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Stumps in food plot.
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
wisconsinteacher 24-May-23
fdp 24-May-23
Old School 24-May-23
wisconsinteacher 24-May-23
KHNC 24-May-23
fdp 24-May-23
t-roy 24-May-23
Catscratch 24-May-23
wisconsinteacher 24-May-23
Catscratch 24-May-23
canepole 24-May-23
Pat Lefemine 24-May-23
cnelk 24-May-23
drycreek 24-May-23
Gileguy 24-May-23
MOBEN 24-May-23
fuzzy 25-May-23
deerhunter72 25-May-23
wisconsinteacher 28-May-23
drycreek 28-May-23
fuzzy 30-Jul-23
Smtn10PT 30-Jul-23
Screwball 30-Jul-23
Bow Crazy 04-Aug-23
t-roy 04-Aug-23
24-May-23
I have a question for more experienced food plotter. I took a saw and wood chipper and cleared .20 acres in my hardwoods. The trees were mostly 4" poplar with a few 7-8" basswood, 3-5" ironwood, 2-3" muscle wood and some smaller maples. Right now, I have 1/2 of the stumps cut at ground level and 1/2 are 8-10" above ground. I'm really torn on what to do next. In my mind I have a few options. What one would you pick?

1-My coworker has a 38hp tractor with a stump bucket and chisel plow. He is willing to come in for $50 an hour and remove as much as possible. He said that he can move up to 4-5" stumps.

2-Cut everything ground level and put Garlon on the stumps and then pull my ATV disc around and plant it in clover or winter rye and hope for the best.

3-Cut everything ground level and put Garlon on the stumps and then pull my ATV disc around and plant it in clover or winter rye, then in 1-2 years have my coworker come in and rip stumps when they are softer.

4-Rent a stump grinder and try to remove as many stumps as possible. (I'm guessing this would take a long time)

I have a ATV, disc, harrow drag and cultipacker for equipment so I'm limited on what I have for tools.

From: fdp
24-May-23
I wouldn't even bother with removing them. Just cut them off at either ground level or a few inches high. We had numerous plots that stumps of all sizes scattered through it and it made difference to the critters at all.

From: Old School
24-May-23
Another Option - Put a mineral block on top of the stumps.

24-May-23
Old School, I don't think that would work because there are a lot of little stumps. Maybe on the handful of larger ones I could do it.

fdp, did the stumps make it difficult to till and work the soil?

From: KHNC
24-May-23
Rent a skidsteer with a root grapple for the wkd. A kubota SVL75-2 will get up stumps up to 8" and some bigger with some work. Herc rentals is 575.00 on wkd rental. Worked perfect for me. Not hard to operate.

From: fdp
24-May-23
"fdp, did the stumps make it difficult to till and work the soil?" It wasn't that big an issue to work around them. But that being said, they were mature tree stumps so they weren't extremely close together. That made it pretty easy to work around them. The small ones we just cut level with the ground and worked right over them.

From: t-roy
24-May-23

t-roy's embedded Photo
t-roy's embedded Photo
I’d opt for option 3. What I call an ironwood tree, is very shallow rooted and not difficult to grub out. We don’t have poplar trees in my area, but I’d guess they would be similar to basswoods, in that they would rot out relatively quickly and be fairly easy to remove within a year. No idea what a musclewood tree is. My guess would be the maples might be the biggest potential issue, but can’t say that with too much certainty. I’ve got a few plots that have dead stumps soaking right now, and have been for a couple of years, that I will grub out with my skid and a stump bucket, or rent a mini-hoe if the skid isn’t enough. They’re way bigger stumps than what you’re dealing with, though. 18”-30”+ trees. Mostly hickory, which has a big taproot and is a major PITA to remove unless it has been dead for a few years.

From: Catscratch
24-May-23
Some of my best plots are tree regrowth. It's very attractive and high in minerals/protein. I know it isn't what you asked for but it's another option. Just skip the chemicals to kill the stump. https://bigdeerblog.com/2019/04/how-to-cut-mineral-stumps-for-deer/

24-May-23
Catscratch, I plan on only spraying the stumps of unwanted species. I don't plan on straying the maple stumps.

From: Catscratch
24-May-23
Just throwing out ideas. Sounds like you've got a plan pretty well put together. It may be personal preference but I would probably cut everything as flush to the ground as I could.

From: canepole
24-May-23
I can tell you've put a lot of time and effort in this already but will 2/10's of an acre even have a chance to grow to maturity? I'm not sure about the deer density in your part of Wi but if that's the food only plot in the area I hope it doesn't get mows down before you have a chance to hunt it.

