Cutting down a tree isn’t hard. However, getting it to land without damaging people and property can be tricky. Once the tree is down, there’s still the issue left of the stump. A living, breathing tree that’s reached maturity usually has a very integrated root system that doesn’t up and leave because the trunk is gone.
We live in the modern age – right? So, we have high powered trucks, farm equipment, explosives and chainsaws all at our disposal.
Seems like a natural solution to any problem – right? Since the advent of explosives and blackpowder, man has inevitably been employing them in the age old quest to get that stump out. However, there’s a lot that can go wrong.
With blackpowder, there’s a good chance you’ll either fail to do any significant damage or worse – make more work for yourself later on. And with dynamite, there’s a really good chance that you can send a spray of high velocity shrapnel going in all directions.
The bottom line is: explosives are only as good as the people employing them. There’s countless vids which illustrate how to bore holes into the trunk to make full use of that explosive outward force. Even more intelligently (and with less chance of harming yourself or others) is using fire to burn down deep inside the trunk’s root system.
Surprisingly, this plan only requires a leaf blower and a chainsaw. Seems a bit easier than using a half stick of dynamite, no? And of course, there’s always the high-tech, expensive DIY way – most informative. Or you could always just hack at it endlessly with a chainsaw.
But what if you really need that stump out – roots and all? For those who need to redo irrigation systems or even till fields – roots will only serve to spurn your efforts later.
“Let’s Pull it Out!”
Now you’re talking! You hacked and you hacked and finally it’s time to rev up the good ole’ battle wagon to take out that stump once and for all… Or not so much. Let’s face facts here – physics is a brutal thing. And if you’re not using it to your advantage, it’s going to be used against you, like this.
Whoa, a 2 ½ ton truck can’t take out a stump? Well, yes it can. It just needs to be in the right set of hands.
It doesn’t matter how much horsepower you’ve got. If you’re not employing the right techniques, you’re probably not going to get that stump out. But, if you are in the business of taking out a stump – you will learn.
The Right Way
3. Stump Notch
4. Root Excavation
5. Tow Slack
There are many right ways to remove a tree stump. And there are so many more wrong ways. Here’s a trusted right way for those with either a pick-up truck or a decently sturdy tractor.
Before you cut down the tree, you want the stump to be stable and ideally cut flush to where you’re affixing your chain or similar tow pull.
After a tree has been cut down and the log moved back, notch the mid-way point of the remaining stump. You can then use this groove to catch and pull in the chain when you’re towing it with your truck. With shovels, pickaxes, mattocks, and even chainsaws, dig about the base of the tree and cut any major roots you find. Every little bit helps. Even if you don’t get all of them, think of each root as a very strong rope anchoring that trunk to the soil. Cutting even a few of the thickest ropes can greatly expedite the rest.
Line up your tow vehicle in a straight and flush angle to where you intend to drive. Don’t pull off at any angles and, if possible, make sure there aren’t any major obstacles in front of you that you can accidentally hit. The tow cable should be attached with slack – not loose! The slack gives you a bit of run room so you can get the most torque from your engine. Traction, traction, traction. If you don’t have proper traction, nothing is going to happen. Or worse, you’re going to get yourself stuck or slide. Short, definite bursts or long, arduous pulls – make sure you know your plan and communicate it to the rest of your crew. Obviously life doesn’t always deal ideal conditions – but please do take precautions with the proper safety equipment and good communication.
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