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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Salem, MA
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    Default Stump removal, replanting

    Sadly, we had to have a massive old oak tree taken out yesterday. It was the "tree swing" tree in our yard, and we had many old memories of swinging on our bench seat with the children. I'm generally not nostalgic, but this one kind of hurts.

    Anyhow, I intend to try and dig at least some significant portion of this old giant out and try to replant a tree in its place or very nearby if I can. Any recommendations on that?

    Are the rotting roots of the great beast going to negatively impact a new tree? Is there a chance that disease from the tree still exists there?
    Will the rotting render the soil unstable?
    What is the right season to plant an oak tree?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,486

    Default Re: Stump removal, replanting

    If you're up for a bit of a workout, then stump removal isn't that bad. You'll end up digging approximately 3 feet out from the trunk to get the largest portions of root, and depending on the diameter of the tree, anywhere from 2 to 4 feet deep to get below the tap root enough to dislodge the stump.

    You'll want shovels, an ax, and a sawzall or a chainsaw. Keep in mind all safety precautions when using any of this equipment, as well as the dirt is going to dull the chainsaw chains quickly. Another handy device will be a come-along or a truck and chain to help nudge the stump and break it loose, again, observing all cautions when performing this type of work with these types of equipment.

    If you've got hard pan, dig what you can, then add a few inches of water to the hole. The water will soften the dirt for removal. Once the stump is out, you can buck it up with the saw for firewood or easier handling to remove from the property.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
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    1,164

    Default Re: Stump removal, replanting

    I've dug out small stumps and it was a major workout. If the tree was as big as I imagine, I think you would be better off having the stump ground out, remove the wood chips as much as possible & fill with top soil. I would be leery replanting an oak tree in the same spot if it had succumbed to disease. If you know what killed the old tree, then an arborist or state extension agency should be able to tell you if you can plant another oak. In general a disease that effects one species won't hurt another.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    116

    Default Re: Stump removal, replanting

    I've done this before. I would discourage using a car, truck, etc. to do any pulling because it is quite possible to damage the clutch or transmission. Also, using the chainsaw is a very, very bad idea not just because of the dulling of the chain but because of the potential for kickback because if you are cutting roots there is likely to be some sort of compression or tension strain on the roots. A reciprocating saw is a much safer option.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    731

    Default Re: Stump removal, replanting

    ed21 has given some excellent advice. cougars has made some great points as well. most oaks will graft roots with others in the area. an arborist from the extension office or your local village is a local professional information resource you're already paying for with your tax dollars.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,486

    Default Re: Stump removal, replanting

    Cougar and Blue Ridge, there is no caveat large enough to put upon any post as to encompass all situations. The best that we can possibly hope for is that with adequate warnings to heed all safety warnings and safe practices, that the user will use a touch of common sense in their endeavors. Warnings that were included in my original post.

    There are a myriad of tools and equipment that will be beneficial in the removal of a stump of any size. When used properly, in accordance to recommended safety guidelines, these methods, equipment, and practices are perfectly safe and effective. We must allow the end user to decide what is right for them. The use of a chainsaw was a suggestion, as was a sawzall and and ax, yet the hackles didn't rise at the use of an use of either of the latter which are equally dangerous in the hands of a fool. The use of a come-along was also suggested, yet you focused on the use of a vehicle. Again, equal dangers are in place, the equipment is the only difference.

    It was not suggested that the user employ equipment or objects in an unsafe manner, quite the opposite in fact. Allow the free flow of ideas, with accompanying safety warnings, and let the user decide what's best for them.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Stump removal, replanting

    "Anyhow, I intend to try and dig at least some significant portion of this old giant out and try to replant a tree in its place or very nearby if I can. Any recommendations on that?"

    I'd recommend hiring a stump grinding service. You can save money by having the stump ground to just below ground level and covering the rest with soil. You can save even more money by doing the cleanup yourself. I used to run a self-propelled stump grinder for the tree service I worked for. We could do a large stump in an hour. With a small two-wheel rental grinder, it would take you several hours and give you a nice backache. I would not try cutting, digging or pulling it out unless you have machinery to do so (I have failed using both a bobcat and a tractor on a large stump before). A large track hoe would work well.

    "Are the rotting roots of the great beast going to negatively impact a new tree?" Nope, as long as your new root ball does not rest directly on a large old root.

    "Is there a chance that disease from the tree still exists there?" Yes - Bacterial leaf scorch, oak wilt, armillaria, etc. can still exist in dead roots, and can be transmitted to newly planted susceptible species. What did the tree die from?

    "Will the rotting render the soil unstable?" No. You may develop small pockets in the soil, but bear in mind that the roots will rot over several years, and your freeze-thaw cycles should disguise most any changes.

    "What is the right season to plant an oak tree?" Either spring or fall, while soil is not frozen. In spring, plant before bud break. Pay attention to planting depth - don't go too deep!


    By the way - are there any moderators on this forum? These guys are terribly annoying, and have probably driven off the original poster.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Stump removal, replanting

    Quote Originally Posted by mpriley05 View Post
    By the way - are there any moderators on this forum? These guys are terribly annoying, and have probably driven off the original poster.
    Supposedly there are.

    Fact is there really wouldn't be any need of mods in that we all get along just fine with one another (and did so for years)...save for the notable exception of BRP and her numerous current aliases. Has been banned from the forum several times already, but keeps sneaking back in....time and time again. During her several abscences there were again zero problems or tirades. I think that says it all.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Stump removal, replanting

    Quote Originally Posted by mpriley05 View Post
    "Anyhow, I intend to try and dig at least some significant portion of this old giant out and try to replant a tree in its place or very nearby if I can. Any recommendations on that?"

    I'd recommend hiring a stump grinding service. You can save money by having the stump ground to just below ground level and covering the rest with soil. You can save even more money by doing the cleanup yourself. I used to run a self-propelled stump grinder for the tree service I worked for. We could do a large stump in an hour. With a small two-wheel rental grinder, it would take you several hours and give you a nice backache. I would not try cutting, digging or pulling it out unless you have machinery to do so (I have failed using both a bobcat and a tractor on a large stump before). A large track hoe would work well.

    "Are the rotting roots of the great beast going to negatively impact a new tree?" Nope, as long as your new root ball does not rest directly on a large old root.

    "Is there a chance that disease from the tree still exists there?" Yes - Bacterial leaf scorch, oak wilt, armillaria, etc. can still exist in dead roots, and can be transmitted to newly planted susceptible species. What did the tree die from?

    "Will the rotting render the soil unstable?" No. You may develop small pockets in the soil, but bear in mind that the roots will rot over several years, and your freeze-thaw cycles should disguise most any changes.

    "What is the right season to plant an oak tree?" Either spring or fall, while soil is not frozen. In spring, plant before bud break. Pay attention to planting depth - don't go too deep!


    By the way - are there any moderators on this forum? These guys are terribly annoying, and have probably driven off the original poster.
    Very nice post on-topic mpriley.

    Original poster not only returned to the board during active on-topic posting this thread; but amongst other activities, selected board friends on Xmas Eve.

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