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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / Tree removal...what technique have you used?
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WILL1E
Moderator
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 08:16
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I've come to the conclusion that there are 3 trees that i need to remove to open things up a bit at my property. 2 of them are to the left of the tractor bucket in the first photo below the other is directly above the right-most edge of the tractor bucket in the 2nd photo....regardless they are about 10" diameter.

So when i first bought the place and removed some trees, the neighbor just pushed them over with his Bobcat. Took 2-3 tries and they would start tipping and then if they needed more help he would jam the bucket under the roots and lift a bit. So i'm wondering if i could do the same with my new trattor or if i should take a different approach?

I thought about felling the tree with the cut a couple feet off the ground and then hooking a chain to the base and my truck and try yanking them out, but that doesn't feel like the best idea either.

Thoughts?





FishHog
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 08:41
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No way your truck will pull a root ball out on a tree that size. I used mine to pull out a dead juniper bush and was shocked how much it took to get it. That was harder on the truck than I thought and I won’t do that again

I just cut them down and cut the stump flush for all my trees

hueyjazz
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 09:34
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I had to clear out about 40 trees that size when I did my pole barn. No way can you push those over with a tractor. Cut them down with a chainsaw but cut stump so you leave them about four foot or one meter high.

Use tractor bucket to dig around tree to expose roots. You will likely need to chop some out with and axe. Use bucket high on stump to push it.
You may need to push on it from different angles. At times you can also rip and break some roots with bucket. It's not a slam-dunk. It will take repeated efforts but if you want stump gone this will work. But it's a lot of work. A skid-steer does a way better job and is much quicker.

I also got bolt on teeth for my tractor bucket. They improve your digging ability.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 09:39
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If you have a chance to watch anybody really pro in land-clearing and grubbing stumps take a watch for technique.
Ime:
Cut off highish, plan the drop zone into the widest between other keeper trees if you can. Use any top-side wind and the tree shape/weight to take it, fighting either is folly.
By cutting high, and an angle downward after a backside 'notch' the tree has a better chance of dropping to the ground then tipping rather than just pivoting over and getting hung up in other trees while still attached/hinged at the stump. When that happens it is harder to chain up to pull out....btdt.
By having a high stump you have leverage to get a push high up, once the roots pop you back up and get a bite on the roots and push it out. If you have a low stump you dont have the leverage so it takes horsepower And traction to grub out.
As my dad used to say,"work smarter, not harder".

paulz
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 09:58
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Dig. Haul.
stmp.jpg
stmp.jpg
root.JPG
root.JPG


ICC
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 10:32 - Edited by: ICC
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Pushing trees over before they are cut makes for the easiest stump removal in my experience. Some trees like our tall pines usually only need a good push and fall readily. Some trees with a different root system may need some digging at the base.

The lift arms that the tractor bucket is on are often not nearly as strong as the arms on a skidsteer when it comes to pushing. Just be careful. Your tractor also does not have a cage, whereas skidsteers offer operator protection in case part of the upper section of the tree decides to break off and fall stright down.

Trying to pull stumps with a truck is a good way to damage the truck.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 11:05
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Sorry but that tractor is going to be of no use to remove stumps. Front buckets arnt for digging there for scooping and dumping.

If you dont care about removing the stump just cut it down and cut flush. If you want to remove the stump get an excavator and dig around the whole tree then push it over. Removing stumps that have been cut flush is a royal pain in the ass and not something I suggest.

I have a micro excavator(3,500lbs) and removed 6-8 trees in about 7hrs..but spent 6hrs removing a single stump that was cut flush 1yr prior. I would have given up on removing it but it would be right under my cabin.

Site prep is so important and alot of people dont even think about it. Do you ever plan on having a machine that's made for digging on the property? If so leave the trees until that machine is there.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 13:06
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Pulling them over is the easiest method. That said, I have climbed 20', connected a chain to my skid steer, pointing downhill, and not budged them. Really depends on the tree, the ground and the roots.

As Brett said, if you're going to be doing site prep, digging for footings, pipes, drainage etc., a digging machine is a must. Then dig the back side of the tree to aid pulling it over.

DaveBell
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 13:24
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I use a big backhoe. You have to break all the roots.
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Shadyacres
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 14:22
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If you have a come-a-long you can use ladder to get up the tree as far as you can reach then with pressure on come-a-long you may be able to push them over with tractor. Best time is after a rain or soak ground up good with water.

scott100
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 18:28
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Trying to push them over with a tractor that doesn't have a cage is a good way to have a branch come down on you. If you don't have to remove the stumps don't go to the bother. Just cut them low. If you do want them gone, you could always rent a stump grinder and get them a few inches below grade.

scott100
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 18:36
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Or a team of oxen...

