Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting Rid of An Ash Tree Stump

So, we brought that tree down last year. I'm actually having some trouble finding an image of the garden with it in, and considering the number of pictures I've taken, that seems bizarre. However, this entry has an image of the garden under snow, with the tree right in the middle.

Here's the view from earlier this year, with the stump visible in the midst of other work. It's barely visible, really, having been chopped off within about six inches of ground level.

So, after it was chopped down, we excavated around it, looking to unearth it, chop off the roots, and basically dig it up. This proved harder than expected, because there were big stones all around it - it seems it grew on the remnants of a dry-stone wall.

Eventually, we got it to a stage where we'd cleared all around it, leaving a big hole with the stump in the middle.

The trouble was that we weren't able to unearth it. It just kept going down, and down, and down. And my chainsaw was basically bouncing off it. Having tried to get the chain sharpened, and finding that it was too worn to do so, I arranged for someone to come in with a chainsaw and hack the thing out of there.

However, even for a professional with an industrial chainsaw, it wouldn't budge. He got an 8-inch slice off the top, which dropped it to below ground level, but below that, it was considerably harder than was in any way reasonable for an ash. The chainsaw was basically grinding at it, raising a lot of smoke, and getting nowhere.

So we settled for boring a lot of holes in the top, so that it can rot down. We could have put some petrol in, fired it, and repeated over a few months, gradually breaking it down, but frankly, a petrol-fuelled fire in the back yard did not appeal.

So we buried it. I brought out over the frame from an old raised bed from last year, filled in around the stump with the piles of soil we'd dug out - and about three-quarters of the compost-heap under where I'll be planting some squash.

And here's how it looks now, with no tree and no stump. I'm very glad to see the back of it, and while we won't be able to plant root vegetables in that bed for a while yet, it'll do nicely for strawberries or the like.


Anonymous said...

If you un-buried it, you could drill a bunch of holes in it and stick dowels innoculated with mushroom spawn in them, if such are available to you. I'm not sure what grows well on ash, but I'm sure something does- and a stump is a great place to grow mushrooms! Plus, the growth breaks down the stump faster, so it's a win-win. Just a thought! and, like I said, I don't know what you ahve available in that area.

Drew Shiel said...

Sadly, if it's left with any of it exposed, it'll start to grow again. Ash is incredibly persistent; even in the time we spent digging around it, it had a go at growing about half a dozen new sprouts.