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Old 04-14-2011, 11:49 AM   #1
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New (To me) house with some lawn problems


My wife and I recently bought a small brick home with about 2.5 acres. Much of that is yard I will need to keep cut regularly.

My problems are these:

1. I've got large roots from oak trees protruding from the ground randomly that hinder what would be my regular riding path (on my mower). I need a solution to get these roots back below ground level so I can ride these areas. Weed eating wouldn't be an option as it would add a lot of time to my job of cutting the grass.

2. The former owner was a big gardener. He had fruit bushes, vines, and trees placed everywhere on the property at some time or another. There are literally 75-100 old 'stumps' or bases of bushes that were cut down God only knows how long ago. When they were cut down the stumps were left sticking out of the ground about 5-8inches with numerous volunteers all around the perimeter of the core 'stump'. If it were just a few I'd just dig them up or cut them up with an axe and pick axe, but there are tons of these all around the property and random locations. Is there a tool or tools I could buy or rent to remove all of these in one full Saturday?

Sorry to be so longwinded, had to make sure I explained it fully. Thanks in advance for any help.

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Old 04-14-2011, 04:03 PM   #2
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Your choices as far as the tree roots are to cut the surface ones off. This should not hurt an established tree. But call your local arborist to make sure I am not talking through my hat. They will have a list of folk that know what they are doing if you decide you don't want to do this yourself. It is going to be a lot of work and most with a shovel and a small chain or hand saw. Just a thought to think about? Do you need the area with the tree roots to be lawn or could you give yourself over to Mother Nature and put a nice bed of compatible and pleasant ground cover you didn't have to mow in place? That would blend with the lawn and look really nice?

As for the stumps? Far as I know, nobody has come up with better ways of dealing with them than digging them out, grinding them down from the surface, treating/killing/decompsoing them with chemicals, or yanking them out. If you find a source for a one weekend rental tool for all you describe. Keep the source to yourself, and go into business with the inventor.

If you can dig up enough around all of them to get a chain secured, you can probably rent a tractor and an operator if you are not comfortable driving one, for a weekend and get rid of many or most.

HERE ME NOW BROTHER! YOU MUST CALL YOUR LOCAL UTILITY LOCATING SERVICE BEFORE YOU DO THIS IF THERE IS ANY DANGER THOSE ROOTS ARE WRAPPED AROUND BURIED GAS, WATER, CABLE, ELECTRIC, ETC. LINES! The service is free. Not using it could cost you dearly.


Last edited by user1007; 04-14-2011 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Your choices as far as the tree roots are to cut the surface ones off. This should not hurt an established tree. But call your local arborist to make sure I am not talking through my hat. They will have a list of folk that know what they are doing if you decide you don't want to do this yourself. It is going to be a lot of work and most with a shovel and a small chain or hand saw. Just a thought to think about? Do you need the area with the tree roots to be lawn or could you give yourself over to Mother Nature and put a nice bed of compatible and pleasant ground cover you didn't have to mow in place? That would blend with the lawn and look really nice?

As for the stumps? Far as I know, nobody has come up with better ways of dealing with them than digging them out, grinding them down from the surface, treating/killing/decompsoing them with chemicals, or yanking them out. If you find a source for a one weekend rental tool for all you describe. Keep the source to yourself, and go into business with the inventor.

If you can dig up enough around all of them to get a chain secured, you can probably rent a tractor and an operator if you are not comfortable driving one, for a weekend and get rid of many or most.

HERE ME NOW BROTHER! YOU MUST CALL YOUR LOCAL UTILITY LOCATING SERVICE BEFORE YOU DO THIS IF THERE IS ANY DANGER THOSE ROOTS ARE WRAPPED AROUND BURIED GAS, WATER, CABLE, ELECTRIC, ETC. LINES! The service is free. Not using it could cost you dearly.
I figured that ol manuel (manual labor) was going to be my only friend in this. I'm plenty comfortable cutting up the surface roots from the oaks, just didn't know if it was the best solution or not. I have thought about planting some things around some of the big surface roots, but not all of them. It would be too much.

As for the other smaller stumps left over from bushes, I'll just have to divide my yard into sections I suppose and knock them out a little at a time. Get an order of importance together and roll with it.

Thanks for all of your advice.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:24 AM   #4
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New (To me) house with some lawn problems


The guys with big Bobcats in my area charge $50/hr, 4 hr minimum. They pulled a bunch of similar stumps. Saved me hours and hours of digging, not to mention my back.

I thought about renting one, or grinding, but the few dollars saved wouldn't be worth it (for me). Using a Bobcat isn't rocket science, but there is a learning curve. I spoke to a few guys who rented one for the weekend and ended up spending half the time to learn how to use it correctly, and still ended up paying someone to come out.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:45 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by JoeLena View Post
The guys with big Bobcats in my area charge $50/hr, 4 hr minimum. They pulled a bunch of similar stumps. Saved me hours and hours of digging, not to mention my back.

I thought about renting one, or grinding, but the few dollars saved wouldn't be worth it (for me). Using a Bobcat isn't rocket science, but there is a learning curve. I spoke to a few guys who rented one for the weekend and ended up spending half the time to learn how to use it correctly, and still ended up paying someone to come out.
Dead on advice. I know this is a DIY site and some purists complain when recommendations are made to use pros but it just makes sense some of the time.

No need for one anymore since I moved to the City but where I was in Central Illinois, no rental company would release one of their bobcats unless someone on the receiving end could demonstrate they knew how to use it. And wow, if you can get a bobcat with operator for something like $50 an hour? I don't remember but I don't think I could rent one for that.

Hey, if you find someone good and at whatever fair price? Keep them for the day or weekend and fix any grade problems you might have at the same time.

Last edited by user1007; 04-15-2011 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 04-16-2011, 03:26 AM   #6
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New (To me) house with some lawn problems


Be very careful about cutting surface roots to any tree you want to save. You can and probably will severely damage the tree. It would be better to backfill the area lightly and plant grass or other ground cover. I say lightly as you really do not mant to bury the roots too deep either.
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:52 AM   #7
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New (To me) house with some lawn problems


"I say lightly as you really do not mant to bury the roots too deep either."
Second that; how deep you can put it is important as too much will smother the tree roots. I think the arborist involvement is important here. Cheaper than cutting it down if it dies.

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