What do I do with filled-in ground stumps?
October 14, 2008 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Earlier this year, I had some trees cut down. The stumps were ground and the holes were filled back in with wood chips from the tree. This has left some ugly mounds in my yard. See here and here. What can I do with this stuff? Dig it out and replace with soil for grass seed? Plant new trees? Wait?
posted by clearlynuts to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Yes, dig it out and replace with soil and seed/sod.
posted by zeoslap at 6:30 AM on October 14, 2008

You might try raking it weekly or so for a while and see if the moundiness doesn't smooth out pretty quickly. It will break down and sink, contributing excellent nutrients into the soil, but you can turn and stir it a little bit to help it flatten out.

You can cover it over the top with some soil and seed, but you'll get a better result over time if you wait it out.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:31 AM on October 14, 2008

Thanks for posting pics. Are the stumps actually raised like I'm seeing? That could be a hazard to people in the yard, and it will keep root systems from getting established. Also in well-drained soil, it will be hard to establish grass on mounds since they remain driest.

What I'd do is get a hoe/stiff broom and clear the dirt away from the stumps, wait for the weather and the stumps to be completely dry, get a circular saw, and saw a chessboard pattern (or use a chainsaw). Then club the stump with a sledge hammer in oblique strokes to knock out the pieces. This will get you at least 2-3 inches deeper. Do this until you're sawing in the dirt, though if you're ambitious you could dig out dirt around the stump so you can saw down below grade and clear more of the stump -- but make sure the stump is dry or you'll risk seizing/kickbacking the saw.

In rural areas like where I live, the way stumps are usually handled is by burning them out with kerosene.
posted by crapmatic at 6:51 AM on October 14, 2008

I had some stumps ground out this spring. I told the tree guys that I wanted to really get the stumps out and maybe plant a tree in place of one old tree. They said they could see what they could do. I came home to find they ground them well below the grade, like two feet. I filled them with dirt and planted a garden over one them and an apple tree over the other. The garden did fine and the apple is thriving. I used the wood chips to much some plantings.
posted by bdc34 at 7:04 AM on October 14, 2008

Dig it out and replace the chips with soil. It will take years for the chips to rot into anything that you can grow plants in if you just leave them there in the holes.
posted by ssg at 7:14 AM on October 14, 2008

If you do fill them in with soil, make a slight mound; otherwise the soil leave a dip when it settles. I dug three nasty conifers from my front lawn, filled the holes in and reseeded them with grass. A few weeks later the soil had settled into dips a couple of inches deep.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:47 AM on October 14, 2008

I had a neighbor use a product which was a fungus which helped the stump rot. This site says they aren't that effective, but if worked fairly quickly (mushy in a month) for him. Possible that tree species makes a difference. Unfortunately, neighbor doesn't live there and I don't know the particular product he used.
posted by dragonsi55 at 8:41 AM on October 14, 2008

Grow mushrooms in the stumps!
posted by R343L at 10:14 AM on October 14, 2008

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