Mariton: Tipping Stumps

December 21, 2012

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

While clearing the trails after Superstorm Sandy, I am taking quite a bit of satisfaction tipping stumps.  When many of the trees were blown over, their roots masses were unearthed with the trunks.  Contemplate for a moment how much wind it takes to blow over a hundred year old tree, roots and all.

Getting the root mass to go back is fairly easy within a week of the storm.  The roots are still anchored and have enough tension that they will pull the stump and root ball back into the hole.  This stump (above photo) along the Woods Trail went right back when it was freed from the trunk.  For scale, the stump is about six feet high and about 2 feet in diameter.  Before tipping back, there was a hole in the trail three feet deep and pretty much all the way across the trail.  The root mass probably weighed at least two tons.

Conversely, the root mass of the tree above moved when the tree went over, and just couldn’t settle back in its hole.  It is about the same size as the previous stump.  Both stumps were flat on the ground before I cut them.

Here is a series of photos of the process.  First the tree laying across the trail.  Check out the root mass sticking up in the air on the left.  My chainsaw helmet is used for scale.

Then with the main trunk cut, the stump is released back into its hole.

Finally with the trunk pulled off of the trail.