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Old 03-20-2009, 05:28 PM   #1
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


We just had some trees removed and the stumps ground down. Now we have a big pile of sawdust around where the trees were. We were told to let it sit for about a month to a month and a half, let it compact and get level to the ground. And then put some topsoil over that and plant grass. Has anyone used this method with good results?
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:03 PM   #2
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


I wouldn't follow that advice! The sawdust will decompose and you will be left with hole that will have to filled.
The sawdust should have been removed when they ground the stump.
Fill it with a suitable soil that won't sink down and seed it with grass seed!
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Old 03-21-2009, 02:02 PM   #3
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


Wildie,

Thanks for saving us grief and time down the road. After having many trees and stumps removed, it would have saved us a lot of time just to keep that sawdust in place, but we want to do the right thing. So we'll commence tomorrow removing all that sawdust.
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Old 03-21-2009, 04:48 PM   #4
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


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Originally Posted by proofer View Post
Wildie,

Thanks for saving us grief and time down the road. After having many trees and stumps removed, it would have saved us a lot of time just to keep that sawdust in place, but we want to do the right thing. So we'll commence tomorrow removing all that sawdust.
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Old 03-21-2009, 08:17 PM   #5
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


Just wondering how much you call "Now we have a big pile of sawdust." A couple of pickup loads, dumptruck,?

Do you plan on doing any other landscaping? If you spread it over the lawn, will you have several inches deep, 1/4 to 1/2 inch?

A very light amount won't hurt if you scatter it out, but I think that maybe you have too much for that. If you have room to store it, work in a couple of pounds of nitrogen per pickup load and let it break down. By next fall, this will make a great planting amendment just in time for fall planting. Which, by the way, is the best time for planting.
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Old 03-25-2009, 05:50 AM   #6
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


We have 13 trees' worth of sawdust piles. After hearing that it makes for a good mulch, we just put all that sawdust around trees that we have in a patch of brush in the very back of our yard (this brush we don't do anything with---it's a great place for deer, squirrels, and birds to gather---we have a couple of salt and apple blocks back there).
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:28 PM   #7
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


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After hearing that it makes for a good mulch, we just put all that sawdust around trees that we have in a patch of brush in the very back of our yard
Excellent use of that material! Not too thick, and make sure not to pile it against the tree bark. Make like a little doughnut around the trunk. Someone may comment that using sawdust like this takes away nutrients or that it has to "go through a heat" first. Not as a mulch. Yes as a soil amendment. So, until it ages, don't use it incorporated into the soil, just on top.

Send some pics!
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Old 03-25-2009, 08:47 PM   #8
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


I currently run an urban forestry operation for a major east coast city. What we do is make sure we grind to a foot below ground level, remove the saw dust and back fill with top soil. You can imediately plant ove the top and most stumps are gone in a year or two. Compost that saw dust and spread it around in a year or two and it will be a dark rich soil like material. But you need to compost it with other materials. Leave a pile of saw dust out in the open and you have the biggest mess you ever saw. No pun intended.

My two cents.
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Old 03-25-2009, 09:32 PM   #9
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


I had a maple tree stump ground down, used some of the chippings as mulch but since it's not stained like real mulch, it turned silver/gray and didn't look nice at all. I'd just dump it somewhere.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:53 PM   #10
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


FWIW-
Compost is a mixture of brown and green, approx 2:1, organic material which has decomposed. It is not a pile of sawdust left sitting for several months or a year or two.

"Leave a pile of saw dust out in the open and you have the biggest mess you ever saw."

I've never seen that, could you be more specific please?

1. I have kept a couple of pickup loads from fall to spring without problem.
2. We have a local sawmill (actually 2, one is a sawmill at lumber yard and the other is an operation that grinds whole trees, used pallets, etc into several different products) that has piles several years old and I have never seen any problems there.
3. I used to deer hunt on some forestry land and an old sawdust pile was one of my favorite "stands." Didn't have to climb and it sure was warm down in there. Not messy in there at all.
4. A couple of years ago we cleared about five acres behind our landscaping shop. A forester hauled out the timber and we got someone to grind everything else in a tub grinder. Now there is a pile about a little higher than a front end loader, wide enough to drive the tractor on, and about 100 yards long. It has some soil off of the stumps in there and stays a little wetter than most piles, but...
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:03 PM   #11
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


I dump everything in my garden area
Sawdust, ashes from the fireplace, leaves - some raked, some lawnmower mulched, & grass cuttings

I never turn it over & in 4 years its a deep brown dirt
I just keep adding more stuff here & there
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:24 PM   #12
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


bag it up and sell it as natural cat litter.

seriously, pine is an excellent odor and liquid absorber. I buy a natural pine litter for my cat. it's awesome!

Last edited by 53buick; 03-27-2009 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 03-27-2009, 04:47 PM   #13
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


My experience with saw dust piles left in the open and not composted is they go anerobic, stink and become habitat for various diseases, primarily fungal, and vermin such as mice and rats. That's why the saw mills try to get rid of the huge piles they have. That's also why I said to compost them and downunder has the ratios correct; he actually seems like a knowledgable guy! Now after three or four years, or maybe more if you're in zone 5, they'll settle down even if you don't mulch them and just be another pile of stuff in the woods. You can mulch with sawdust but you need to be very careful because it is uniformily small particles whihc can lock together and actually become hydrophobic or shed water. It's not mulch which by it's nature has lots of porisity. Oh, if your pile is big enough, whihc varies by species and moisture content, you can get spontaneous combustion whcih, in and of itself, can be an interesting experience.

How'd I do downunder?
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Old 03-28-2009, 03:52 PM   #14
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


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Oh, if your pile is big enough, whihc varies by species and moisture content, you can get spontaneous combustion whcih, in and of itself, can be an interesting experience.
Interesting that you should note that!

One time when I was on the tractor on top of my big pile, seems like about this time last year when the pile was about four months old, I reached way down in there with the backhoe dipper, pulled up about a couple of feet and, POOF, steam came up in my face! Now, back to your comment. That was my first thought! Where is "exit stage left?"

"they go anerobic, stink and... "

Maybe those piles were ground really fine. I was thinking more of coarser material which doesn't do that. I have seen piles of leaves do this lots of time. The leaves mat together and do just exactly what you described.

"How'd I do downunder?"
Just fine, sir.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:59 PM   #15
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Leftover sawdust from stump removal


We cut down six trees last year (another one this spring). Grinding the stump mixed a lot of topsoil in with the wood chips. Every time it rained for a month, I raked up an inch or two of the chipped wood [One wheelbarrow full at a time was quick and easy]. The rain washed soil away from the top layer of chips each time making raking it up fairly easy.

Then I dumped the chips in parts of my yard that get really muddy or get high traffic from the dogs.

Also, keeping more of the soil in place made it so I didn't have to add that much topsoil to get a level surface in the end.

BTW: I left one pile of wood chips intact from a VERY rotted Catalpa in the back of the yard. This we designated an "Authorized Dog Digging Spot". My three dogs worked the chips into the soil very nicely - but this left a fairly large crater. When my smaller dog gets really deep into the hole I can only see her tail wagging with joy.
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