Old House and several This Old House projects have aired many shows on the process, the most recent earlier the current season on ATOH.

by the way most oak species when mature HAVE NO TAP ROOT REMAINING. Mature Oaks rely on lateral roots and sinker roots. the lateral roots can be as far or farther than the reach of the original tree canopy and sinkers may be 10 feet or more from the trunk. As mentioned since a disease process was known or suspected regarding the health of the now removed tree, consulting the resources suggested previously before you begin would be wise, you don't want to spread fungus etc. some protection strategies for certain diseases that effect certain oaks include a perimeter trench and chemical treatment to the trench zone.

A. Spruce
Re: Stump removal, replanting
Blue RidgeParkway wrote:

by the way most oak species when mature HAVE NO TAP ROOT REMAINING.

Once again, you show just how little experience you have. I have removed many large trees, old oaks included. Any large tree, whether they have a tap root or not, can have roots that go well beyond 4 feet in depth, old oaks included. Anyone manually removing such a tree will have to dig and cut roots to a certain depth and diameter before removal of the stump is possible.

All that can be said is that in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, ANY piece of equipment is perfectly safe, be it a chainsaw, a pickup truck, a bulldozer, or a stick of dynamite, assumptions on the use of said equipment are YOURS and YOURS alone, they are not mine and the usual warnings to heed all safeties involved were offered. Equally important in the safety notes is that in the hands of someone less than qualified, a Q-Tip is a dangerous weapon.

BTW, don't try to tell the original poster to go rent a stump grinder and try to pass this off as a "safe" means of removal. A piece of dangerous equipment is used to grind a stump, and in the hands of someone who doesn't know what they're doing is equally dangerous as any advice offered by anyone else.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Stump removal, replanting

Spruce,
I have to disagree with you. I have cut many trees and you never use a chainsaw in a pit. It is to dangerous and you have no room for error. Almost all the cutting would have to be done at the end of the bar which seriously limits control. And I believe should never be recommended.

Using a pickup truck to pull a stump is also extremely dangerous for several reasons. To much strain on a cable or chain can cause it to fail with disastrous results including uncontrolled projectiles or a cable whip that can cut a person in half. If the chain or cable breaks and doesn't do damage the truck is in high rev and if it cuts loose the jolt or slow reaction can cause you to careen out of control.

Although a stump remover is a dangerous piece of equipment it is still the safest form of stump removal for an amateur with proper instructions..Best course would be to hire professionals that know what they are doing. If the oak was diseased it is warranted to have other oak tress on the property checked and do not plant another oak in the same or near location.

Jack

canuk
Re: Stump removal, replanting

Ya know .... having removed a fair number of stumps in my time using a myriad of tools and techniques including .... axes , chainsaws , reciprocating saws , drilling holes , hydraulic jacks , chain and truck , etc..
I can say over the course of many years have done this without loss of life or limb and it's a lot of physical effort.

Can a chainsaw kick back and injure someone ... or .... a cable whip back and cut someone in half ... or burnout a transmission or clutch ? .... Sure it's possible.

However .... like everything .... depending on the person's skills , knowledge , techniques , and equipment used are determine factors in how safe anything is done.

If a person was foolish enough to wrap a clothesline cable around a stump and try pulling with their Honda CRV ..... then you can expect something disastrous to happen .... like the cable snapping causing serious damage or injury ... or dropping the transmission.

Geez ... you can very easily injure yourself by doing common things in a kitchen .... opening a tin can or slicing food for example.

Pages

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.