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Pigs for stump removal

 
Posts: 228
Location: Northern Puget Sound, Zone 8A
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I'm wondering if pigs are useful for getting rid of tree stumps?  We've cut down a number of trees and are trying to figure out the best way to remove them.  Obviously we could rent a dozer but that's expensive and rather brutish (not that I mind brutishness per se, but I'm trying to get more in the mode of the permie mindset of working with nature more than against nature).  A few we've burned out but that takes quite a while and at the rate we've been doing that it'll be a couple decades before we finish the job, and more will probably have rotted away than been burned out by then.  

So I was wondering if pigs might be useful in this regard as they are reputed to root into the soil quite a bit.  Even if they left a big hole, and a big hunk of stump next to the hole that would be better than any alternative I've come with so far.  Holes can be filled, and once out of the ground the stump can be burned a lot more effectively.  

FWIW, tree species is mostly red alder and birch.  Some big leaf maple, vine maple, hemlock and a few cedar stumps.  Probably a couple cottonwood stumps too.  All the cedar stumps were made before we owned the property and are, of course, very slow to decompose.  

Strictly speaking my neighborhood doesn't allow pigs (all other livestock is OK, but not pigs).  But if I kept them contained, only had a couple/three at a time (and moved them around frequently) so the smell wasn't bad, and got a breed that doesn't squeal loudly all the time i could probably get away with it.  Especially if I promised my next door neighbor some bacon.  Most lots in the neighborhood are 4.5-5 acres.
 
steward
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What's your final intended use for the area?  If you don't need it flat an option could be to pile dirt on the stumps and use them as huglehills.
 
Andrew Mayflower
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I'd like for it to be mowable, and/or a garden area.
 
Mike Jay Haasl
steward
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Never mind on the hugelhill idea then

I don't have any pig knowledge, hopefully the experts show up soon.  Good luck!
 
master pollinator
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You could always do an in between method.


If the pigs are not allowed, and a bulldozer is too expensive, you could rig up a winch and block system to rip the stumps out mechanically, but not via a bulldozer. I have a friend that has a homemade winch and removed the stumps that way for his house.
 
gardener
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I don't think pigs would do the job, they might root about some but not enough for stump removal.  
A stump grinder would do what you need and give you wood chips in return.
I don,t know if that is a rent able item but it will be available for hire.
 
gardener
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Most garden stores sell an auger-type bit that fits into a standard drill.  They are about 20 inches long or so.  The bit will drill down into the soil and leave a hole that is about 3 inches in diameter.  

https://www.homedepot.com/p/ECHO-3-in-Auger-Bit-99944900021/204768196?cm_mmc=Shopping%7cTHD%7cgoogle%7c&mid=s2DpwRHc9%7cdc_mtid_890338a25189_pcrid_139636283740_pkw__pmt__product_204768196_slid_&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsNvonfTA2wIVHp7ACh0GRA4eEAQYBSABEgI0H_D_BwE&dclid=CNLAn6z0wNsCFYZ-YgodbQ0CvA

Moisten the ground around the stump with a hose.  You want the soil to be pretty soft.  The next day, using an auger bit, drill down along the sides of the stump, avoiding (of course) the roots.  Go as deeply down into the ground as you can.  Then fill the hole with corn kernels.  Better yet, ferment the corn first, then pack it down into the hole.  If you had some other leftovers, you can mix those in with the corn, but the pigs will dig and root until they get every last corn kernel out.

Once they've dug those kernels out, keep drilling, keep re-filling with corn, and keep scraping away the loose dirt once they've rooted out the corn.  If the ground is too dry, the pigs will have a hard time moving the soil, so you may have to continue to flood the area with a hose to make it easier.  But it's a heck of a lot easier to stand there with a hose, drill a couple of holes down into the ground, dump in a bucket of corn, and then rake back the soil a couple of times . . . than it is to try to dig out a big old massive stump.  Digging a stump is like digging your own grave.  But letting the pigs do most of the hard work until you've got the roots all exposed where you can cut them with a chain saw . . . that's easy.
 
pollinator
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You can also use fire. The secret is in making sure the air flow goes past/through the stump, rather than just having a big bonfire on top of the stump.

Here is one way, using a chimney effect to direct the air into the stump area.


Or this one, which creates a chimney effect by cutting slots in the stump itself.


Or one based on an oil drum in a semi-rocket configuration.
 
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Yeeesss. This is my favorite answer.
 
gardener
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If you look at Guildbrook Farm on YouTube there was an episode where they got animals in and a new neighbour complained - they had to get rid of the lot.  Don't risk it. Also, please don't grow a lawn, unless it us camomile and thyme. Sorry for that but I just had to say it. Phew.
 
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Location: West-central Pennsylvania
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This still takes a while, but if you have porcupines around, drill a bunch of 1/2 holes as deep into the stumps as you can get, top and sides; note that you can get 'jobber' bits 24" long. Fill the holes with a stout brine and the porcupines will chew and eat the stumps right down. You'll have to do a repeat occasionally with the brine. Deer will also help as they love salt. Pigs would also go for the salt, but they would be a little faster than deer. The quill pigs with their chisel teeth would be a lot faster as they love salt.
 
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