Return to the Landscape Design Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

Posted by KendraSchmidt none (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 16, 12 at 9:44

There are a few tree stumps that I would like to kill and remove. I would like to know how to remove the tree stump using high-nitrogen fertilizer?

I've seen on a few sites that this is possible, but I don't even know what high-nitrogen fertilizer options would be. I've read that cow manure would be one example, but I'm not sure?

I really want to use the fertilizer option, but can anyone here instruct me on how this works? Also, how long does this take, on average to finally kill and rot the tree so that it can be removed from the ground? Or does it simply turn to ash? (I know this depends on the size of the tree and probably the circumference too; it's a fairly average tree, nothing like an oak or anything.)

For the record, I don't want to use Roundup in or around my home, so that's not an option. Grinding the tree is not an option either, nor is hiring someone to do it. I also cannot purchase salpeter (Potassium Nitrate, I think) in my area, because it is now forbidden for whatever reasons. And I definitely have no intention of using oil/petrol or dynamite to remove the stump! Oh, and the product they sell in stores that you put on the stump (I think it's made with saltpeter or is simply saltpeter, not sure), is not at all available here.

And last, I don't want to compost on top of the stump or put grass on top of the stump. I've spent some time looking into options, and the fertilizer option seems to be the best.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

"I've seen on a few sites that this is possible [Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer.]

Your question is a little unclear... are you trying to kill the trees with with an overdose of N? That's possible, but not practical as it would require a whole lot of N and (inadvertently) killing many things in the vicinity of the tree. (How you think that's better than a small amount of biodegradable Roundup is highly questionable.) If the trees are already dead and you seek information about only how to decompose the stump with N, then maybe you should scour the sources who claim it's possible for the directions on how to do it. I don't personally believe it is possible or it would by now be common knowledge. Maybe it's possible to use N in a certain way to shorten the stump decomposition time from 10 years to 8 years, (though I doubt that, too) ... but what great gain is that?

Why don't you explain why you want to decompose stumps rapidly in the context of your objectives? Maybe there's a better way to approach your goal.


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

Thank you Yardvaark. I want to kill the tree and remove the stump. However, we want to get it done as soon as possible, both killing the stump to make sure the tree doesn't return, and removing the stump.

All of the options that I mentioned earlier, including the Roundup, are options that we cannot do for whatever reasons - they vary according to the option. Cow manure seemed the safest option.

If there are any options such as the use of the cow manure/fertilizer that are available, or even options outside of the options that I mentioned in my original post, I'd be open to suggestions.

I've even been told that garlic cloves inserted into the tree will work, but I am having trouble finding more information on it. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can provide.


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

I should've provided the link as well, to the nitrogen stump removal posting I read that sparked my initial question:

Here is a link that might be useful: Removing Tree Stumps with High-Nitrogen Fertilizer


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

Kendra, the method I've used is to drill a bunch of holes in the stump. I use a 3/4 or 1" spade bit. Then I drizzle a high nitrogen fertilizer in the holes, moisten it, then cover with soil - although using some composted manure would be better, I think. You'll get results, but they won't be quick ones. Think it depends a lot on whether these are hard or soft woods. Currently hoping for results on a holly.

If this is fairly close to the ground, after doing this just throw mulch/wood chips to cover it. Good luck. And glad you don't want to resort to some of the toxic remedies available.


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

Thanks Rosie, is this your first time using this method? Have you seen results thus far?

I'm wondering if it will take years to break down? Months even? Someone mentioned that cow manure might not be high enough in nitrogen and that poultry manure might be better. Is it safe to plant food crops in the ground after this method?


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

What kind of a tree and what's the situation/setting?

The resprouting issue varies a bit with species, and whether you are able to stay on top of it (as in, is this your yard or a vacation property where you are rarely there?) matters.

Are you having the tree cut down or are you trying to kill it standing?? There is just enough yet not enough information to be sure of not giving bad advice.

Karin L


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

My sneaking suspicion is that this is one of those questions that is assuming some rather fundamental violation of a law of nature. Where things just don't work the way the OP assumes.

For example, it may take several decades for a typical tree stump to decay, depending on the type of wood, the climate, and other variables. Decreasing that time from 20 to 10 years is speeding it up considerably - but it is still going to take a long time. If the tree isn't even dead yet, then it will have to be killed off before this process even starts. How you would begin to kill off a tree using nothing but fertilizer is beyond my comprehension. The closest I can get is essentially a salt overdose. That's not cow manure, but straight urea, and even then I'd be skeptical about killing a reasonably mature tree.

