When I announced my 5-point plan in e2's chatterbox to remove a stump from my front yard using naught but a few basic tools and my own two arms, I received only scorn in reply. "Pish and nonsense!" they replied. "You honestly plan to pit man's base cunning against the ancient elemental strength of a tree? The man has taken leave of his senses!"

I have never been one to be put off by nay-sayers, not when I attempted to extract sunbeams from cucumbers, nor when I succeeded in squeezing toothpaste back into the tube, and certainly not now. Having a 50% success rate working to boost my morale, I set to my task. My method was outlined thusly:

  1. Dig hole around stump to expose the large surface roots
  2. Cut large roots away with a hatchet
  3. My brother bought the Esquire mag with the 'digital paper' on the cover. Must go flip through it and remember why I haven't looked at Esq. in 20+ years. Later.
  4. Drill 7/8" hole through the side of the stump with a power drill and a spade bit
    (this will be the only step requiring a power tool, unless you count the most powerful tool of all — the human brain)
  5. Insert metal rebar through hole and rotate the stump in place around the taproot to break the remaining root system loose
  6. Lift and remove stump, backfill hole

maxClimb interrupted my string of comments here


I set myself to my task with gusto, sure of myself and my methods. I was under no delusions as to the difficulty of the goal set before me, this tree had spent years doing nothing but securing itself to the ground, while I had frittered away my time on other, perhaps less noble, pursuits. As such it had a substantial head-start that I would be hard-pressed to overcome. Fortunately I had a set of quality tools with which to assist my efforts and magnify my meager reserves of strength.

The digging turned out to be the hardest part. A good spade and a strong back were all that were required, but it was grueling, time-consuming work made more difficult by the very roots I was set to expose. Standard shoveling methods to which I was accustomed were complicated by the complex root system I had to dig around. I also made a substantial mistake at this juncture, and dumped the dirt too close to the hole. I would have to move my pile later, nearly doubling the effort required.

As the larger roots were exposed, I set myself to hacking away at them with my hatchet. This was easier than the digging, especially with a freshly-sharpened blade, but without a doubt the most dangerous part of the task. I had decided to take to my efforts after a recent rainfall, hopefully easing my burden by digging through soft mud rather than solid earth, and the awkward angle of the chopping combined with the slippery working conditions meant that I had to exercise extreme caution lest I amputate some extremity I may later find useful. The work went slowly, and splashed mud a considerable distance, but passed without incident. There were 8 large roots in all that needed to be cut away.

Next I drilled a large hole through the stump with my power drill (connected, of course, to a GFCI outlet on my porch for safety) and a 7/8" spade bit. Because that was the size I happened to own. Unfortunately the bit was too short to penetrate the entire stump, so I had to drill from both sides and meet in the middle. My eye and judgement were of sufficient quality that I succeded in this endeavor on my first attempt.

Finally, the culmination of my efforts was in sight. I slid the steel rebar through the hole in the stump, and was dismayed to discover that I had, as earlier mentioned, piled my dirt entirely too close to the stump. I had to shovel the pile over another three feet to clear enough room for the rebar.

This accomplished, I slid the rebar back through the hole again, checking to make sure it had clearance to rotate the stump around. My first attempt merely bent the rebar, but I was not discouraged. Setting my size 10-1/2 steel-toed boots against the rebar protruding on either side, I cracked the taproot with leverage, weight, and the most powerful muscles in the body, the legs. From there it was a simple matter of using the rebar's leverage to twist the stump around, tearing away the remaining roots, and lifting it free of the hole. Success! I had defeated nature's most tenacious champion. All that remained was to backfill the hole and clean up.

Stump (?), n. [OE. stumpe, stompe; akin to D. stomp, G. stumpf, Icel. stumpr, Dan. & Sw. stump, and perhaps also to E. stamp.]


The part of a tree or plant remaining in the earth after the stem or trunk is cut off; the stub.


The part of a limb or other body remaining after a part is amputated or destroyed; a fixed or rooted remnant; a stub; as, the stump of a leg, a finger, a tooth, or a broom.

3. pl.

The legs; as, to stir one's stumps.


4. Cricket

One of the three pointed rods stuck in the ground to form a wicket and support the bails.


A short, thick roll of leather or paper, cut to a point, or any similar implement, used to rub down the lines of a crayon or pencil drawing, in shading it, or for shading drawings by producing tints and gradations from crayon, etc., in powder.


A pin in a tumbler lock which forms an obstruction to throwing the bolt, except when the gates of the tumblers are properly arranged, as by the key; a fence; also, a pin or projection in a lock to form a guide for a movable piece.

Leg stump Cricket, the stump nearest to the batsman. -- Off stump Cricket, the stump farthest from the batsman. -- Stump tracery Arch., a term used to describe late German Gothic tracery, in which the molded bar seems to pass through itself in its convolutions, and is then cut off short, so that a section of the molding is seen at the end of each similar stump. -- To go on the stump, ∨ To take the stump, to engage in making public addresses for electioneering purposes; -- a phrase derived from the practice of using a stump for a speaker's platform in newly-settled districts. Hence also the phrases stump orator, stump speaker, stump speech, stump oratory, etc. [Colloq. U.S.]<-- on the stump -- campaigning for public office -->


© Webster 1913.

Stump, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Stumped (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Stumping.]


To cut off a part of; to reduce to a stump; to lop.

Around the stumped top soft moss did grow. Dr. H. More.


To strike, as the toes, against a stone or something fixed; to stub.



To challenge; also, to nonplus.



To travel over, delivering speeches for electioneering purposes; as, to stump a State, or a district. See To go on the stump, under Stump, n.

[Colloq. U.S.]

5. Cricket (a)

To put (a batsman) out of play by knocking off the bail, or knocking down the stumps of the wicket he is defending while he is off his allotted ground; -- sometimes with out.

T. Hughes. (b)

To bowl down the stumps of, as, of a wicket.

A herd of boys with clamor bowled, And stumped the wicket. Tennyson.

To stump it. (a) To go afoot; hence, to run away; to escape. [Slang] Ld. Lytton. (b) To make electioneering speeches. [Colloq. U.S.]


© Webster 1913.

Stump, v. i.

To walk clumsily, as if on stumps.

To stump up, to pay cash. [Prov. Eng.] Halliwell.


© Webster 1913.

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