Why You Should Remove Tree Stumps
Portland may have the friendly and affectionate name of Stumptown, but having a dying tree in your yard can lead to many painful decisions. Can it be saved? And if not, what do you do with the stump after the dead has been carried away?
Cutting down a tree seems like a major project. And while it does take time, there’s a natural process of removing it. Tree stump removal, however, is a different story. Tree stump removal is a lot more involved, which is why it’s not included in the tree removal process.
It’s also why you’ll find old tree stumps all over the Portland area.
Typically, people remove a tree stump for a variety of reasons.
They take up valuable space – and your yard is only so big. If you choose to have a clean looking yard, a large tree stump can take away from the space that could be used for other landscaping, including flowers, vegetables, or even another tree.
They are eyesores – Look across the garden and it’s pretty easy to see an old stump sticking above the rest of the vegetation. There is nothing attractive about an old tree stump. They’re even worse if they begin attracting weeds and other noxious plant life you would rather not have in your yard.
They can be hazardous – Tree stumps that set several inches above your landscaping may be easy to see, but the stumps that are buried underneath grass or are camouflaged behind other plant life can quickly become “out of sight, out of mind” … until you hit it with your toe. Tree stumps can be tripping hazards, making it easy to fall over.
Ready To Remove The Stump?
Some tree stumps are easier to remove than others. There are different techniques you can apply, depending on what you have time for and how large your tree. It also makes a difference as to the type of tree your removing, with pine trees being easier to remove than deciduous trees.
What makes a stump easier to remove? In general, it’s the age and size that will be your best indicators. The older the stump is, the easier it is to eliminate. Likewise, the smaller the stump is, the easier it is to remove.
You can also choose your tree stump removal process by how many stumps you have to remove. One stump may be easy to remove with a little manpower and a pickaxe, whereas removing several trees would be simpler by hiring someone else or using a backhoe.
Can I Plant A Tree In The Same Place?
In some cases, the loss of a tree in your yard can be a devastating experience. It may have been the central focal point in your landscaping. It may have provided welcome relief from the hot summer sun.
Yet now that it’s gone, can you replant in the same area, hoping it will one day take the place of your old tree? That depends on several things.
When a tree falls, from weather or disease, it can leave a mess. After spending time getting rid of the tree, removing the stump and even the root system, you’ll be left with a hole that is filled with sawdust. That and any remaining roots are your biggest obstacle to replanting a tree.
To replant, you must remove as much of this leftover debris as possible. This could mean using a pickaxe to chop out as much of the old root system as possible. This could mean clearing away as much of the sawdust as possible.
It also means ensuring the soil is rich in nutrition for the next tree. Adding top soil, compost, and high-nitrogen fertilizers can help repair the ground and leave it in good condition for the new tree. Also, giving it several years to allow microorganisms to break down old roots and debris and add back nutrients to the soil will make it a richer location for a new tree to thrive.
Can You Grow Other Things Around A Tree Stump?
So maybe you don’t want to remove an old tree stump. The process is simply too much work. What then?
People have been very creative coming up with alternatives.
Cut the stump off as close to the ground as possible. Then build a raised bed over the top of it. Make a frame out of rot-resistant wood and fill it with quality top soil. Then plant shallow rooted plants in it, such as vegetables and annuals. This accelerates the decomposition of the stump below, turning it into food for your plants above.
Or maybe it’s time to create your own mushroom factory. A quick search online will get you all the tools and resources you need to begin the process of growing your own mushrooms. And as a bonus, they will also greatly accelerate the decaying process of the stump. Obviously, a stump in the shade will work better for this project than a stump in the sun. It also works better with certain types of trees, hardwoods like oak, ash, and birch, or softwood like Douglas firs all work well. But it can be a great science experiment for the budding scientist in your home!
Disposing Of Tree Stumps
Just like it took work to dispose of deadwood from the tree you cut down, it’s also difficult to dispose of large tree stumps. The city may not pick up a tree stump with the rest of your yard waste. In some cases, it may take additional fees if they will pick it up at all. You may also be able to talk with a local recycling center.
If you have multiple stumps to dispose of, it may be worth investing in a wood chipper. The processed wood can be used for other projects throughout your yard. And depending on where you live, you may be able to burn the tree stump, though it can take a long time to burn completely away.
Have an old tree stump in your yard? What’s your preferred method of removing it?
Aaron Sanders has worked in landscaping for 15 years and continues to be an asset to Mr. Tree Services. He firmly believes that your attitude determines your altitude in life.