Joe vs the Stump

Stumps are not the most scintillating of garden topics, but I've spent a lot of time online recently looking for people who are similarly stump afflicted as we are here at Wild Estate and I find them quite fascinating. You would think that having your trunk and all your leaves chopped off would kill you if you were a tree, but no, they continue to live and grow and sprout despite major amputations. So bear with me.

Stumps have been a bit of an issue at ours, where trees have been chopped down for whatever reason many years ago, but their toes have been left clinging to the ground, right where I want to garden. 

Remember how we cleared out all that jasmine from Shirley's garden, to make way for edible gardens? I uncovered a whopping great cherry tree stump (above) which had been sprouting prolifically among all the weeds. It was holding on for dear life, and had put out huge roots so it looked kind of like an octopus. It was right in the way of where I want to put a wee path into the garden. It had to go. 

Joe is getting to be an old hand at digging up stumps, we have had several along the fence line we share with our neighbours, and right where we want to plant a hedge. They were devils to dig up, but Joe whittled them down to twigs, with a little help from a team of labourers we paid in beer. But this stump was staunch, it was tough. It sent out new leaves defiantly. 

We did think about getting a stump grinder in, but none of the hire shops in Wellington had one, so axe, prying pole and brute force it was. 

Step one. Sharpen your axe. Hack the roots off the main trunk. 

Step two. Remove shirt. 

Step three. Dig around the trunk loosening any soil and roots as you go. 

Step four. Removing a stump is a little like pulling a tooth out when you're a kid: once it gets wobbly in the hole you can just get underneath the trunk with your prying pole and chop any roots that cling. You might hear them snap, like we did. 

Step five. Stand triumphantly, if a little knackeredly, over the stump you have just conquered. 

Have you ever had to remove a stump? How did you do it? 

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