View Full Version : large stump removal

10-11-2007, 08:00 PM
huge oak tree stumps...cust has about a dozen of them all over the yard...i cant even come close to budging them w/ my Bobcat S185...

im thinking of renting an excavator to do the job...what is the minimum size (overall weight) machine that you would recommend for large stump removal?...its very hard to tell the overall width of the stump, bc of the root systems...but my guess is its about 3-4 ft stumps

Dirt Digger2
10-11-2007, 08:01 PM
backhoe will do it, or a 12K trackhoe...which ever is cheaper to rent

10-11-2007, 09:01 PM
I'd get the biggest you can get your hands on. You could also grind them.
I had some 14" spruces pick my A300 up with ease, but they eventually come free. The oaks you describe are huge, just take your time and pluck away.

RockSet N' Grade
10-11-2007, 10:12 PM
The larger the machine, the easier it could be. The trick to the whole deal is technique and loosening the outside root system and moving in. Take your time and take little bites until she tells you she's ready to pop on out.

10-11-2007, 10:17 PM
Take your time and go easy and your 185 will do it, But it will
take alot of time :weightlifter: Save your rental money

Dirt Digger2
10-11-2007, 11:14 PM
i've taken out 2' pine stumps with our takeuchi with no tooth bar...it took a while...for the amount of time and wear and tear on your equipment it would probably be in your best interest to rent a machine, pull them out and grade the place up in a day rather then take 2-2 1/2 days with a little skidloader

10-12-2007, 12:15 AM
I remember how my grandfather did it, a drill and dynamite! Too bad those days are gone. He even used dynamite to dig holes for trees.

Dirt Digger2
10-12-2007, 12:46 AM
I remember how my grandfather did it, a drill and dynamite! Too bad those days are gone. He even used dynamite to dig holes for trees.

yea but you can still drill holes in the stumps, fill them with kero or diesel and burn them

10-12-2007, 06:38 PM
these things are huge, ive taken out some big stumps before w/ just my mini hoe attachment but those trees were cut and the stumps were rotting for a few years...

these im talking about were just cut a few months ago and they dont budge at all w/ my S185...

10-12-2007, 07:55 PM
be careful you don't mess up your bucket. An oak stump can be very hard to get up even with backhoes and excavators. I have both and you will have to get something bigger than the 185 to load them. Better get backhoe for the loading and digging.

10-12-2007, 08:39 PM
personally I'd park the 185 other then clean up. I don't think it worth beating the crap out of your machine or possibly twisting the arms. An excavator is really the ticket...I'd like a 18,000# one at that.

10-12-2007, 08:56 PM
rent a stump grinder so you can at least put more$ in your pocket. Then you don't have to get a dump truck to haul away the debris.:hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead:

Dirt Digger2
10-12-2007, 09:53 PM
like i said...get a Case 580 or a Cat 420 with a 2 foot bucket...a 1foot bucket would be better if you can get your hands on it, but a 2 foot will work fine too

10-12-2007, 10:01 PM
grind them. If they have to uprooted, buy a blue diamond stump bucket. It's the best I have used for stumping. Makes short work of the biggest stumps using leverage and you won't bend your regular bucket.

10-13-2007, 01:08 AM
im not even thinking about using my skid...monday im going to make some callls on renting an excavator...so far it sounds like I want at least a 6 ton machine?

RockSet N' Grade
10-13-2007, 08:38 AM
6 ton would be a good start. rentals usually come with a 2' bucket, see if they have a 12" to go along with the 2'. i still think bigger would be better, but 6 ton would be minimum. make sure the machine has a dozer blade on the front also.....it will give you more support when digging. a machine with a thumb would be dandy also.

Kepple Services
10-13-2007, 10:49 AM
If they are like the oaks here the rootball will be around 6-9' in diameter when you are done. I have dug out a bunch for a builder who was building a house on top of where the stump was so I could not just grind it and leae it.. I dig all the way around the stump eith and excavator, then UNDER it. The road i made for the track loader is the road i roll the stump up when im done.

10-13-2007, 11:26 AM
What about disposal? Unless there is going to be a slab there, I don't see the need to uproot everything. More information would help. We grind some monster stumps here. Uprooting is just not as popular with tipping fees, hauling, and green waste disposal issues.

10-13-2007, 01:40 PM
Here are some pics of a pine stump I pulled with a EC25 (VOLVO) it took a little work but all in all it was rather painless. I hope this can give you some sort of reference as to Size of stump to size of machine ratio that you are looking for....





10-13-2007, 04:49 PM
KK nice pics... 2 of 6 stumps are that size maybe, but the others are twice the size, also i wish they were Pine trees...also what size is the EC25?

there is a slab going down, and there is disposal on site for the stumps way in the back

Rock, good idea about the smaller bucket...i assume that is for more manueverability around and under the roots?