From: Pat Lefemine
24-May-23

Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
I use a dozer for a lot of chores, like fire breaks, clearing, grading and leveling dirt.
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
I use a dozer for a lot of chores, like fire breaks, clearing, grading and leveling dirt.
I’m gonna buck the general sentiment here. I remove all stumps, just gonna make life more difficult and they’re hell on equipment, especially if they are cut flush and you can’t see them when mowing, disking, seeding, etc.

I’d rent a dozer for half a day and all stumps will be gone and pushed off your plot. You can even extend the plot with the leftover time, or clear a path for access. Sounds like those trees will come out easily with a D3 or 450H. It’s not rocket science to use a post 2000 dozer. Two joysticks and a deceleration pedal.

Just a tip, if you decide to clear more land in the future leave the small trees whole and just push them over and then push the tree into to create barriers to funnel access. Works beautifully.

Good luck.

From: cnelk
24-May-23
If you drill a bunch of holes in the stumps and pour salt (or place a salt block) on top, the stumps will deteriorate really fast

From: drycreek
24-May-23
I really despise stumps in a food plot. I’m going to my lease tomorrow and dig three big ones up with my backhoe so I can stop dodging them. Take Pat’s advice though I doubt you can rent a dozer for a half day. You can’t in my neck of the woods anyway. Keep in mind they are going to charge you for moving it too. Depends on how bad you want them out.

From: Gileguy
24-May-23
20 years ago I taught my daughter how to run a backhoe digging stumps for a horse pasture that became a food plot for my wife. Missed a small one cut at ground level but found it when plowing the field. Knew it was bad when tractor wouldn't move forward or back, snapped the drive shaft!!

From: MOBEN
24-May-23
agree with getting a dozer. get all of your projects lined up and do it all at one time

From: fuzzy
25-May-23
$50/ hour is very fair for tractor work.

From: deerhunter72
25-May-23
I don't even do food plots, but I had about 10 stumps, mostly small some larger, around the edge of my field. I bush hog this area a few times a year and I certainly knew when the cutter got on top of one. Even with the stump jumper they can stop a 33 hp tractor in it's tracks. This is not good on any equipment. Plus, they were a pain to mow around. I paid a local guy $450 to come in with his track hoe to pull the stumps and a couple of larger oak trees that needed to be gone. That included the haul in fee. These stumps sound small and will eventually rot out, but I agee with Pat. Rent a small dozer and push them out, or a small backhoe and pull them. Your equipment will thank you.

28-May-23
I have a quick update on my stump issue for my new food plot. On my way home I saw a sign not far from my land for an excavator company. I stopped in and talked to the guy. He said, lets go look right now so we did. He figured it would take him a day to remove the stumps and put them off to the side of the plot in a pile. His quote was $800. After talking to a few trusted friends, they all said the same thing. You can't beat that price. So I called him back and he is planning on starting in the next 10 days. After thinking it over, I see it as buy once cry once. Get it done so I can till it up and get it seeded the right way for years to come. Let's hope I can grow so food for the deer.

From: drycreek
28-May-23
Teacher, you won’t regret it, in fact you’ll think about it each time you work that ground and pat yourself on the back.

From: fuzzy
30-Jul-23
How did it go?

From: Smtn10PT
30-Jul-23
I was going to suggest mini excavator but it looks like you have that covered. Hopefully you are satisfied with the results!

From: Screwball
30-Jul-23
We have 38 acres of food plots. No stumps in any of them now. Good call, and good luck.

From: Bow Crazy
04-Aug-23
I have stumps in 3 food plots, after working on them this year I know realize how big of a pain they are. Once the weeds grow up over the stumps they are very hard to work around. On one of the three plots I did cut the stumps level with the ground. Left the really big ones, a couple of smaller ones I missed. I did hit one with my ATV when spraying this summer, almost jolted out face first into the plot. Next year, in the spring, is to level the stumps to ground level with the chain saw. BC

From: t-roy
04-Aug-23
I usually cut the trees so the stumps stick up pretty high, partly so they are very visible, to hopefully eliminate what bow crazy alluded to, and eliminate hitting them with the brush mower, plus it helps to give me a little more leverage to push them over with the skid loader, when I DO grub them out. Ideally, it works better if you can push the entire tree over while it’s standing. You can gain more leverage by pushing up higher on the trunk, plus the weight of the branches/upper trunk helps as well. Need to be careful and watch out for widowmaker limbs. The trees that I can’t get pushed over whole with my skid, I will cut them down, let them deteriorate for a few years, then they are usually easier to grub out.

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