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Discussion Starter #1
To cut to the chase...here's the bottom line question:

Would an aggressive stump bucket like this CRI bucket on a little SCUT be able to take the stumps of 10-12 inch diameter spruce trees in wet soil?


Here's the backstory...

I recently had a storm take down one of about 7 relatively unhealthy blue spruces along one edge of my property, all of them about 10-12 inches in diameter at the base. The soil is pretty wet (probably one reason the trees aren't very robust) and as you can see from the photo it's a pretty shallow root system, typical of blue spruce. Straight line winds just plain blew the sucker over. This was probably the largest of the 7 spruces along that fence.

As I've been working on getting this tree out of there, I find that I'm held up at the base by several small-ish 2-3 inch roots. With my 1023E and forks, I can lift the tree and rotate it back and forth pivoting on the roots that are attached but I don't have enough power to lift at the base and uproot them. It's clear that I'm going to have to sever those remaining feeder roots to free up the base.




Additionally, I think (more importantly, my wife thinks) that those other spruce trees are going to have to come down. She wants them out of there and wants to replant white pines or balsams, or something.




And in the front yard I have a couple of other unhealthy spruces that need to come out and replaced with something more suitable to the soil and location.




These trees are all 10-12 inches in diameter (the one that blew down is the largest of them). I'm no tree expert, but I know that spruce typically have no tap root, just spreading feeders that rarely go deeper than about 12-18 inches, and that's what I see on the one that blew down.

As I was looking at the stump bucket thread here, it occurred to me that an aggressive stump bucket like the CRI bucket ought to let me rip the rest of those roots on the downed tree. So, I wonder if that same bucket on my 1023E would be able to uproot the remaining spruce trees along that fence.



My question for you all, and I appreciate your looking at this thread:

Would an aggressive stump bucket like this CRI bucket on a little SCUT be able to take the stumps of 10-12 inch diameter spruce trees in wet soil? I'd need to dig around the things and sever the feeder roots and then lever the stump out of there. My thinking is that $750 for a stump bucket is going to be a lot less than what I'd pay a tree service.

Or...any other ideas?
 

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From the experience I had digging out a couple of 4 - 5” stumps with a stump bucket, you’ll get pretty darn tired of messin around with a stump the size of the one you want to dig out of the ground.
It can be accomplished, but it’s gonna take you a l-o-n-g time to do it.
Your money would be better spent renting an excavator or even a stump grinder than buying a new stump bucket that you probably woun't ever use much.

G
 

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if your in the country.....tannerite.

I got sucked into a 5 hour YT binge today...many of which were stump removal.

I have a mini ex. Have dug out a bunch of big stumps...Its extremely hard on the machine and its way more robust than a scut. Way hard on the lower back as well. Ex has zero suspension.

I hate doing it ..but when doing it Now, I leave the tree attatched..much easier.

You will loosen every pin & joint in your loader & all related stuff by a little bit..Its just gonna happen.

Burning looks to be one of the better solutions..or rent whatever.
 

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That’s alot of money for a handful of trees. In wet soil with shallow roots, a heavy hitch tooth bar would suffice imo


Sent from my phone that’s smarter than me
 

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i ran a stump grinder for about 5 years at a tree service and then ended up with my own pull-behind Rayco grinder. We would have charged about $40 / stump to grind 12" spruce stumps. But that was almost 20 years ago. i would agree with others, a stump grinder or an excavator to rip out the entire root system.
 

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I was just talking about this with my neighbor last Friday. Now he has a much bigger machine 2038R and he has been taking out stumps from some of the same types of trees for the same reasons. His tractor is doing a pretty good job at it. The difference is he has a lot more working capacity than you do. I would take the $750 (I think that is what you said it cost) and put that toward a rental mini excavator for a day or weekend.

The problem is not only are you trying to lift the tree and stump but you will have quite a bit of dirt there. While you have enough working capacity to lift the bucket of dirt, you don't have enough capacity in reserve to sever the roots. You could first cut down the tree but that isn't helping things. Also do yourself a favor and cut the tree down a few feet up. It is easier to do that way, then dig on each side a bit and use the stump of the tree for leverage to pull it out. I had a few Ash trees taken out with our construction project and I left him 2.5-3' of trunk sticking up. Once he got the root ball out I went back with the saw and cut that part off and hauled the root ball down to the burn pile.
 

