I'm looking for the best way to get rid of tree stumps. I have so many on my property that digging them out by hand is almost unreasonable, and I can't get a truck into the back to pull them out.
I've looked at this question, and grinding would probably work well but I'm looking for a less expensive option (it costs about $300 a day to rent a grinder around here). Does anyone have experience with burning out tree stumps?
Fire is a great idea. I highly recommend it. I had a stump in my yard a few years ago and a friend lit a small fire on top (enough to burn for an hour or so) and just left it. The fire burned out the stump and all the roots which subsequently collapsed. There was a bit of a hole to be filled, but it was gone within 48 hours and about 20 minutes of light labour. No digging. No special equipment.
Obviously there are dangers to lighting fires in your yard so take resonable precautions. Also don't do this if the stump is above gas mains...
Fire is super underrated for stump removal! Other people will give answers like, "spend 15 hours digging it out" or "spend hundreds of dollars" - bad ideas. Burn it!
I initially tried gasoline (bad idea.) Was shocked at the initial flame when I lit it. Other than that, it just burned for 15 min and didn't do anything.
What did work was charcoal from my grill. After making dinner on the grill, I'd put the still hot charcoals on the stump. Did that three times and it ate away most all of the stump. Cheap and effective!
You can go to Home Depot and rent an easy to use tree stump grinder for $70 for 4 hours...trust me this is the way to go. It'll be gone in no time with no burning or digging. Afterwards you have free mulch that you can recycle. Good luck!
If you leave the stump to dry out it will be easier to burn. The amount and type of sap will also determine your success. Stumps can take days of burning before the fire burns out, so make sure you put some rope or something around it to avoid injury.
My favorite (but not in too much hurry) method is a simple pile of manure completely covering the stump. It provides nitrogen, but perhaps more importantly also a damp environment to promote rotting. Most stumps are well-broken down within 2-3 years via this method. If feeling some slight sense of urgency I'll pickaxe them (breaking up the partially rotted bits and exposing the un-rotted parts) and add fresh manure every 6 months or so.
You can pull them out with a car jack. You need to secure a chain to the jack and the stump and have a thick board for the jack to sit on. I've heard of this to take out fence posts. I have never tried either, but it makes sense theoretically.
This worked well for me. First DON'T use Gas. Diesel or Kerosene much better with higher flash point. Now I used a 1" diameter auger bit in my drill and made some core holes about 4 inches and about 14 inches down (my auger bit is 18"). Fill the holes with diesel and cork them. wait a couple days and fill them again. Come back after another couple of days and you light your "candle wick" stump. Usually took 24 hours to burn out.
If you have deer in your yard... Drill holes in stump as deep and as large as possible. Fill holes with table salt and water in with warm water. Put salt lick (block) on stump. Wait for deer to find it. Continue adding granular salt to stump and dissolving it with warm water. Wait a little longer until they are frequent visitors and enjoying the salt lick. Remove the salt block. Deer will "discover" salty stump and decide it is as tasty as the salt block AND that it adds fiber to their diet. Continue to apply salt and water into stump ( or dissolve salt and make brine water...). Adding some molasses anywhere along the way to the water/brine mixtures involved will make it both sweet and salty. If you successfully recruit a deer herd, you'll be surprised that (with a bit of patience and a little motivation) deer hooves are great stump grinders). At some point it may be necessary to fill the hole with soil and that will work only if the deer are not finding much salt in the hole. Move salt block to next stump and repeat process, the herd will figure it out!