removing small trees

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by yardmonkey, Jul 4, 2001.

  1. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    I do a lot of cleanups where I remove small trees that have been allowed to grow next to fences. (Why do people ignore those?) Of course once a tree is more than a few inches tall it can't usually be just pulled out and once it is over a few feet it may not be practical to dig it out. So if I can't pull or dig it out, I just chop it off with loppers. Quick and easy, but the problem is that it may keep coming back. I have been painting stump and brush killer on these little stumps. Recently I think I poisoned myself a bit by just getting a few drops of this stuff on my arm. I'm more careful now, but would like to get away from using chemicals as much a possible. Tomorrow I am doing a cleanup along a fenceline to make room for a new fence and the customer has requested that I not use any chemicals. She told me that the fence guy says to just put rock salt on the stumps. So I am wondering if anyone knows anything about this. Does this work? And also, if rock salt works, why not just regular table salt. It seems like that would be more practical on really small stumps, 1 or 2 inches. As long as we're on the subject, what about larger stumps? I have heard of drilling holes into stumps and putting rock salt or saltpeter into them. What is saltpeter and where do you get that?

    Also - I just got a new tool which will greatly reduce the number of stumps I have to deal with. It is called a Weed Wrench. It is a giant lever that grabs onto a stump and allows it to just be ripped out of the ground. You can read about it here:
    The webpage has not been updated for awhile. It says they don't take credit cards but now they do. The shipping prices have changed but the prices on the tools are the same. I got the meduim size and have just had it for two days. Used it yesterday and worked pretty good on some redbud trees. Some really small pecan trees broke instead of pulling out. I'm pretty excited about this tool and may get some other sizes. The meduim is a bit large to carry on my truck all the time.

    But I'm sure I will still have stumps to deal with and would like to have any info on the use of salt, rock salt, saltpeter. Or any other methods of killing small (or larger) stumps.

    Terry Slade
  2. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    i was trying to figure out how big the trees were from your post. for fairly large bushes and hedges i just hook a big chain up to the truck and use some hosepower to get rid of em. is that a possibility or are they too big?
  3. plymouthvaliant73

    plymouthvaliant73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 167

    Salt poisons the soil and groundwater. Educate your customer that a modern weedkiller is actually safer because it eventually breaks down from light, heat, oxidation and bacterial action.
  4. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    I've done the chain (actually rope) and truck thing with some privet hedge. That was fun and successful. Those were a couple of inches in diameter. Would be interesting to see how the weed wrench would have handled them. But those were in a front yard and these are in a back yard. There are a variety of diameters and I do all kinds of removals, so I'm interested in learning about any techniques of preventing resprouting wherever I can't remove the roots.

    Someone else told me today that salt is bad for the soil. It doesn't seem like a little bit of salt on a stump would be significant for the soil or groundwater, but maybe. The poison I have been using is called stump and brush killer and I think its main ingredient is triclopyr. One of the issues with using any poison is how safe it is for the person applying it. So I wonder what the chemical options would be for poisoning stumps.


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