Stump Removal Question

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Old 07-05-14, 10:54 AM
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Question Stump Removal Question

I lost 6 evergreens this past winter/spring. In the midwest, we had a very hot, dry summer followed by a very cold, dry winter. Lots of evergreens in this area died as a result.

Anyway, I'm cutting them down, and want to plant new ones. I think I've decided to chemically remove the stumps with potassium nitrate, as it will be reasonably cheap (and cost is a factor for me).

My question: will the potassium nitrate used to rot a stump have any negative impact on a tree planted afterward?

-boster
 
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Old 07-05-14, 02:39 PM
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Yes, and it will take long time to chemically remove a stump. Grinding is the only reasonable method.
 
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Old 07-05-14, 03:55 PM
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Grinding will remove the top part but a excavator can get the bulk of the roots. Chemically removing a stump is sorta relying on Mother Nature biologically which works on a different time scale than us humans... think S L O W . If you want the stumps gone quickly grind or dig them up is the way to go. If you're cheap just plant nearby and let them rot naturally.
 
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Old 07-05-14, 06:02 PM
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Or cut the trees off 5' from the ground and hire someone with a dozer to push them over and out of the ground.
 
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Old 07-05-14, 10:01 PM
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Thank you all for your quick responses.

All of these are within 4 feet of my house, so I don't think I can get a dozer in there without risk of damage to the house. And because of the placement near the house, it doesn't work to plant nearby. I'd like to avoid the cost of renting a grinder, but may have to do it. Grinding isn't out of the question.

A little more information: They're all evergreens, so (if I understand correctly) shallow root systems. They're relatively small; the thickest of these trunks is about 8" in diameter.

I don't mind waiting several weeks. I'm okay with starting the chemical rot now, and planting new trees in the fall.

To help me decide whether to grind or use chemicals: Will using potassium nitrate present a problem for trees which are planted in the resulting holes?

-boster
 
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Old 07-06-14, 03:54 AM
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Why would you want to plant trees in the existing holes??? If they are 4' from your foundation you can count on problems down the road.
 
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Old 07-06-14, 04:25 AM
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Chandlers correct. People don't seem to realize that small trees planted close to a house might look nice at first, but a few years later and you have all sorts of problems...extreme gutter cleaning, roof mold growth, possible sewer pipe problems, heaving of concrete, bird dropping, squirrel problems, possible wind damage, and so on to name a few. Plant small decorative trees at least twenty feet away from a structure and don't be afraid to trim yearly. Most trees will have a root system that is at least one and a half times larger than the crown.

As far as removing the existing fir trees. If they are transplants then yes the root system will be shallow and can be pulled out. But if they are originals or planted at a very young age they will have a tap root that will go straight down and be as deep and strong as the trunk you can see. Again grinding is the only option. Using chemicals will take not just weeks but perhaps years to disintegrate a stump.
 
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Old 07-06-14, 04:47 AM
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I'm leaning more towards using an excavator to remove the stumps. It will remove the below ground roots allowing you to replant immediately. A stump grinder will remove the stump down to a depth of maybe a foot or 18" for a large machine. Below that you still have hard roots so when you try to dig a hole to replant you'll have to go shallow and your new plants will be hitting the old roots as they try to send their roots down.

Chemicals are basically potassium nitrate, fertilizer. You are putting a high nitrogen fertilizer on the stump which speeds up natural decay. Faster than Mother Nature on her own but it will take years especially in your cold climate as biological action will dramatically slow during winter. So, you're talking years for the stumps to decay. You can speed the process up some by burning after the wood has had a few months to absorb the potassium nitrate but I would not recommend it so close to your home.
 
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Old 07-06-14, 04:54 AM
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Previous owner planted a small decorative crap apple tree about 4' from house. It was beginning to hit the house and all the other problems. Cut it down and ground out stump. That was 5 years ago. I still get shoots and mushrooms growing every spring in that same spot.
 
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Old 07-06-14, 05:04 AM
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Thank you all for your answers. I appreciate it.
 
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Old 07-06-14, 06:42 AM
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Previous owner planted a small decorative crap apple tree about 4' from house.
Gee, I just read my post. That was a typo, but it really hits the mark!
 
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Old 07-06-14, 09:59 AM
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It's not a problem with evergreens but I poison deciduous trees when i want them gone. Immediately after cutting I paint the stump several times with glyphosate herbicide concentrate syrup to kill the roots. If you don't do it quite often you get suckers popping up for years..
 
