Stumping, meaning the removal of stumps, doesn’t have a special season. It seems to fit well between planting and harvest times, especially if the targeted stumps can be located in the underbrush that cannot be mowed and grows accordingly. The most common and least favorite stump in the Bluecircle is the Black Locust. Although most are less than 1o inches across and some have been cut nearly flush, they are remnants of substantial groves that were “slashed and burned” 5 years ago. In most cases life remains in these clustered stumps and only regular mowing prevents another revival of this invasive tree.
So benign neglect of these stumps to await decay and resolution won’t work. About a year ago Charlie stumped with his Bobcat, a small track-excavator, yielding a modest pile of smaller stumps and a battlefield of roots, clumps and divots. He didn’t offer to come back for a second afternoon, and I didn’t invite him. Either a different approach, or heavier equipment, was in order.
Farming – always a challenging and even a dangerous occupation. An Ohio neighbor of mine lost his grandfather to stumping in the 50’s, apparently when an explosive intended to lift a stump malfunctioned. We crossed this approach off the list and rented the largest available backhoe. This began well enough until a hydraulic line ruptured an hour into the job. Your farmer got thoroughly spattered with fluid while trying to identify the leaking hose, but by mid-afternoon the ‘hoe was back at work.
On into the evening our neighbor Geeorge, an experienced operator from his years in utility construction, dug and pulled, and dug again at the field of stumps. Twenty stumps were piled at day’s end, with probably that number left for another day (or more) of stumping.