Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Elle, If the pines are dying, you are most likely correct in thinking pine beetle.
If you are planning on going with lilac as replacements then you do need to remove the stumps (grinding will do the trick).
As far as best choices for replacements, it is going to depend on how much wind you need to break, (I use Red Cedars because the branches are nice and thick so they break a lot of the wind coming up hill).
You also need to find specimens to plant that have a good tap root, this one feature will help trees to survive in high winds, especially if the ground is saturated.
In my area, osage orange is one of the preferred along with the red cedar (juniper) followed by hickory and oak. (in the right spot mulberry would work fine and it would feed some of the animals).
Marco Banks wrote:
To encourage decomposition, take an old fashioned brace (hand drill) and auger a couple of big holes down into the stump, or use a cordless drill with a good sized bit. I can drill 3 holes in a stump with a cordless drill in less than a minute -- done. A sharp bit makes all the difference. After the next rainstorm, walk around and pick as many mushrooms as you can find. Get a big bucket and smush those mushrooms into a bucket of sawdust (perhaps throw in a couple of cups of oatmeal as well to feed the growing fungi). Wet the sawdust/growing medium with non-chlorinated water (rainwater, if you can). Leave in a warm dark place for a couple of months. You should see fungi quickly colonizing your sawdust growing medium.
OR . . . if you've got an old hugelculture mound, dig out a piece of old wood that's been decomposing with fungi. Bury that rotting piece of wood down into your bucket with sawdust/oatmeal growing medium. That will assure you that you've got a fungal strain that is good for breaking down wood.
Take that fungal rich sawdust and pack the holes in the stumps, ramming the sawdust down into the holes with a dowel. If you wish, mulch over the top of the old stump with wood chips or semi-finished chunky compost . . . keeping the stump from drying it out in the hot sunlight. Sometimes after inoculating a stump with fungi, I'll build a slow-rot/cold compost pile over the top of it (stuff like tomato and pumpkin vines that take a long time to break down). Having a compost pile on the SOUTH side of the new tree feeds the soil for years while shading the roots from the hot sun, so if you can, plant your new tree to the north of your old stump. Did that make sense? The hottest sunlight will be on the south side of your new tree --- that's the side that will benefit most from having a compost pile slowly rotting and keeping the roots shaded and moist.
Walk away and let nature do its thing. The fungi will take care of those stumps within 5 years -- sooner if it's a soft wood. Not only will the fungi decompose the old stump wood, but it will also feed those nutrients to your new tree.
We have several chainsaws, one small one for branch cutting. I think we can cut it really close to ground level and plant a few feet from the old stump. Hopefully that doesn't impact the new tree.
We do have an excavator so we could dig up the stump, I just really don't want to. I'd prefer to leave it.