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Im not sure from your post, but it sounds like you are using the loader lift function to try to pull the roots out? You should be using the rollback, which has much less movement, but a huge mechanical advantage over the lift function. Looks like on your loader, it would double the force applied. You still might have trouble with those roots, but I would give it a go if you haven't. It requires more inputs (set edge against base of stump, roll bucket back, push stump forward, set edge again), and there is less movement per input, but it might work for you if your ground is soft enough. If not, rent that excavator, I agree with the other statements here, it will be more cost effective.
 

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Another factor is how much do you want to tear up your yard?

If you can get all the way around the tree you can drive the stump bucket into the ground at an angle to sever the roots and then start pushing/pulling it loose. In doing that your going to have a large circle of damage around the tree.

Using an excavator with a ripper you can do the same thing from a couple spots and the only area torn up is where the stump is.

With that many to do I would go with the excavator and a ripper. They are fun to operate.

You'll get plenty of seat time on your tractor hauling off the debris and fixing up the yard.


I would start buy cutting and clearing all of the trees, leaving a tall stump, at least 3 foot. Once everything is cleared, bring in the excavator and have at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Im not sure from your post, but it sounds like you are using the loader lift function to try to pull the roots out? You should be using the rollback, which has much less movement, but a huge mechanical advantage over the lift function. Looks like on your loader, it would double the force applied. You still might have trouble with those roots, but I would give it a go if you haven't. It requires more inputs (set edge against base of stump, roll bucket back, push stump forward, set edge again), and there is less movement per input, but it might work for you if your ground is soft enough. If not, rent that excavator, I agree with the other statements here, it will be more cost effective.
In the course of diddling around with that tree, I've used all the various functions and from multiple directions.


Another factor is how much do you want to tear up your yard?

If you can get all the way around the tree you can drive the stump bucket into the ground at an angle to sever the roots and then start pushing/pulling it loose. In doing that your going to have a large circle of damage around the tree.

Using an excavator with a ripper you can do the same thing from a couple spots and the only area torn up is where the stump is.

With that many to do I would go with the excavator and a ripper. They are fun to operate.

You'll get plenty of seat time on your tractor hauling off the debris and fixing up the yard.


I would start buy cutting and clearing all of the trees, leaving a tall stump, at least 3 foot. Once everything is cleared, bring in the excavator and have at it.
Yeah, I think you're right. I'm thinking (optimistically) that the trees might be small enough that a 1-ton excavator oughta pluck those sickly spruces right outta there. I have 10 yards of dirt coming that I'm going to use to repair the area. Not too worried about the grass damage...there's a fair amount of Creeping Charlie around the bases of those trees that I'm going to address at the same time.
 

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In the course of diddling around with that tree, I've used all the various functions and from multiple directions.




Yeah, I think you're right. I'm thinking (optimistically) that the trees might be small enough that a 1-ton excavator oughta pluck those sickly spruces right outta there. I have 10 yards of dirt coming that I'm going to use to repair the area. Not too worried about the grass damage...there's a fair amount of Creeping Charlie around the bases of those trees that I'm going to address at the same time.
Besides the pine needles typically make the soil too acidic to grow grass very well.
 

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With the limited root system and as unhealthy trees like those shown, I would simply use a tow strap hook it up 5 or 6 feet on the tree for leverage and pull the trees like a tooth, wiggle them side to side and OFTEN*, out they will come after a few sideways tugs. Start by pulling on the tree which the wind tipped over and see if you can rip it free from the ground.

Do this with a pulling motion mounted to the draw bar point on the tractor, where it's designed to be pulled from. Use a tow strap, so there is "give" and hook the strap to the tow point with a clevis. Any small remaining roots, I would use a saw zall and sever them and once you "wiggle" the tree loose, there won't be many as they will snap off. Use the saw zall as you don't have to worry about the dirt wrecking the saw bar or cutting chain.

Or, for the trees standing, while you have tension on the tree tipping it over, smack the roots with an axe and it will sever them.

