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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How to stop stumps from growing back, organically!

How to Stop a Stump from Growing Back, Organically.  Tutorial on using Epsom Salts by Lavende&Lemonade




We were thrilled to move into a house that had an orange tree in the backyard!  Unfortunately the former owners had left it ungroomed for years.  The result - lots of baby trees were growing under the original and competing for livelihood.

We'd cut down the baby trees a few months ago, but they were persistently sprouting new shoots.  As much fun as sawing branches is...it was time for a more permanent approach.




We try to garden as cleanly as possible (hello happy bees, bye bye herbacides).  Especially when it comes to our fruit and vegetable gardening!  The fact that the babies are growing right next to a tree we love (and eat from!) meant we needed to be extra careful in order to protect the Mama tree's health.



How to Stop a Stump from Growing Back, Organically.  Tutorial on using Epsom Salts by Lavende&Lemonade
Baby trees with their persistent shoots
This time around, we cut the branches all the way to the ground, giving us single stump surfaces.  Sawing is a great arm workout, by the way...


How to Stop a Stump from Growing Back, Organically.  Tutorial on using Epsom Salts by Lavende&LemonadeHow to Stop a Stump from Growing Back, Organically.  Tutorial on using Epsom Salts by Lavende&Lemonade


Now for the fun part...Drilling!  Using a large drill bit, drill a series of holes throughout the stump. The larger drill bits allow for more epsom salts to enter the trunk.
Drill as deeply as possible, evenly spacing the holes across the full surface of the trunk.  

How to Stop a Stump from Growing Back, Organically.  Tutorial on using Epsom Salts by Lavende&Lemonade How to Stop a Stump from Growing Back, Organically.  Tutorial on using Epsom Salts by Lavende&Lemonade

Once the holes are drilled, cover the stump with 100% Epsom Salt.  It is available from most drugstores, this box came from the 99 Cent Store - such a deal!  


How to Stop a Stump from Growing Back, Organically.  Tutorial on using Epsom Salts by Lavende&LemonadeBe sure to carefully fill each hole with Epsom Salt.  I used a small stick to press the salts deep into each hole.  


Then sprinkle more salts onto the top of the stump, forming a mound. Its ok if some of the salts fall into the soil, as they will actually improve the Magnesium and Sulfur contents which help photosynthesis.  2 birds with one stone, as they say...


The Epsom Salt will absorb water from the stump, eventually causing it to decompose. This is a longer process than with herbicide, but is much better for the garden and soil health.  


As the salts absorb humidity, they shrink down and disappear.  Every few weeks, and after a rain storm, you'll need to refresh the Epsom Salt.  Keep pressing it into the holes and covering the surface, and after a few weeks the stump will turn a dark brown/black color.  This is good, as it is a sign of decomposition and that the Epsom Salts are working their magic!


I'll post updates of the removal project from time to time so you can see how it's coming along!



How to Stop a Stump from Growing Back, Organically.  Tutorial on using Epsom Salts by Lavende&Lemonade

UPDATE:  Great news, it has been a complete success!  More details about the process and outcome here.




4 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing. Going to try this. I have a Mulberry (much larger than your stump) stump next to a driveway. I imagine the bigger the stump the longer the time to decompose but seems a good way to do it to save the flying critters.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi DeMarie, thanks for your note! Mine turned out beautifully, how did it work on your large mulberry?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the method and the update. I will do it in my garden

    ReplyDelete

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