Here's an idea for you:

https://buffaloah.com/h/erieC/museum/const.html

NorthRick
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 19:32
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Quoting: Brettny
If you dont care about removing the stump just cut it down and cut flush. If you want to remove the stump get an excavator and dig around the whole tree then push it over. Removing stumps that have been cut flush is a royal pain in the ass and not something I suggest.


I got rid of a rather large flush cut stump that was going to be a constant tripping hazard by taking the rest of the tree and using it to build a fire on top of the stump.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 19:59
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I've got two stump grinders. One is a big old Vermeer tow behind dinosaur with a 4 cylinder Wisconsin I got for $1,000. I've ground probably only a half dozen stumps with it, but big 3-4' stumps. Figured by the amount of days for rentals it was a better option. And still worth 1,000 I'm sure.

The other is a Husqvarna hand held two stroke. Looks like a chainsaw only has a belt driven carbide wheel about 10" diameter Really gnaws away and surprisingly doesn't take a lot of muscle to hold it. Don't see those around much. I use it for 1-2' stumps. It was $150, also used.

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 21:22
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Having a tractor I'd be looking for a 3 point hitch backhoe attachment. I've put a lot of hours on one of those... not the same as a "real" backhoe but around your property it would be worth it's weight.

95XL883
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 21:26
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I have multiple low cut walnut stumps about 2 feet in diameter. Burning them out isn’t working. I chanced on a more fun way that worked beautifully on the first one.

Tannerite!

I used a narrow shovel to dig a narrow trench that ended under the stump. Tried two pounds at first, set it off with a 5.56 NATO round at 50 yards. This first attempt loosened the stump, breaking a couple of the roots.

So I enlarged the pocket underneath the stump a little and dug the trench a little deeper. The second time I used three pounds.

The result was to lift the stump out of the earth without throwing it.

I have been experimenting with small charges under logs with dramatic results. More specifically a one pound charge under the end of a 15” diameter by 18” long hedge log almost completely obliterated the log. So be very careful and keep at least a 50 yard distance. Increase the distance as the charge gets larger and may be more than needed to just lift the stump a little out of the ground.

IME, it is important to keep the chamber under the stump just large enough to hold the charge. We also took care to ignite the charge at its lowest point. The object is to direct as much of the blast up into the stump as possible.

Obviously this method may not be feasible if you can’t get a straight line of fire to the bottom of the charge.

Give me a minute to find and post the result picture. And it is great fun, even if it can be dangerous.

95XL883
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 21:35
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I hope these photos post. The first is from the firing point. The second is a close up. That is the bottom of the stump that was completely underground.
Walnut stump at 50 yds
Walnut stump at 50 yds
Bottom of walnut stump
Bottom of walnut stump


95XL883
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2021 21:46
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Hey, I am not a complete dinosaur, the pics posted. Next time maybe I can get the orientation right. Tannerite is great fun but keep your distance. I strongly discourage putting in any type of metal or glass container. Too large a charge and too dense of a container will result in shrapnel. Be careful. It takes a high speed bullet so you will need a center fire rifle like an AR15, a 22-250 or larger to set it off and the ability to hit bulls eyes at at least 50 yards.

Oh and despite the mfr claims that it won’t start a fire, in one of our experiments (yeah that is it, these are experiments), we set a hayfield on fire. We hustled to put that out before it got out of control.

DaveBell
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2021 03:01
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There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved through a suitable application of high explosives.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2021 05:32
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Quoting: Nobadays
Having a tractor I'd be looking for a 3 point hitch backhoe attachment. I've put a lot of hours on one of those... not the same as a "real" backhoe but around your property it would be worth it's weight.

I owned a 3pt backhoe for about 5 yrs. Didnt dig for crap as you have no down force, at least with mine I didnt. Your basically just scratching away at the ground and cant get the teeth to break through much. I ended up selling it for more than I paid for it and buying a micro ex. Way more nimble, stronger, faster and usefull. If I felt the need to buy a backhoe attachment I would just rent a mini ex when I needed it.

The only reason I own a micro ex is because I knew I needed to put two septic systems in. But down I find it so usefull I cant see selling it.

hueyjazz
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2021 09:19
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In high school had a few summers working on a dairy farm. Work was often long and brutal. I have great admiration for farmers. By far the most fun that could be had was blowing up stumps.

We could go down to the feed store and buy dynamite however I knew of no farmer that would speed his hard earn money on it. They had plenty of diesel and high nitrogen fertilizer. You would dig and pack it under stump a bit. Worked just fine and sometimes we added extra just for amusement. However I don't recommend this for rookies. Occasional rock would go flying.

silverwaterlady
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2021 11:17 - Edited by: silverwaterlady
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You didn’t mention the soil.
Is it sand, rocky?
Sure one can pull out or push over a pine tree because it grows in sandy soil. Some have shallow root systems.
It Might fall on you or you might get impaled by branches. Hospital nearby?

