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When I was about 15, my father punished me for something-or-other by requiring me to spend as much of my summer as it took to remove the double row of yews along our 40' driveway with whatever hand tools we had in the garage.

Pound for pound, yews are the toughest, most intractable stumps I've come across to date.

I don't remember how long it took or even what I did to deserve it, but I remember missing out on a lot of fun that summer.

At the time, I had a wealth of brute strength and ignorance. These days I would just write the check. There is a prudence in relying on whatever you have in abundance first.

If your sister-in-law has a hard-headed teenager, that might be the cheap, effective route.

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However there was a recent article in JLC about a guy that used a readily available explosive system to blast rock from a construction site. It looked like a lot of fun.

It's never a bad idea to consider explosive options.

And yes, yews.....the morons landscaping solution.

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During an expansion here years ago I had a tree contractor take out 17 trees to make room for an addition. Asked about stump removal in another area he priced them at 10 per, at my guess of 25. I walked around with a paint marker and hit them all, but kept losing count when I tallied.

A husband/wife team showed up on a Sat AM early in a brand new Jeep with a brand new trailer holding a brand new chipper with a full curved plexi-chip guard. It was 95 degrees that day and they worked for most of the day, leaving a wealth of mulch piles. After I got done cleaning up the next day, I counted 31 stumps, but the contractor never knew it. I know the couple was just glad to survive the job. I doubt they had a very close count either.

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Your tree stump dilemma brings back a bad/yet pleasant memory. Living in Florida we always worry about windstorms and trees. Well the inevitable happened and a large oak in my front yard broke apart and fell on my roof. Luckily no structural damage but the branches poked about seven holes in the roof deck.

During the storm I was on the roof with a chain saw, wife on the ground with a flashlight while I cut and removed branches and covered the roof to minimize water damage.

Well, what to do about the stump and palmetto bushes that surrounded the tree? We cut the tree stump off at the ground and cleared the palmetto fronds. And spent the next several weekends washing away the soils to get to the roots. Worked with axes, hatchets, and hand saws. Gave up. Turned to kerosene and beer.

Neighbors would come by with beer and lawn chairs. Each weekend, we would burn a gallon of kerosene, drink beer, watch the fire and shoot the breeze. Too much moisture in the roots and palmetto stumps. After several weekends the thrill of the fire went away.

Stump grinder to the rescue. Made easy work. No real memories though!


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Denray, that's a beast of a stump you have there.

Recently removed a large cherry tree in my front yard.

Numerous days of digging, pickax, and splitting maul.

Dig out around 2'+ around the base of the stump and start hacking up the roots. It's very labor intensive but if you are looking for cheap this method is essentially free. My tree was around 2' dia and the hole ended up being 4-5' feet wide and a 4'+ depth.

From your picture I would say that's definitely a multi weekend project.



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Removing stumps can be therapeutic. Leads to greater stamina, lower blood pressure, well adjusted character, etc. Just take all those hands tools and add a healthy dose of patience. You'd be surprised what you can do. My last one was a 30 - 36 incher, created a cavity 9' across and 28 inches deep. About 15, 20 hours total.


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  • 6 months later...

Kurt's comment sums it all up. There is no cheap and easy way to get rid of that stump. It's going to cost you time or money, or both.

That said, I've used a sawzall to cut things down to ground level. From there, a 2" hole saw into the top to create some holes. Let it rot for a while, pour diesel fuel into the holes and burn it.

It works, but you won't get rid of the stump overnight. You'll probably have to reapply diesel and burn several times.

My point is, there is no on the cheap stump removal. One pays with their wallet, their time, or their ass.

Regardless, one pays. Having spent most of my life paying with the latter two and understanding the actual economic therein, I was making a simple plea for sanity.

Advice one doesn't want to hear is sometimes the best.

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