Just make sure the tow strap is long enough the tree doesn't land on you when pulling it. I know, this is obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated. :dunno:

The trees will likely come out much easier than you think. Frankly, I think based upon the types of trees these are, the condition of the soil, etc. using leverage to pull on it with the tow strap, you could have these trees out of the ground in the time it would take to go to the rental place to pick up the mini ex and get it back to your house.

If these were "real trees", which were healthy, like Oak's, Maple's, etc. then the approach I recommend would not be used as they are much more difficult trees to remove. But also, if these were good hardwood trees, you likely wouldn't be interested in taking them out......

Try one or two of the trees with what you have before buying equipment or even going out and renting equipment and see what happens. You have nothing to lose and it won't cost a thing. You might be pleasantly surprised. Plus save the $$$ for other things.

I have taken out a lot of pines which looked like your trees shown and often*, they come out so easy its surprising. There was one in a neighbors yard in a landscape bed and while I was leaning on the tree to hook up the tow strap to remove it as I described, I felt the tree move with just me pushing on it with one hand. I hooked the tow strap to my bucket hooks and the entire thing popped right out of the ground. Scooped it up with the bucket and put it on the burn pile.

*It's worth mentioning that this advice is unique to these types of and condition of pines. Most trees would require much more effort and other equipment to remove than these do and what I am suggesting wouldn't work.............
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I believe, in my very heart, that with a stump bucket like CRI's, I could saw the rest of the feeders to that upended root ball and drag the downed tree away, but I'm less confident that that stump bucket is the shortest/most efficient path to getting rid of the other 6 or 7 intact and upright spruces. I could see getting the bucket for $750 and still end up renting, or wishing I had rented, a 1-ton excavator for about 1/3 the price and pluck those suckers right out of there solving all the problems. Might as well kill all the birds with that stone.

My concomitant project now is going to be finding a large dump trailer to rent in order to haul those trees to the dump, with low enough sides that I can lift the pieces with my 1023E
 

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With the limited root system and as unhealthy trees like those shown, I would simply use a tow strap hook it up 5 or 6 feet on the tree for leverage and pull the trees like a tooth, wiggle them side to side and OFTEN*, out they will come after a few sideways tugs. Start by pulling on the tree which the wind tipped over and see if you can rip it free from the ground.

Do this with a pulling motion mounted to the draw bar point on the tractor, where it's designed to be pulled from. Use a tow strap, so there is "give" and hook the strap to the tow point with a clevis. Any small remaining roots, I would use a saw zall and sever them and once you "wiggle" the tree loose, there won't be many as they will snap off. Use the saw zall as you don't have to worry about the dirt wrecking the saw bar or cutting chain.

Or, for the trees standing, while you have tension on the tree tipping it over, smack the roots with an axe and it will sever them.

Just make sure the tow strap is long enough the tree doesn't land on you when pulling it. I know, this is obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated. :dunno:

The trees will likely come out much easier than you think. Frankly, I think based upon the types of trees these are, the condition of the soil, etc. using leverage to pull on it with the tow strap, you could have these trees out of the ground in the time it would take to go to the rental place to pick up the mini ex and get it back to your house.

If these were "real trees", which were healthy, like Oak's, Maple's, etc. then the approach I recommend would not be used as they are much more difficult trees to remove. But also, if these were good hardwood trees, you likely wouldn't be interested in taking them out......

Try one or two of the trees with what you have before buying equipment or even going out and renting equipment and see what happens. You have nothing to lose and it won't cost a thing. You might be pleasantly surprised. Plus save the $$$ for other things.

I have taken out a lot of pines which looked like your trees shown and often*, they come out so easy its surprising. There was one in a neighbors yard in a landscape bed and while I was leaning on the tree to hook up the tow strap to remove it as I described, I felt the tree move with just me pushing on it with one hand. I hooked the tow strap to my bucket hooks and the entire thing popped right out of the ground. Scooped it up with the bucket and put it on the burn pile.

