Find out how to remove a tree stump. Get tips on speeding up the natural rotting process with nitrogen fertilizer or sugar. Your other option is to rent a stump grinder, but be sure to take the necessary safety precautions when using that machinery.
LESLIE: So you’ve cut down those damaged or those dangerous trees that you’ve got around your yard but as close as you get that last cut to the ground, you are still left with that ridiculously unmanageable stump
. What do you do with it?
And Kevin, you know it’s not just the homeowners that leave stumps. The tree pros do the very same thing.
KEVIN: Yeah, that’s right. When a tree service cuts down a tree in your yard, the last cut they make is called a flush cut. That’s when they put the chainsaw as close to the ground as possible. But often they leave an unsightly stump in the ground that most homeowners have no idea how to get rid of. In short, they're stumped.
ROGER: That is the toughest part of the tree, that whole stump that’s left behind, and it’s going to take forever to rot on its own. There’s a couple things you can do. You can drill holes into the stump, you could put nitrogen in and some people even say put sugar in and that’ll speed up the decomposition. But it’s still going to take time.
What I like to do is get a stump grinder. You can rent them; you can grind the stump down six to eight inches below the surface and then if you want to put loam in, you can reseed the yard and the stump is gone.
KEVIN: But even if you use a stump grinder, it’s still going to leave a lot of the surface roots, right?
ROGER: It can, Kevin, and if you want to get rid of the stump and all the surface roots, you’re going to have to bring in an excavator to dig out the stump. Now, before you start digging with an excavator, you want to call your local utility locating service to make sure you don’t pull out the electric line, the gas line or the water line while you’re pulling out the stump. If you want to see a video on stump grinding, go to ThisOldHouse.com.
KEVIN: Yeah, the last thing you want to see when you go to dig out your stump is the water line come with it and the creation of a new sprinkler system vis-à-vis the main water line.
ROGER: Yeah, it’s called a water feature.
TOM: (laughs) Roger Cook, Kevin O’Connor, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: Our pleasure.
LESLIE: We had a similar incident on an episode of The Ugliest House on the Block involving a backhoe and perhaps a water line, which generally don’t mix very well together. (chuckles) So, end of story: special tools are required in this process. But you will be more than happy with the final results; we promise you.
If you want a step-by-step video on exactly how to use a stump grinder, go ahead and visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And don’t forget to watch This Old House on PBS, brought to you by The Home Depot. The Home Depot, more saving, more doing.