There are times when a mature tree just has to come down. Maybe it’s dying, already dead, or it’s overgrown to the point of being a safety hazard. Once it’s been topped chances are there will still be a fair amount of stump left remaining that needs to be dealt with. This is even more likely to be an issue if the tree was toppled by a strong storm or winter snow load.
One of the problems with a tree stump that is damaged, rather than dead, is that the mature root base will do everything it can to bring the tree back to life. This is more common with hardwood trees than it is with softwood. Still, trees can be tenacious. What might look like a simple stump in your lawn one year, could sprout a series of small, unsightly branches or green shoots.
If you have a stubborn stump lingering in your yard, and you aren’t sure what to do with it, if you want to know how to remove a tree stump you might want to consider one of the following options.
Renting Or Contracting A Stump Grinder
There are heavy-duty landscaping machines that are specifically designed to grind a stump down to the root base. If you call in advance, you might be able to reserve a stump grinder from a local rental shop. If you’ve done this sort of thing before, you might be able to save some money doing it yourself. If you’ve never used a stump grinder before, or you’re not the most mechanically handy person in the world, you might want to consider hiring someone. Especially, if you don’t have a handy way to get rid of the debris yourself!
There are a lot of landscaping and tree trimming companies that offer stump grinding services. They can grind up the stump, advise you on how to maintain the area in the future, and then take the debris away.
There are some chemical and microbial stump removers sold in gardening or box retail hardware stores. Though they tend to be more effective with small stumps that have been cut nearly down to the ground or a dead stump that is already prone to degrade. They’re not really a good choice for a large, standing tree trunk with a living root base that supports it.
Consider Installing An In-Ground Fire Pit
North America was once covered with trees. A lot of the early settlers who cleared the land would build fires atop the stumps left behind. Depending on where the stump is, and what the local laws are, you could build a rock or metal ring around the stump. Then you can enjoy some summer evenings sitting around your new backyard fire pit.
While a living stump itself won’t really burn, the heat of dried wood burning over top of it will help kill the root base while slowing killing the stump. Though this option only really works well if the tree stump has been cut very close to the ground.
Transforming A Stump Into An Outdoor Work Or Art
Believe it or not, stump carving has become one of the more popular ways to deal with the remnants of a fallen tree. It’s usually better for a stump that has recently died. This is not the sort of thing you should try doing yourself unless you have experience with stump carving and you know your way around a chainsaw.
Though you might be surprised to hear that it’s not that hard to find professional stump carvers via a simple internet search. Many of them have the experience and artistic talent to truly transform an ugly stump into the sort of thing that will have your neighbors gawking in awe.
Of course, the size, shape, and unique characteristics of the stump will influence what they can do. You should be prepared to have a back and forth conversation in advance to help the chainsaw carver capture your vision for the piece.
How To Preserve A Stump Carving?
The wood of a stump carving will be prone to changes over time. Left to the elements you can expect what might have been a bright vibrant stump to turn gray, or dark brown. The ravages of winter and seasonal changes can also lead to cracks, splitting, and possibly patches of rot.
You can make the most out of your stump carving by taking steps to preserve it. The chainsaw artist might be able to help you or give you advice on the method that’s best for your particular stump. Ultimately, it breaks down to two options.
A Natural Plant or Flower Stand
What better place to display daisies or other flowers in your favorite pots than to place them on top of the stump to enhance the surroundings with beautiful life.
Varnishing A Stump Carving
If you love the organic look and feel of exposed natural wood, you can help preserve your stump carving with varnish. Just bear in mind that this goes beyond that simple can of spray varnish you used to preserve grandma’s old end table.
You will need to use marine-grade spar varnish. For the best coverage, you will want to use some old rags and long gloves to rub the spar varnish deep into cracks, divots, and other textured areas. Ideally, you want to apply it when the weather forecast calls for at least two days of dry weather. If you have the time and money, you might want to double up with a second coating a few days later.
Painting A Stump Carving
Your other option for preserving a stump carving is to paint it. Here again, you’ll need multiple coats for the best results. It starts with a single or double coat of a white, exterior grade primer. If you skip this step, you will find your other colors soak into the wood muting them after even three or four coats!
Once the white exterior primer has dried and cured to the wood, you can then start painting the stump with exterior grade colored paints. The white will help the color pop and make it easier to use contrasting colors.
Peaceful Yoga Spot
Transform your natural surroundings and incorporate your yoga workout routines with a sense of zen that you can truly appreciate.
Afterward, you might want to spray the painted stump with an exterior grade varnish to help reduce color fading from the sun and weather.
Create A Natural Walkway
If there are a lot of stumps, grind them down low enough to make a natural looking walkway through your yard. Cheaper than paver stones, and you can create a dramatic , peaceful effect through any surroundings.
Make A Chair From A Stump
Why not have a permanent place to sit in your yard by transforming that stump into a place to sit. If its big enough, you can even make a back and arm rests. Think about it, chairs are made from wood right? Sand it down, add some stain and varnish to make it the centerpiece of your yard.
Transforming A Stump Into A Neighborhood Book Exchange
Neighborhood book exchange centers are increasingly popular these days. The concept behind it is very similar to a public library. You stock it with old, gently-used books. Your neighbors and passersby can then take a book and leave an old book of their own.
The idea of a neighborhood book exchange lends itself to a larger tree stump or a tree stump that’s large enough to properly support a small chamber with a plexiglass door. Though a chainsaw artist could be able to carve a chamber into a large stump and decorate the exterior to attract people to it.