*It's worth mentioning that this advice is unique to these types of and condition of pines. Most trees would require much more effort and other equipment to remove than these do and what I am suggesting wouldn't work.............
I agree with you. For those minuscule roots I would just pull the whole tree out. The 1023 might not do it but a truck would without any trouble. He could them the all out in less than an hour with minimal ground disturbance.


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I believe, in my very heart, that with a stump bucket like CRI's, I could saw the rest of the feeders to that upended root ball and drag the downed tree away, but I'm less confident that that stump bucket is the shortest/most efficient path to getting rid of the other 6 or 7 intact and upright spruces. I could see getting the bucket for $750 and still end up renting, or wishing I had rented, a 1-ton excavator for about 1/3 the price and pluck those suckers right out of there solving all the problems. Might as well kill all the birds with that stone.

My concomitant project now is going to be finding a large dump trailer to rent in order to haul those trees to the dump, with low enough sides that I can lift the pieces with my 1023E
Have you tried getting the bucket on the under side of the tree and then driving forward while lifting up? I don’t see anything that will stop you from tearing it out of the ground that way? I’ve cleared tons of cedar trees out like that with a 1025.

I just put the bucket 4-5’ in the air and then ram the tree to make it fall over. Then I back up, lower the bucket, and then go forward while lifting. Works like a charm.


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One thing I learned removing trees and large bushes, what the 1 series lacks in FEL lifting capacity, it more than makes up for in sheer rip out pulling strength. I screwed around digging out some very large Juniper bushes. The second time, I cut them back with a chain saw removing the bush debris so I could get to the large stumps of the bush. Hooked onto those with the tow strap, go to the end of the strap to tighten it and then keep yanking on the stump without it being "violent" and it ripped them right out. Same with evergreen trees.

Now, instead of "prying" out old trees and bushes, I use the leverage of the height of the item and pull them out. It's much faster and then you pick them up with the pallet forks and put them on the burn pile. I have removed probably 2 dozen different severely overgrown bushes as well as blue spruce. Many of the blue spruce are getting some disease which causes the new growth to drop off and the trees are dying. The disease rots out the roots as well and makes getting them out much easier. Also, the wind will eventually tip them over as the roots die.

Here are three which I trimmed up for a neighbor who wants to retain them another year or how ever long before they die and I removed three others of the same size as I described.....
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Relative to sheer pulling power, I was limited by the wet yard. I could only pull so far before all four wheels would slip. My son, who is a landscape foreman and very knowledgeable regarding heavy equipment, pointed out that I wasn't using any ballast, which surely limited my traction.

 

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Have you tried getting the bucket on the under side of the tree and then driving forward while lifting up? I don’t see anything that will stop you from tearing it out of the ground that way? I’ve cleared tons of cedar trees out like that with a 1025.

I just put the bucket 4-5’ in the air and then ram the tree to make it fall over. Then I back up, lower the bucket, and then go forward while lifting. Works like a charm.
I have done the same thing and with the Pirannah bar on the bucket, its' great at severing the small roots when you angle the leading edge of the bucket and then drive it into the root structure. I am not a big fan at "knocking things over" verses pulling them over as I don't want to bend the loader frame or bucket, but I have done it carefully and it worked.

Using the weight of the machine to help remove the object gives the machine much more power than trying to rely on the hydraulic lifting ability. My tractor, with the FEL, rear ballast (as much as 600 pounds when I am using it) plus the cab at 400 pounds plus the operator gives the tractor nearly 3,000 lbs of weight to pull / push with.......

If you do need to use the FEL, use the roll function to extract items, verses the lift function as the 1 series 120R loader will "roll" much more than it will "lift" when properly hooked up, which is a great time to use the Ken's Bolt on Hooks.....:good2:
 

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Have you tried getting the bucket on the under side of the tree and then driving forward while lifting up? I don’t see anything that will stop you from tearing it out of the ground that way? I’ve cleared tons of cedar trees out like that with a 1025.

I just put the bucket 4-5’ in the air and then ram the tree to make it fall over. Then I back up, lower the bucket, and then go forward while lifting. Works like a charm.


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Yeh, as I mentioned...that might have worked if I had thought to hook up the ballast box which was sitting on the back corner of the lot just itching to get into the fight, unbeknownst to me.....
 
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