How Do Farmers Remove Stumps From Their Fields?

How Do Farmers Remove Stumps From Their Fields? image by Wikimedia Commons

Tree Grinding

Getting a tree stump up out of the ground on muscle power is hard work, and most farmers don't bother with it. The most thorough non-manual means of getting rid of a tree stump is to grind it. This begins by using a mattock and shovel to dig a shallow hole around the tree stump and also to remove any stones that might be lurking just under the dirt. With the hole dug around the stump, a chainsaw is brought out to trim the tree stump as far as possible, so as to minimize the work the grinder needs to do. Then the stump grinder is brought out, which reduces the stump to shavings. The shavings are then dug out and taken away, and fill dirt is used to occupy the empty space left behind.

Burning the Stump

Some farmers don't want to rent an expensive grinder but also don't want to do the manual labor either. Accordingly, they may try to get away with burning the stump. The hole is dug around the stump as normal, but the next step is to fill it with dry brush. The area around the hole should be examined and cleared of anything that might catch fire. Then gasoline is poured onto the stump and dry brush. Usually some extra fuel, such as more brush, scrap lumber or trash, needs to be added to burn the stump away. Afterwards, the hole is filled up with dirt. Note that stump burning is illegal in most areas, as it is included in prohibitions against burning trash, leaves and other debris.

Uprooting the Stump

The old-fashioned way of getting rid of a tree stump is to uproot it. This begins with digging the same hole, but this time wider and deeper. That is necessary because as many of the roots as possible will need to be cut, either with the mattock or with an ax. With many or most of the roots cut free, an iron tamping rod is wedged under the tree stump, and sheer weight, muscle power and leverage are used to uproot the stump. If enough of the roots have been cut away, or if enough men are working the iron rod, the stump should give way. Then the hole can be filled in as normal.

About this Author

Rich Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He specializes in boxing, hiking, scuba diving and food and wine. Thomas holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

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