Epsom salt into tree stump

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Has anyone removed a tree stump by drilling epsom salt into it? I heard that doing so will fertilize the soil around. Is this correct? I have a stump close to a couple of my fruit trees, and rather than having it rob the area of moisture thought I could fertilize the soil instead.
 
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Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) works better to remove stumps. It changes the wood in the stump into cellulose which makes for much easier burning and decomposing. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is used to help in nutrient absorption and in chlorophyll production in plants. It also can be used to remove stumps but it takes a lot longer than saltpeter does. Epsom salts dries out the stump by removing the moisture and allowing the stump to rot faster. Epsom salts adds magnesium and sulfur to the soil while saltpeter adds potassium and nitrogen. The stump removers on the market usually are potassium nitrate based. The way I remove stumps is to cut them to ground level and then drill a bunch of 1/2 holes in them. Then fill up the holes with saltpeter. Refill the holes about every 1 or 2 weeks. After about 2 months you will notice that the wood is spongy, turning soft. When this happens fill up the holes with diesel fuel. Do this 2 or 3 times. After the stump has absorbed the diesel set it on fire. It won't flame up and burn it will just smoulder. Depending on the size of the stump and its root system it could smoulder underground for days.
 
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Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) works better to remove stumps. It changes the wood in the stump into cellulose which makes for much easier burning and decomposing. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is used to help in nutrient absorption and in chlorophyll production in plants. It also can be used to remove stumps but it takes a lot longer than saltpeter does. Epsom salts dries out the stump by removing the moisture and allowing the stump to rot faster. Epsom salts adds magnesium and sulfur to the soil while saltpeter adds potassium and nitrogen. The stump removers on the market usually are potassium nitrate based. The way I remove stumps is to cut them to ground level and then drill a bunch of 1/2 holes in them. Then fill up the holes with saltpeter. Refill the holes about every 1 or 2 weeks. After about 2 months you will notice that the wood is spongy, turning soft. When this happens fill up the holes with diesel fuel. Do this 2 or 3 times. After the stump has absorbed the diesel set it on fire. It won't flame up and burn it will just smoulder. Depending on the size of the stump and its root system it could smoulder underground for days.
Thanks for the response. I wouldn't want to burn it or poison it due to it being close to my other trees. I'm good with waiting it out for it to decompose. Would adding either saltpeter or epsom salt be harmful to the surrounding trees, or helpful? Is there anything I should look for when purchasing either or is the household stuff what you use?
 
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Thanks for the response. I wouldn't want to burn it or poison it due to it being close to my other trees. I'm good with waiting it out for it to decompose. Would adding either saltpeter or epsom salt be harmful to the surrounding trees, or helpful? Is there anything I should look for when purchasing either or is the household stuff what you use?
Neither of the products will harm your other trees as you are only using it on the stump. Even if you spread it around it would not affect your other trees. Waiting for a tree stump to decompose by itself will take years and years. Using epsom salts will take repeated applications and a long time. If you use saltpeter it will be finished within 2 years, probably, depending on the variety of tree it is and its size. If you are not going to use the saltpeter or epsom salts and burn the stump just rent a stump grinder, grind it down to below ground level and fill in the slight depression in the soil that you have made. The only time I would burn a stump and its roots or use saltpeter is when I am going to plant something where the stump is. Otherwise I just cut it to ground level or maybe slightly deeper and forget about it. If you do decide to burn the stump, this will not in any way affect your other trees nearby. It will not flame up and make a bonfire or anything even close.
 
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You might need to remove a stump in order to clear space for planting, but I wouldn't be concerned about a dead stump 'robbing moisture'. I prefer the use of a stump grinder when a stump must be reduced. I wouldn't burn the stump, especially with diesel.

If you can leave the stump in place, do so. It will slowly break down providing organic matter to the area for years. There is even a technique called Hügelkultur that tries to simulate this benefit by burying wood, though putting the organic matter on the surface is fine too.
 
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You might need to remove a stump in order to clear space for planting, but I wouldn't be concerned about a dead stump 'robbing moisture'. I prefer the use of a stump grinder when a stump must be reduced. I wouldn't burn the stump, especially with diesel.

If you can leave the stump in place, do so. It will slowly break down providing organic matter to the area for years. There is even a technique called Hügelkultur that tries to simulate this benefit by burying wood, though putting the organic matter on the surface is fine too.
A little more directions when "burning a stump with diesel". You only fill the drilled holes with diesel 1 or 2 times after the stump has become spongy. Maybe a quart quart depending on how many hole are drilled This is absorbed down into the roots and not spread out into the soil. In fact diesel after a period of time becomes a soil nutrient especially when followed by the use of carbohydrates (molasses) but not in this case. When set on fire or charcoal briquettes placed on top of the stump, which has now turned into a spongy cellulose material, the stump does not make a fire, it just smokes and smoulders. I do agree however that the use of a stump grinder is the first choice if one is not going to plant on the affected area. It can become rather a problem when trying to dig through roots with a pick, shovel and Sawsall if you plan on planting anything in that spot.
 
