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Digging up Shrubs Stumps/Roots

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by mlong30, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. mlong30

    mlong30 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    Hi All,

    I just cut down two shrubs to the stumps. I would like to dig up the stumps and roots, and plant some new ones in the spring. The stump is about 10yrs old, and the shrub was about 3feet tall, and the base on the surface is about 2feet by 2feet.

    I tried digging the stumps/roots with a shovel, and I believe it going to take for ever. Is there something I can put on the stump to kill it, and the root system to make it easier to pull out of the ground? Or is there a machine I rent to do this?

    I saw my neighbor, burn his, but I'm thinking there is a better way.


  2. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,894

    mlong - there are stump killer products on the market to keep new growth from sprouting, but this will not make it immediately easier to remove the stump and roots, only time and decay will help with that and I am assuming you want this stuff out of the ground now. If these were only shrubs 3 feet tall, using a good sharp spade (not a sand shovel like most people use) and elbow grease shouldn't take all that long to remove them. Otherwise, you can hire someone to use a stump grinder to grind out the stump and most of the roots. This is not a cheap option but is quick and effective.
  3. DCE

    DCE LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 311

    Elbow grease is right. I've dug many small stumps/roots out in the past using a mattock. Just dig out from around the root ball to remove enough dirt then you can either wrestle it out of the ground or use an axe or the mattock to bust the stump up into sections. Aside from renting a stump cutter or hiring someone with one, there's no other way but good ol' fashioned elbow grease. Good luck!
  4. nmurph

    nmurph LawnSite Senior Member
    from ga
    Posts: 668

    matt, do you have a lawn tractor, truck, suv or a come-a-long. here is what i do. using a chain, put a little pressure and then take an ax and chop the roots that are visible. put a little more pressure and chop.......repeat, repeat,............you can remove stumps suprisingly quickly with this technique. it doesn't take a lot of effort or power. the tension will show you which roots to cut next.
  5. mlong30

    mlong30 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    These are some pictures of what it looks like at the moment. My builder didn't plant these correctly because the roots are spreading to the surface, and they are just dying like the rest of the tree's I had to replace. The soil is rock hard clay, so I wasn't sure if there is anything I can put on it to kill the root system, just in case I don't pull everything up.



  6. Nosmo

    Nosmo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    Use a mattock and dig a circle around the stump. Use an axe to cut through the roots. Use a come-along with a chain around those stubs and it should come out of there.

  7. ballstar

    ballstar Banned
    Posts: 37

    I wouldn't go off blaming your evil builder. You just said that the roots spread along the surface, and you have all clay. That is the problem here. Not improper planting. Once you get that stump out (and don't be a sissy, just rip it out with your truck or dig it out and sweat a bit), and are ready to replant, make sure you amend the surrounding soil appropriately to prevent having to replace plants prematurely in the future.
  8. mlong30

    mlong30 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    I still disagree. My entire landscape died within a year. I have replaced all the trees my builder planted because just like my shrubs, and plants the clay didn't have enough nutrients for them to survive based on my soil test. The trees I planted are still growing after 4 years without any problems, because they were planted correctly and with nutrients added to the soil.

  9. ballstar

    ballstar Banned
    Posts: 37

    It is still not the builder's fault. It is not up to him to fertilize after installation to provide the nutrients that the soil was deficient in. That would be your responsibility. It is certainly a good thing that you have made the proper amendments, but I have planted in clay with great results with proper fertilization. From the photos shown, I see no problem with how they were planted (too deep, too shallow), and clearly they rooted in. From that point on, it is up to you!
  10. mlong30

    mlong30 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    The mattock tools would have been a good option, but I don't need to use it now. We had a good rain the last two day, which loosen the clay a little. Once I was able to get around the rocks, and put the shovel into the ground, the stump came right up first try. It was only about 1 inch deep!


    Problem Solved.

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