10-13-2007, 05:37 PM
It was a rental but if I had to guess I would say approx. 7000#,....So in your case a 6 ton machine should pluck those big ones like baby teeth....

RockSet N' Grade
10-13-2007, 09:20 PM
Bobby....a smaller bucket displaces more force in a more concentrated area than a large bucket. A ripper tooth would exert more concentrated force than a 3 or 4' bucket. Also the manuverability is better. If the stump is under slab or in foundation or under driveway.......take it out.

10-14-2007, 12:05 AM
You could dig the grand canyon with a shovel if you wanted to but humans only live for 60-100 years so get the biggest machine available and go at it.

10-14-2007, 09:59 AM
I would grind it down as far as i can then pull the rest out.

10-14-2007, 09:59 AM
hey moredirt have you gotten any snow yet?

10-14-2007, 10:26 AM
What are you going to do with the stumps after you get them out? If they want them hauled off, then you will need a 160 as a minium to get them loaded in a tandem. Stumps this size give my 200 size machine a workout. No way I would use a mini for this.

10-15-2007, 02:39 PM
stumps are to remain on site, just need to be pushed into the back...

will a 11# machine handle them...a bobcat 341 is what bobcat of boston recommended...

10-15-2007, 05:24 PM
it'll just take alittle longer. I'd prefer a 18k# machine...but use watcha' got.

10-15-2007, 06:29 PM
You can do it with a 341 no problem. All you're shooting to do is get it out of the ground and push it around. Forget splitting it, that'll take too long and it may not work out. Just dig all the way around it, pull it out, move it wherever you want it to be, then fill the hole. That's the best way to go about it.

10-16-2007, 07:57 PM
A 341 will not pluck out a 48" oak stump with ease. A pine stump and an oak stump are not even in the same ball park. I hope the stumps are not cut flush with the ground as you will have to push and pull to get it moving. I would not take on this job with my 341, unless I was not busy for...say the next month.

10-17-2007, 03:37 AM
You're right, a 341 will not pluck a 48" stump, but neither will a Cat 320. You guys are missing the point, don't try to pluck anything, just dig the thing out.

RockSet N' Grade
10-17-2007, 11:17 AM
Scag is onto an important point of "technique". You are not pulling out eyebrow hairs with tweezers here........Start your exploration of the root system on the outside and move in toward the stump. Just about any sized machine will do the job, shoot, this has been done before excavators were invented with pick and shovel. Take an axe with you, you may need that too.

Gravel Rat
10-17-2007, 03:56 PM
Dynamite is still the easiest blasting contractors still get a call once in a while to loosen up stumps. Mainly in areas where you can't get a 200 sized machine. Start exposing the roots and digging around the root ball of the tree. A Sawsall (Recip saw) with a aggressive tooth blade will cut through the large roots. Recip saw blades are cheaper than distroying a chainsaw chain in the dirt.

If you have a blasting contractor in your area you can pop the stumps with dynamite get them partially busted up and a mini excavator can remove the chunks. I never delt with a oak stump we don't have them on the West Coast but if they are hard they will shatter with dynamite. Mostly for us if there is a stubborn stump that won't come out the contractor will put the burn pile over it. After burning for 2 days the stump is easier to remove.

Oh ya never bury stumps a always haul them away because you bury them in a spot that you figure that will never be used may be used in future.

10-17-2007, 05:36 PM
I suppose I could excavate out a football stadium with a mini ex as well, if time and money were of no concern. Have any of you actually taken out a oak stump of this size with a 12000# ex? If and when you get it loose from the root system, the root ball weight is enormous. So, why spend the time and effort with the mini, time to call in the big guys. 1 or 2 stumps,maybe but a dozen??

10-17-2007, 07:25 PM
it was very hard to tell the size and the trees, they were just a big ball covered w/ dirt and the root system spread out for ever...there's 6 stumps total but only 2 are really massive, the others are average...i hope the big 2 are pines but not sure...

the cust did have em cut down to ground level, so i'll have to dig and undermine, im very aware of the concept and have done it before w/ my small mini hoe on smaller stumps..

ill post back after done next wk...

10-17-2007, 07:43 PM
Just let me know how your 341 curls out and picks up the stump out of the hole. A 4 foot oak stump/rootball is huge and you will not pick it up out of the hole with a mini. I have a 690ELC deere and a stump this size gives it a serious workout. I run a KX121 at work and know it would never do this job.