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Old 07-06-14, 04:23 PM
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In the last 3 days I've cut down 6 evergreens ... and they had already died. I don't think volunteers will be volunteering.

But I will have to cut down a crap apple tree (a nod to Norm201) before long. I've got a friend whose family has been in the nursery business for years. He tells me that crab apples often live about 20 years and then start dying slow, painful deaths, a limb at a time. That's what mine is doing. Today I cut off a major, dead limb and now it's down to roughly 1/4 of the crown it had 5 years ago. In a few weeks I expect I'll get rid of the rest of it. I'm glad to know about the glyphosate herbicide concentrate syrup to kill the roots.

I've gotten resounding advice not to replace the dead trees which were close to my house's foundation--even though they be small. I'm having a hard time coming to grips with that advice, though I do value my house's foundation. I really loved those trees before they died, and (with two of the in particular) how they framed the entrance to our home. I suppose I'll adjust.

My body aches. I'm going to watch TV.

-boster
 
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Old 07-06-14, 06:54 PM
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My crap apple tree is slightly crook-it and at the edge of my driveway apron. It is dying also. But because it is on the grass section between the street and sidewalk I'm not allowed to dispose of it. Even though the original owner planted it against town ordinances. When I asked town streets dept to look at it they told me it wasn't dead enough. I keep hoping someone will drive into it.
 
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Old 07-06-14, 07:20 PM
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Ah, that ugly place where government and crab apple trees come together.
 
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Old 07-07-14, 04:04 AM
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I'm not allowed to dispose of it
Wow makes me glad I live in a rural area one more reason for me to dislike city life
 
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Old 07-07-14, 10:52 AM
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Only slightly off topic... a couple weeks ago I was watching a Sunday morning DIY landscaping show. A professional was giving the homeowner a one day yard crash. He planted a 6-8' tall magnolia about 4 feet from the house and explains that the tree will get to 80' tall. I about threw my coffee cup at the TV. He knowingly planted a large tree right next to the house just because it looked pretty now.
 
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Old 07-07-14, 11:10 AM
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Which goes to prove that just because the name is preceded or followed by professional does not mean they are.
 
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Old 07-07-14, 12:46 PM
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Me thinks all the tradesmen on those diy shows are professionals ..... professional actors
 
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Old 07-07-14, 03:52 PM
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So where's the boundary between okay to put close to the house and not okay to put next to the house?

Maybe your answer is that no tree is okay next to the house. But some bushes are really no more than small trees, no? And I assume you're okay with bushes up against the house. Are there any small trees you'd approve next to a house?

-boster
 
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Old 07-07-14, 05:40 PM
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I consider the size of the tree when fully grown, it's lifespan and your desire and ability to "redecorate". If you like changing things every 5 or 10 years then planting something that can grow larger is an option provided you actually rip it out before it can do damage. Otherwise look at the plant's maximum size before putting it in the ground. Sometimes you need to spend more up front to buy a slow growing plant that's already larger in size.

At my office I planted some faster growing things. In a few years they quickly went from cheap 1 gallon plants to something that looked nice. Then it became a chore of heavy pruning at least once a year to keep them in check. Now that some base plants are established I'm removing the fast growers one by one and replacing them with more appropriate slow growers.
 
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Old 07-08-14, 03:32 AM
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Maybe your answer is that no tree is okay next to the house. But some bushes are really no more than small trees, no? And I assume you're okay with bushes up against the house. Are there any small trees you'd approve next to a house?
That's my feelings and I'm sticking to it. Bushes get trimmed as a matter of course. But even they can get too big and need to taken out at some point. Earlier I said 20 feet is the minimum to plant a tree from a house.

Those Home andGarden type pictures that you see are owned by people who live and breath gardening and are constantly trimming those trees and bushes.
 
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Old 07-08-14, 03:38 AM
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Repeating what the others have said - you need to be mindful of how the root structure of any plant is going to interact with the foundation! As a painter, I'll add that how close the bushes are to the wall will have a direct impact on the life of the paint job. If there isn't sufficient air flow or sunlight the wall will stay damp making conditions favorable for mildew and early paint failure. The problem with many landscape architects is they give little/no thought as to how their plantings will affect the building long term.
 
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