Don’t Be Stumped

6th September 2018

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Tips and Learning

This article is for you if you are looking to fell a tree in your garden, or you have an unsightly or inconvenient stump in your garden, because stump removal can be a really tough task for the uninitiated.

Here are some of the facts you’ll want to know upfront:

  1. Stumps should be removed when the tree is felled.
  2. If you don’t take out the stump you may need to deal with suckering and fungal rot.
  3. Tree stumps can be removed at any time of the year.
  4. It is not advisable to attempt to burn down tree stumps as it’s rarely effective.
  5. Most trees will require professional equipment for stump removal.

Now that you know the basics, let’s look at the challenge in a little more detail.

Why should the stump be removed when the tree is felled?
While a stump can be removed at any time, it would be advisable to consider asking your tree surgeon to remove it as part of their felling task at your property for three simple reasons:

  1. Cost – It will often be cheaper to ask your tree surgeon who is already on site with all the equipment they need, to remove the stump as well as the tree rather than to ask them or someone else to come back later.
  2. Suckering – Just because the tree has been felled does not mean it is totally dead – the roots may live on for a while and because of this, new shoots can grow from roots and stump. These are called suckers and if left alone can become thick, tough, bushes with their own root systems, adding to the inconvenience and cost should you decide to remove them some time later.
  3. Fungus – Dead or dying roots can become prone to infections and fungus, especially honey fungus – the most common in such circumstances. These attack and kill the tree’s remaining live roots, growing in clumps of yellowy-brown toadstools. As honey fungus spreads underground it can start to attack other plants and trees; not something you want to encourage in your garden.

To avoid excessive cost, or problems with suckering and fungus, either remove the stump at felling or treat the stump immediately after the felling of your tree.

Removing a stump
If you wish to have a go on your own you’ll need to hire a mini-excavator and a winch or stump grinder, as well as all the safety gear you’ll need to keep you protected. We would only recommend you do this if you are confident that you can handle such machinery, which can be dangerous in untrained hands.

Step one is to fell your tree. This needs to be done cleanly and leaving enough stump for any winch to get good leverage from.

Next you need to decide whether you’re looking to remove the stump and roots entirely, often the best option if possible, or to grind the stump down so you can lay turf over it.

If the tree is small enough and you have the right equipment then a stump can be simply pulled out, drawing much of its root system with it.

However, for larger trees you will need to dig down far enough to expose enough root for grinding down, remove the resulting sawdust, treat the stump with stump killer/weedkiller to reduce the likelihood of new shoots, suckering and fungal infection, then apply new earth and/or mulch on top to level off your garden.

Of course, you could always simply ask a professional to do all this for you.

If you would like to talk to an expert about removing an unsightly or inconvenient stump from your garden, call us on 0208 292 8992. We’re always happy to pop round or to help with a little advice.

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