Dirt Digger2
10-17-2007, 09:53 PM
Have any of you actually taken out a oak stump of this size with a 12000# ex?

we have taken out stumps that big..i dont know if they were oak or not...but they were 2 1/2-3 feet in diameter...we took them out with a backhoe and loaded them into a truck with the loader bucket...you can't pluck them out unless you have a 45ton machine...get on one side, reach to the other and pull toward you...then dig on either side of the stump and it will get loose...

a very big word of caution when you dig stumps....watch out for flying rocks...you bend a root back and it will fling a rock right through a glass window. Happened on one of the back windows of our backhoe and i got a rock right to the face this summer (luckily it was only a 2" stone and nothing bigger...i saved it, still in the backhoe..haha) but you really need to look out..wear safety glasses if you feel you need to because you wont even see it coming

10-18-2007, 12:33 AM
It can be done; I have wrestled an immense stump free in total muck with my little loader... so big I had to push, roll, and drag it once I got it out; I couldn't pick it up. It just takes a long time. If you know it will take a long time, and you can charge for that and get paid what it is worth, I don't see why it wouldn't be a good opportunity.

10-18-2007, 05:52 AM
I've moved stumps with our 303 that weigh at least, at the very least, 2-3 times more than it would ever lift. If you guys can't remove stumps without physically pulling them out of the ground I'd re-think your abilities as an operator. I've pulled thousands, and I'm not exaggerating, thousands of trees out of the ground. 140 acres of apple trees to be exact. Yeah I know, little different deal, but an apple tree that's 20"-24" in diameter will make a 12 ton excavator struggle to pull it out. And apple trees don't have quite the root system larger trees have, the roots extend further, but they don't need to support very much as the largest apple tree I ever pulled was no more than about 20 feet tall. Even then, you usually end up busting the tree in half at the crotch, the stump is left, and you get to dig it out a little anyway. It would take an absolutely monstrous excavator to pluck a deciduous tree stump of any large size out of the ground. But, as the pictures indicate in I believe the second page, a pretty good size stump can be dug out of the ground with a small mini and transported across the ground.

Maybe one of these days I'll go back home and do another orchard removal and get some video. It's pretty wild to just walk down a row and obliterate everything in your path, applewood is fairly easy to break.

2 clowns mowing
10-18-2007, 06:29 AM
da, rent a big stump grinder. enough said

12-11-2007, 10:59 PM
I've removed a lot of stumps of various types, and diameters. I use a cat 304, which weighs around 11,500 lbs with a thumb. The most difficult I've been able to dig out was a 30" locust and a 30" hedge. Both had to be dug out and I had to dig a ramp to drag them away. Massive root structure with a lot of dirt that has to be removed to lighten them up. I won't do anything like that again. That size machine will push them or roll them, but that is about it.

Ceders up to about 15 inches are quick and easy. Walnut is about the same.

I would recommend a larger machine for a 48" oak. Better yet, use the 5 ton machine for the smaller ones and grind the big ones. By the time the remains rot and create a sink hole, just bring in a little more dirt to fill it in and call it good (unless building a driveway, road, or foundation on that location).

Best Regards.

12-12-2007, 12:16 PM
I had to remove a very old live oak some years back, and let me tell you - it does not matter what size machine you have it takes time and technique. I had a 490 john deere at the time - which is a 15 ton machine and it took the better part of two days of digging around the tree - and then we needed a 650 dozer to push the bottom up while I was simultaneously pulling the top of the tree stab to even get it on its side - this root system was probably 14' tall when we finally got it over - we did it - but man what a job. - It burned for the better part of a month before it was small enough to manage to load on a truck for removal. Get the biggest machine you have in your budget and take your time with it.

12-12-2007, 04:52 PM
Your right, it can be done with a small machine. But sometimes you just need to stop the stupidity, and get the right machine for the job. I will never pay someone for 2 days to dig out 1 stump. The mini's arround here are $70 hr. That is $980 for 1 stump. A 200 size is $100-120 HR, and they can have it done in a hour, and yes they probably have a min. but it will still be cheeper.

12-12-2007, 06:31 PM
I'd get a bigger machine. I find 30" stumps are about all my 12,000# machine will move. Once you get it loose, it could be as big as machine, and it takes quite an effort to get it out of the hole, and rolled to another spot. I had some 48-60" fir stumps that were imbedded with boulders, I brought in a D-8 with a stump splitter (back into stump with a ram). Some of the chunks we got even AFTER breaking were bigger than the 12 yd dump box, and was all the 200 size ex could do to move them.

At some point the stump gets too big to move with a reasonable sized ex. Leverage is key, and you need to use the bucket roll rather than the arms to pry the stumps loose, BUT.. you could easily make a hole bigger than the ex can reach into; then leverage is lost, (roots spread very far on a 48" stump)

12-12-2007, 09:52 PM
I have taken out stumps that were ten feet wide at the base with my 12K machine. Sometimes I may have to use the 465 and the excavator to move them. The issue is sometimes you cant get a bigger machine where the stump is. It helps to shed as much weight and size as possible with the excavator.