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Removing tree stumps

I would appreciate advice on the way to remove tree stumps from the garden instead of having to dig them out or have stump grinding done. I believe there is something that you can pour into or over the stump and it will eventually "break down" in the ground.


Once a tree is cut down, the roots will eventually stop growing. If left alone, the natural process of decay will set in, helped along by natural fungus and bacteria. Depending on the size of the tree stump, the species of tree and soil conditions, this can take from one year to several years.

To accelerate the natural decay process, cover the stump with soil and compost to encourage decay fungus. Organic matter breaks down faster in a moist environment, so keep the soil damp. Add nitrogen fertiliser to encourage decay — the richer the soil, the better.

You can cover the soil with grass or a ground cover, and if happy, you can leave it at that. Otherwise, check the stump's progress in about six months time. Eventually, when rotted through, the stump should come apart easily enough with a few knocks with a hammer.

You can also drill holes into the stump and poor in Round Up. Make sure you plug up the holes. Woody Weedkiller can also be painted onto the entire stump. These chemicals kill the stump quicker than if left to die naturally — thus the rotting process can begin sooner. They don't actually assist in the decaying process, since wood decay is a natural process requiring time, bacteria and fungi.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 27, 2005