Cutting back tree stump to make room for fence base slab?

9 Aug 2006
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United Kingdom
A silver birch in the neighbour's garden had grown too big and was threatening our house. It had also expanded over the years and bowed and broken the concrete base slab beneath the fence.

The neighbour had it cut down and now I've pulled out the broken slab and am trying to find a way of cutting away enough of the remaining stump so that the replacement slab will sit level and at the right height. This has meant excavating down about 12" below gound level to expose the stump where it flares out to the roots. I've had some success in cutting down vertically into it with my 14" chainsaw but don't have room to get in sideways at a low enough depth to cut off the bit I've separated from the main stump. On top of this there are stones everywhere mixed up with the stump and I've ruined one chain. Can always re-sharpen it but a 15 minute sharpening session is wiped out in a second when the chain hits another stone or some grit.

My neighbour says I should just drop in the slab and then cut the fence panel down but I don't want to bodge the job.

Any suggestions? Is a stump-grinder the sensible answer? How deep will a stump grinder go below ground level?
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I did a flowering cherry many years ago and used the chain saw on the top of the stump to hollow it out and fill with "stump remover" Just get as low as you can, the "tap root" can go down several feet and can really take some moving.
How long does stump remover take to work though? I want to get the fence panel back in!

I'm thinking that I might be able to get the chainsaw in at an angle from above and cut at least a V groove for the panel.
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'Stump remover' really isn't what it sounds like it is just stump killer really. That will just kill it and stop regrowth. It will still take 10 years or more to rot away.

Cutting stumps is no fun and with a chainsaw can be very frustrating as you have found. Also potentially dangerous as the bar tip can catch easily.

A Stump grinder is large and relatively hard to man handle so if the fence is down already then it will be fine but if the fence is still in place you may struggle. They will take a stump down easily 1 foot below the surface. Stumps actually start to diverge into roots at this depth and there is very little solid centre.

Once done if you intend paving or concrete over the top you will have to put a re-inforced concrete cap over it because it will sink as the remainder rots.
Been thinking about this as I don't want to pay £50 for a stump-grinder. I'm going to dig out a lot more soil from around the stump then borrow the neighbour's jetwash and clean all the soil and stones off it, then have another go with the poor old chainsaw.
Get your angle grinder out- and 'SCRIBE' the concrete base panel to the bit of the tree stump which sticks up. :)
I did exactly the same 2 months ago. :)

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