Stumped: simple garden job long delayed

If you looked at photos of my yard from about 20 years ago (which you can do here) you'd see a lot of black locust trees. If you look at photos from 10 years ago (which you can do here) you'd see less of them, but still quite a few. Some of them were quite large, but others were relatively small, younger trees, with trunk diameters of around 5" (12 cm). Those trees are pretty much all gone now, but in a couple of cases they're lingering: there are some stumps in my yard.

The stump from one of the smaller trees has been annoying me for years. I don't know why I've never done anything about it before, and don't know what finally made me spring into action yesterday, but that's what I did.


This is actually three small stumps close together. Besides being a trip hazard for visitors to the yard, my hose got captured by the smaller two protrusions every time I dragged it into the area (which was quite often this summer):

When I said that I'm not sure why I didn't do something about these earlier, that's not strictly true. I do know why I put it off for years: digging out stumps is not fun. Freshly cut stumps are often impossible to do anything with, other than paying someone to grind them down.

So I waited.


Now the stumps are quite rotten, and feel somewhat loose, so this is a job that I can probably tackle without too much effort. What tool to use... Axe? No, something heavier. Sledgehammer? I know, my wood-splitting maul:

It's essentially a dull axe combined with a sledgehammer, so will be perfect!

A couple of whacks and the smaller parts of the stump were really loose. Unfortunately they didn't pull right out, as they were angled down under the large living tree root next to them -- which you can't see in most of these photos.

I did get them out eventually, and although there is a fair bit of rot, they're not crumbling in my hands:

So the two hose-grabbing mini stumps are gone. (You can see the live root at the lower left corner of this image.)

Next up is the larger stump. A couple of hits with the blunt end told me that this one wouldn't easily come out in one piece, so I flipped the tool over and split the stump into three parts:

It split quite easily, and each of pieces pulled out of the ground with less effort than the previous pieces had:

Since there was now a depression (ok, a hole) right next to a living tree root -- perfect for tripping over -- I added some soil to level things out:

And that's the job done in about 15 minutes! At least ten years after this tree came down, there's finally no physical evidence of it ever having been here. My garden visitors and hose are safe now!

Sometimes the simplest garden tasks are the most rewarding. Especially those that have been on "the list" for years.


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (September 25, 2011 at 7:03 PM)  

Job well done! Anytime you feel like tackling some of the chores that have been on MY to-do list for years, just let me know and I'll send you a plane ticket :-).

Andrea  – (September 26, 2011 at 2:09 AM)  

Congratulations, now you can plant a lot more bamboo! Lol. and after a while it might also become a problem, i hope not!

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