KMS Woodworks
KMS Woodworks
  • Hometalker
  • Nederland, CO

Bye Bye Stumps


Some years ago I cleared a number of trees around my home. The main driver for this was improving the "defensible space" in the event of a wild land fire. Two of these trees happened to be up near the house in the end of the drive. Last summer I began working on improving the parking area near the house with the installation of a retaining wall and a lot of fill. Before the snow flies...which is not that far ahead. I wanted to extend the wall a bit and add another step to the walk that leads to my shop.
last weekend I started with a stump "burn out" This method is a great historical way to rid one fields for planting, but I can tell you it is a long and slow process. Our little town hosts a late summer music festival and I started our burnout Saturday afternoon. It was a bit like camping but with music wafting up from town about a mile away. Six hours of continual stoking on Sat, and another 8 hours or so on Sunday reduced the stump by only 4 inches or so. I was glad to get some of the scraps burnt from the shop as well as a bit of the slash from the yard.
My little experiment showed me that stump burning is very slow and I realize that primitive people must have taken months to fabricate a "dug out canoe". With the first of two stumps "knocked down" I checked in with a local excavator who was working on a neighbors property tweaking his drive. The Mini Ex was nearby and would be easy to relocate to my place for this quick little job. The guy quoted me just $20 to pull the other stump. Well, It turns out both stumps were intertwined and it took him a bit longer...Still the $50 I finally did pay was well worth it.
To my surprise these thing were MUCH, bigger than I could have imagined. ( think iceberg with 90% hidden below the tranquil surface) I ended up having to drag the 100's of pounds worth of twisted and heavy wood with my truck to move them about after they were pulled. I have a new respect for heavy excavating equipment.
Hanging out in the drive with the "campfire" has inspired us to look into a portable outdoor fire ring. I will be simple enough to back the cars up and enjoy the newly improved space.
Starting the burn on # 1
Starting the burn on # 1
knocked down but not gone
knocked down but not gone
# 2 waiting to be removed.
# 2 waiting to be removed.
These are bigger than one would think.
These are bigger than one would think.
KMS Woodworks

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2 of 15 comments
  • Connie S
    on Jun 3, 2014

    In many places it's illegal to burn stumps, because the fire can burn underground in the roots for a very long time, and can flare up and cause wild fires and/or structure fires. In wildland firefighting, they have been known to flare up after a long wet winter.

  • Lisa House
    on Jul 5, 2015

    Leaving tree stumps near the house to rot away can lead to insects that live in rotting wood coming into the house, such as carpenter ants.

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