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Loving Your Little Landscape

I have never been a natural gardener. For years, I struggled to keep basic houseplants alive, only to kill them at the first opportunity. It was difficult and stressful to buy a home with a yard, but I knew that I might be able to learn what I was doing wrong and correct the problem. To start off, I focused heavily on the lawn, and tried hard to keep it trimmed and well-maintained. Next, I cleaned up the flowerbeds. It was a lot of work, but I knew that it would pay off in the end. When I was done, my front yard was gorgeous, and guess what--it even stayed alive. This blog is all about loving your little landscape.

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Loving Your Little Landscape

How to Remove Tree Stumps Without Breaking a Sweat

by Charlotte White

Removing stumps is slow, labor intensive, and often infuriating work. Stump removal by hand involves a variety of tools, such as mattocks and axes. It also involved many hours, and a lot of hard work. Stump-grinders are can reduce the labor involved, but they're often expensive to own or operate. They're also known for being rather unkind to your yard. Just maneuvering a stump-grinder into position often leaves deep tire tracks on your lawn. It can also bust sprinkler heads, if you aren't careful. 

Fortunately there's more than one way to solve this without resorting to backbreaking labor! When it comes to the two simplest and easiest methods, you have a choice: the slow way, or the fast way. Here's a look at two methods of getting rid of tree stumps. 

The Fast Route 

The quicker method involves burning the stump away. It is still effortless, but it takes an entire day, and it requires someone present the entire time. 

Start by drilling several vertical holes in the center of the stump. But instead of adding potassium-nitrate, arrange kindling above it. Then get a small bonfire going with your fire-starting method of choice. Note that you will need to be present for the entire process for safety. You don't want to start a huge fire after all!

Add larger and larger bits of fuel to it as necessary until the fire is well established. Some tending and coaxing every now and then may be necessary. As the day progresses, the fire will burn the stump away, smoldering deep into the roots. Extinguish the fire once the stump is below the surface, and cover it with dirt. Done!

The Slow Route

The slow way involves rotting out the stump. While the process is much faster than it would usually take, it still takes six months to a year to complete.

Start by drilling several vertical holes in the center of the stump. Make them deep, and spaced about about an inch apart. Make sure they're relatively debris-free before moving on.

Once you've finished drilling out the holes, scoop some potassium-nitrate into them. You can find potassium-nitrate at your local home-improvement store. It's usually sold as a stump-remover. If you can't get a hold of it for any reason, you can also substitute rock-salt.

Once you've filled the holes with potassium-nitrate, pour hot water into each hole. This will dissolve their contents and aid absorption into the stump.

All that's left to do now is clean up, and check up on it once or twice a month. You will want to top off the potassium-nitrate and water as it gets absorbed over the months. Once the stump no longer reaches the surface, cover it with dirt to complete the process.

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