EASTERN WHITE PINE STUMP CUT FLUSH TO GRADE WHAT IS DECOMPOSITION TIME?

Asked March 24, 2018, 8:23 AM EDT

I HAVE A FEW EASTERN WHITE PINE (2" TO 5" DIA.) TREES THAT HAVE BEEN CUT FLUSH WITH THE GROUND. I CAN NOT EASILY GET A GRINDER TO THE AREA AND A BACKHOE IS OUT OF THE QUESTION. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR THESE STUMPS TO DECOMPOSE UNDERSTANDING THAT SOME OF THE ROOT SYSTEM WILL STILL BE IN THE GROUND? WHAT IS RECOMMENDED TO ACCELERATE THE PROCESS? HOW LONG WILL DECOMPOSITION TAKE WITH AND WITHOUT ACCELERATION TECHNIQUES?

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3 Responses

It's impossible to say how long decomposition will take because that will be determined by weather, soil composition, soil moisture, etc. The roots will decompose before the larger volume of the stump does.

However, you can speed up the process by making the stump surface uneven so that it hold moisture that the decomposing organisms need. Usually this is done by making cross hatch grooves with a saw into the surface of the stump.
Keep the stumps moist by covering them with a bit of soil, leaf litter or mulch. This introduces decomposing organisms and holds in moisture.
The process of decomposition uses nitrogen. A light sprinkling of a nitrogen source (fertilizer) may be slightly helpful.
Do not waste your money purchasing a product to hasten decomposition. The the necessary organisms are in the soil.

ECN

I have seen decomposition charts from Uni. Of Georgia and arborist comments on same out of other states but nothing from Maryland. Because species, size of tree stump and geographic location are important and can be constants what I am looking for is answers pertaining to Eastern White Pine trees, located in Frederick County MD, sized 2” to 3” Dia. With these constants, what is the decomposition rate.
Ken

with these con

We asked the University of Maryland's Extension Forester for further information. There are no equivalent decomposition charts available from the University of Maryland. He said there are some ways to accelerate the decomposition of a tree stump, but first you should remove the soil around the stump and cut it as low as you can with a chainsaw. The article in the link that follows talks about drilling holes in the remaining stump and filling with N fertilizer and covering with some soils. You are basically composting the stump. It may take a few years but it is hard to calculate hard and fast times. There is a longer growing season in Georgia so it will probably decompose faster down south compared to Maryland.


Since you are talking about trees that are only 2-3 inches in diameter, you may be able to clear away the soil and cut with a chainsaw below the dirt line and then just cover it up.

ckc