In other words - Reality Bites.


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

Mad's right regarding certain realities. To be philosophically one with nature is a good thing - but nature does things on nature's schedule.

If one must do something (short of cutting the tree down as close to the ground as humanly possible drilling the leftovers full of holes and piling stuff on top) there is always the copper penny approach... make sure the pennies are dated before 1982. :-)


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

Years, Kendra. Lots and lots of years.


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 16, 12 at 18:55

This post has a mysterious tone to it, as though you want to be sneaky about killing the tree. Is this tree on your property, or your neighbor's? (just being mischievous)


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

Food crops should be fine. Only prob I see is interference from remaining root system of the tree.
If you want to stay organic, use Milorganite. Keeping the drilled then filled stump damp will accelerate the rotting, but it isn't a quick process.

Uncovered part of my holly stump, see nothing happening yet. Did it about a month ago. Hoping that after a year it will be soft enough to rogue out with a mattock to below ground level.

HTH, Rosie


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

Thank you Rosie, I read elsewhere too that the fertilizer method could take as much as five years. I would love to simply grind it down (though this costs a lot of money that I cannot afford) and simply plant next to it, but the roots are obstructing in the space next to the tree.

When they grind down a tree, is it true that typically grind it down a foot below ground?


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

I tried a drill and decay solution on a stump at my property because it was directly over a gas line (forget what tyoe of tree, but most likely a holly). After two years of ZERO change I got tired of looking at it and very carefully dug it out by hand.

It's accepted that best practice for grinding a stump is to go down a minimum of 12". The reality is that you should probably specify that's what you're after.


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

I'm not sure in what world cow manure is considered a "high nitrogen" fertilizer. Put simply, any fertilizer derived from a living source is going to carry a relatively low nutrient load (including nitrogen) compared to a chemical based fertilizer. Cow manure is somehwere in the .25-1.0% nitrogen range. Of the animal-based manures, cow manure is the lowest nitrogen source.

A high nitrogen fertilizer would be something like ammonium nitrate or urea (25-45%). One drills down into the stump and then compacts the fertilizer into the holes. Both the stump and the fertilizer should be kept moist to speed decomposition but as others have indicated, this is not a rapid process. Depending on the type and size of the stump, 3-5 years, perhaps more.

Manual removal is possible but requires some physical effort - and the lower/smaller the stump the better.

FWIW, there are a lot of old wives' tales out there about dealing with trees and their removal. High nitrogen fertilizer will not kill a tree (although it could certainly shock it). Neither will a copper penny or driving a nail into one. Neither will spraying the tree with RoundUp or similar herbicide although again, that could do some foliar damage for sure. Your best plan for tree removal is with a saw.


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

I'm with Kim. I have heard of many money saving schemes but piling cow s hit on a tree to kill it sounds a bit strange. I think there is a strong possibility that this is someone else's tree that has an accidental death planned for it.


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

I don't understand "the roots are obstructing in the space next to the tree." I would love to see a photo of that - can you post one? Grinding the stump is not expensive relative to the cutting down.

We just dug around where a willow stump was left at least 20 years ago, before we bought the house. The stump was still evident underground though it has disappeared up above.

Karin L


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

1 - Cut down tree, leaving as little as possible above ground

2 - Use a spade bit (wood bit) and drill a lot of holes in the stump, as deep as possible. Space them from center to edge, a 4-6 inches apart.

3 - Fill the holes with any high-nitrogen fertilizer. Ammonium nitrate is readily available.

4 - Fill the holes with water to dissolve the fertilizer.

5 - repeat steps 3 and 4 every few months until the wood is "punky" and can be hacked out of the hole.

This will take a few months to a few years, depending on the size and type of tree.

========
I prefer dynamite.


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

Might the answer depend on where KS lives? And if the answer is out in rural areas, how close are the neighbors? And are there male members in her household?

What is high in nitrogen, free, mild, and fairly harmless (but is yucky to many)?

See where I'm going with this.

But even if you live in a populated area, how trainable is your dog?


 o
RE: Removing a Tree Stump with HIgh-Nitrogen Fertilizer?

robert, what a brilliant idea, training dog to help with tree stump removal! I've known many dogs trained to use only one area to do their business, but never quite so specific.

Use urine here all the time. As soon as I can get the twelve wheat straw bales up to where I want to use them to help my piss poor soil, will liberally apply to hasten decomp.

Rosie


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Landscape Design Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here