Stump Grinding

So we had this situation in our backyard:  when we moved into our house, there was a large maple growing in the backyard at the fenced edge of the property.  The tree was 40 feet tall, but it was a scrubby tree that should have been removed years ago, but problem was nobody did.  So we had this tall and scrubby tree.  Over time, and in my zealous pursuit of expanding my gardening space, I managed to disturb the tree roots enough that I killed the tree.  So then in time we had a scrubby maple that was also dead, and now it was a hazard if it were to come down in a wind storm.  Solution:  Our nice neighbors came over and carefully cut down the tree in sections for us.  We cut up the wood for firewood, hauled off yards of limbs and tree roots that we dug up over time.  Problem:  We still continue to this day to have the tree stump in place.  Right after the tree was cut down to ground level, I made a compost pile on top of it, to try to rot it out.  After 4-5 years, the edges of the stump have rotted a little, but the center is still pretty solid.

This last weekend, we removed the compost pile, which had also turned into a brush pile, and exposed the stump.  My thought was to try to get rid of the stump.  So I called a nice man named Joe of Joe’s Stumping Grinding service, which is located in Washougal.  (You can reach Joe at the ( local area code ) 837-1300 if you need stumps removed.)  Joe came out to our house today to look at the stump and assess the situation.  Here were the problems:

  • no driveway or road access to get the stump grinder to the location
  • stump is up on a hill
  • The only way to the stump is via tight garden paths
  • the stump has a fenceline with a fence running through part of it

After looking at it, it was decided that there was no practical way to remove this particular stump.  I asked about burning it, but Joe said that even if we had the stump completely removed from the ground, it would take a very long time to burn it because it is full of compacted soil.  Chemicals, which are highly toxic and not good to use around pets, children, or organic vegetables, are not really effective in breaking down the stump either.  The smallest stump grinder requires three men to lift it into position, and that is if you can get it up flights of stairs and narrow pathways.  Joe said to try to work it into the landscape, perhaps by placing rocks on top and putting a container of flowers or garden art on top.  Or by placing large rocks around it and filling the indentation with soil to create a place to plant.

Sometimes you have to have an objective person come out and take a look at the garden to give you a realistic answer to a question you have about it.  And now my wheels are turning, and I’m coming up with other ideas for the space than I had originally planned.

I wanted to grow a row of arborvitae shrubs along the fenceline in order to provide more privacy, which is needed in that area of the property.  I think I still can, but the shrubs will now have to be placed around the stump.  However, it could be really cool to place some garden art in between the shrubs, using the shrubs as a partial backdrop, which will help set off the art.

Now we have to remove a large rhodedendron from this fenceline to another location on the property, which unfortunately will be a big job because I suspect it will have a very large rootball, but then I will have more room for the arborvitae where I want them positioned, so it has to get done.

The garden never ends, and there are always new possibilities, aren’t there?

Leave a comment if you like–I always enjoy hearing from you!



  1. April 23, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    […] Here is the original post: Stump Grinding « Minerva's Garden Blog […]

  2. August 25, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Indeed a very nice post. I do lot of netsurfing for finding the key information on trees and forests. I just came across your blog and has subscribed with a wish that you will be posting good posts like this over the coming days. Thank You.

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