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Tree/Bush Stump Removal


Last December, I was on schedule to have a 6' cedar privacy fence installed in my back yard. I live in Montana, so it was definitely a tentative schedule because of the weather.

Bordering the alley in the corner of my yard were 3 older lilac bushes that were overgrown and not ever really taken care of. There is a metal shed in that same corner. Whomever installed the existing chain link rigged the fence to avoid the lilacs and, instead of going over to the corner of the lot, just attached the chain link to the corner of the shed, thus leaving the lilacs to act as a "fence" for the corner. It looked awful...the fence and the lilacs.

When the fencing company came to provide a bid for the cedar fence, he said the bushes were going to have to be removed in order to install the new fence. They needed about 18" of space between the shed and the fence line and that is exactly where the bushes were. That was fine with me since the bushes were in the way and were overgrown and, frankly, ugly.

Since it was December in Montana, ripping them out of the ground wasn't really an option. Plus, it really wasn't in my budget. Some very nice friends came over and chopped them down to about 12", which was as much as they could and was enough to make the fencing guys happy. The project ended up being postponed because of weather.

The fence went up this past April. Now I have stumps that are wedged between the shed and cedar fence (about a 2-3' space), so ripping them out or digging them up isn't an option. I'd still like them gone.

The fencing guy told me to use Stump Out or to just pour bleach on them. I've checked the label for Stump Out, and it states to drill holes 1" in diameter at the top and on the sides. Well, these bushes have arms that are between 1/2" and 2" and run pretty much down to the ground (so no big "stump"), so I couldn't drill 1" in all of them. Plus, I really can't drill 1" holes on the sides of most of them due to their diameter.

Finally, I am getting to asking my questions:

1) Will Stump Out still work if I drill holes that are smaller than 1" and are only in the top, not the sides?

2) Will bleach actually work?

3) Are there other things to try besides Stump Out or bleach?

I know that results from using chemicals will take time, but I really don't have another choice.

Thank you!


A. Spruce
Re: Tree/Bush Stump Removal

Hire a couple of neighbor boys and have them dig out the stumps. Take down one section of the fence if you have to, it's no big deal to either pull or cut the nails holding it in place WITHOUT damaging the section. With street access to the stumps, you can then not only dig to loosen them, you can also get some mechanical help from a vehicle. Another option, with street access would be to have the stumps ground out.

You can use your stump remover product, just drill smaller holes. Start with all the largest stump pieces, the larger the hole you can drill, the easier it will be to apply the product. Another option would be to bury them, either with just plain old dirt or with nitrogen added, since nitrogen will aid in the decomposition of the stumps. If you add nitrogen, do it naturally and use fresh manure, topped with dirt. One last option would be to cut the stump as close to the ground as possible, then bury it and plant something new over it, the new tree/plant won't care and will eventually root around and absorb the stump.

Re: Tree/Bush Stump Removal

I don't think bleach will work. You need microbial activity for the roots to rot and bleach tends to inhibit that.
I have used the stump out before and was less than impressed with the results.
I would dig down around the root as much as possible and then cut it as low as possible, the cover it with dirt. A sawsall would probably be the easiest tool to use. Blades are fairly cheap and only one should be needed unless you break them. A cheap folding garden hand saw will work too if you don't have access to the sawsall.
Plant something on top if you want.

Re: Tree/Bush Stump Removal

Do as above, dig around the stump, cut as many roots as you can, then tie the stump to a pick up truck bumper, start the engine, put it in D, accelerate....and watch the bumper fall off - that's your sign you didn't dig deep enough.

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