Burning a stump. It again depends on what your ground cover consists of.
If it’s like ours, decomposed tree matter over centuries, it’s peat moss, sand and rock. Underground fires have burned for weeks due to people that don’t know any better. Not locals. Tourists.
The fires that have burned for weeks underground have usually spread away from the campfire source. One was 15 feet away. Most people notice smoke rising out of the ground and call the volunteer fire department. My BIL and Nephew used to be the fire chief so I learned a lot about fire safety from them.

Which puts us at using a explosive. I can just see the rocks flying.

A chain saw with the proper training (not YouTube, what I’ve seen some people do on there is scary, a trusted friend that has been cutting trees for years) and safety equipment.
I’ve never seen anyone use anything else.
I’m fortunate that my Husband is very knowledgeable around chainsaws.

Every man and a lot of women up by our camp have used chainsaws their entire lives. Most everyone has a wood burning stove.
I’m going to buy a Stihl chainsaw soon. I can’t remember the model number. It’s lighter weight and easy to start. Most of the women that use chainsaws up there have that model.
I need one because I don’t want to have to ask my Husband to cut a tree down when I’m trying to clean things up or widen our road.
I’m not going to cut down anything huge. Just small to medium size trees with my Husband teaching me.

I’m writing this because I don’t want anyone to get hurt or burn their cabin and bush down.
We all need to be extremely careful at our cabins.

toyota_mdt_tech
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2021 15:47
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Cut with chainsaw, leave a high stump, this will keep you from breaking any overhead branches and falling on you.

Now work the stump loose. Once soil is looseness, push and get under it then while moving forward, a little lift on bucket. Make take several bites.

If still tough, push on stump more to loosen it, do this before soil gets dry from summer.

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2021 18:53
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Quoting: Brettny
I owned a 3pt backhoe for about 5 yrs. Didnt dig for crap as you have no down force, at least with mine I didnt.


Sorry you had a POS 3pt backhoe. The one I used wasn't that bad and I did most of the digging in rocky hardpan soils. Technique? Experience? Ran heavy equipment for nearly 25 years... Not everyone can afford $20,000 - $30,000 for an excavator but they might be able to "dig up" $3,000 - $5,000 for a decent 3pt backhoe attachment.

Just saying for digging out stumps, trenches for conduit/pipe a backhoe of any sort beats a shovel.

KelVarnsen
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2021 19:20 - Edited by: KelVarnsen
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This guy has a couple of good videos of pulling really big stumps with a small tractor. It takes a lot of pulleys though.

Pulling a Big Stump

95XL883
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2021 23:08
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Safety is really a factor of user judgement and application.

One can be seriously hurt in almost any activity.

I have never had a close call using tannerite. That is a function of proper application, distance and care.

I have two Stihl chainsaws, the small 170 and a midsize 291. I have dealt safely with kickbacks, hang ups, pinched saws, leaning trees, rotten trees and a “barberchair”. I am not an expert; I just know, generally, how to be careful. Still, I have had multiple close calls with chainsaws. Those problems have all been fatigue related. The only technique I know for that is to stop for the day.

Several chainsaw points. Always hold it so any kickback engages the safety and any recoil would miss body parts. Always wear eye and ear protection, wear good gloves, always steel toe boots. Stay rested and hydrated. Always work with a sharp chain. Keep the chain out of the dirt and gravel.

A trick with the Stihl 170 is to replace the 14” bar and narrow pico chain with a 10” bar and full chisel chain. My dealer recommended that and it really transforms a light homeowner saw into something more useful.

Despite my love of chainsaws, they are about the last thing I would recommend for stump removal. They lose effectiveness fast once dirt gets in the chain.

While I have a tractor, I don’t have the attachments which would allow stump removal. If I was in a hurry to remove my stumps, I would rent an excavator and get it done. Till then, I will keep burning and using tannerite. It is a lot more fun, and can be quite safe if done properly.

ICC
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2021 23:16
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I do really like a good stump grinder for those times it is only desired to get the stump down to ground level. Sometimes that is all one needs.

95XL883
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2021 23:36
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I am intrigued with the grinder. Do they work well on hardwoods like walnut, hedge and locust?

95XL883
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2021 23:41
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Just remembered I tried, years ago, the bore holes and pour a chemical option. It didn’t work well at all.

My dad also tried lighting about Five pounds of gunpowder on an elm stump. Nice color and sparks but didn’t do much to the stump. (So ended my plan to make some fireworks. Now that was dangerous.)

silverwaterlady
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2021 11:21
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My husband left a stump in the ground and about four feet of the tree.
He made a woodcarving out of it.
A partridge.

Any other stump removal was done with a backhoe, we just left them there until we had our buddy build us our turnaround/parking area.

BTW, I was not recommending stump removal with a chain saw. The cutting of the tree, that’s it.

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