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Neither of the products will harm your other trees as you are only using it on the stump. Even if you spread it around it would not affect your other trees. Waiting for a tree stump to decompose by itself will take years and years. Using epsom salts will take repeated applications and a long time. If you use saltpeter it will be finished within 2 years, probably, depending on the variety of tree it is and its size. If you are not going to use the saltpeter or epsom salts and burn the stump just rent a stump grinder, grind it down to below ground level and fill in the slight depression in the soil that you have made. The only time I would burn a stump and its roots or use saltpeter is when I am going to plant something where the stump is. Otherwise I just cut it to ground level or maybe slightly deeper and forget about it. If you do decide to burn the stump, this will not in any way affect your other trees nearby. It will not flame up and make a bonfire or anything even close.
I'm finding 8-10 weeks for the epsom salt. Is that not correct? My concern is that I'll grind my foot off with the stump grinder.
 
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I'm finding 8-10 weeks for the epsom salt. Is that not correct? My concern is that I'll grind my foot off with the stump grinder.
Once you cut it down it will probably be completely dead in 2 months. It depends on what type of tree it is. Oaks are different from conifers and conifers are different than junipers and so on. But it will take much longer for decomposition. A stump grinder is easy to use and your feet are feet away from the business end. It is sort of like a lawn mower and you haven't mowed your toes off yet have you? But the cheapest and possibly easiest way is to just dig a little dirt from around the stump and then use a chainsaw to cut it off a little below ground level and then fill in the little depression you have made.

 
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I also am a bit surprised at the idea of the stump robbing the trees of moisture, when it had rotted a bit I would expect it more to act as a reservoir. My concern with having a stump near trees I wanted would be with infections such as honey fungus. Burning it out sounds like a good way of dealing with that risk, even what's left will have had its exposed ends heat treated.
 
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You might need to remove a stump in order to clear space for planting, but I wouldn't be concerned about a dead stump 'robbing moisture'. I prefer the use of a stump grinder when a stump must be reduced. I wouldn't burn the stump, especially with diesel.

If you can leave the stump in place, do so. It will slowly break down providing organic matter to the area for years. There is even a technique called Hügelkultur that tries to simulate this benefit by burying wood, though putting the organic matter on the surface is fine too.
I read somewhere that the roots of a stump are still active and allow the stump to survive, but it's the internet and could be inaccurate. Would it be better to accelerate the decaying process (ie with epsom salt or potassium nitrate) rather than let it decay over such a long period of time?
 
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A stump might still be alive. if so, it will resprout new growth eventually. It's not the end of the world if it does, you simply cut back the new growth again. Burying or covering a stump will reduce the likelihood of resprouting and may accelerate decay.

When it is possible, I'm happy to let a stump decompose naturally, but if it becomes a grievance for any reason, it can be removed by any of various mechanical and/or chemical means.

I lean towards the use of mechanical means such as a stump grinder, as I don't like to make a chemical 'hotspot' in my garden with saltpeter (potassium nitrate), epsom salt (magnesium sulphate), potassium hydroxide, acetic acid, etc.
However such chemicals are used often, and presumably the land will recover, or mostly so.
 
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I read somewhere that the roots of a stump are still active and allow the stump to survive, but it's the internet and could be inaccurate. Would it be better to accelerate the decaying process (ie with epsom salt or potassium nitrate) rather than let it decay over such a long period of time?
It depends on the tree. For instance, if you cut Ashe Juniper (Juniperus Ashei) down, the stump and roots die. On a Live Oak, the tree will come back from the stump and in most cases the surrounding area as well with almost impossible to get rid of sprouts. This is why folks use Stump and Vine Killer or diesel on many types of trees when they cut them down. The decaying process is also dependant on the type of tree it is. A hardwood stump such as oak will last for many years while a tree like a Sycamore or Ash will decompose on their own within just a few years. In you case if the stump or roots are not sending up sprouts/seedlings don't worry about it. And if you don't like the looks of the stump just cut it down to ground level and forget it was ever there.
 
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In 'The hidden life of trees' it describes discovering a circle of moss covered stumps in the forest and finding they were living wood. It was the stump of a tree which had fallen and rotted away many years before, but was being maintained by root connections to its offspring that were growing around it. An extreme case, but it is a fascinating book, apparently trees connect via fungal mycelium which invade the roots and carry chemical and electrical messages between the trees.
 
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In 'The hidden life of trees' it describes discovering a circle of moss covered stumps in the forest and finding they were living wood. It was the stump of a tree which had fallen and rotted away many years before, but was being maintained by root connections to its offspring that were growing around it. An extreme case, but it is a fascinating book, apparently trees connect via fungal mycelium which invade the roots and carry chemical and electrical messages between the trees.
There is another another thread on the Forums that discusses turning a stump into a planter. The concept is simple; you bore a hole in the center, down into the soil, fill it with potting soil and plant it. Basically, you grind half of it away and keep the rest. Of course, with time, many stumps naturally become 'planters', especially in moist, forested regions. In northern California, one often encounters mycorrhizal shrubs, such as Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) or Red Huckleberry (V. parviflorum) growing from the center of half-rotted stumps, snags, and fallen logs. Needless to say, the effect is most enchanting.
 
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I've been reading this thread about stumps with interest. I have a couple which need to be removed. The pictures below are fungus that appeared this winter around the roots of a Rowan stump.

047 Honey Fungus.JPG


048.JPG


049.JPG


I also have a Sycamore stump and although it is buried it re-shoots so will need dealing with too. It was felled because the roots are to close to the pipes for my septic tanks. In that position it wouldn't be safe to use a grinder, so chemicals will have to be used.
 

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