Soft Excavation of Tree Stumps

Removing soil from around a stump (including beneath the stump) can be accomplished using jets of water or air. A high pressure water jet can be used to separate the stump and large roots from the soil. The roots can then be cut and the stump extracted. The water jet process is more effective when the water used and the soil it carries can be vacuumed-up immediately. If a vacuum truck is not used, temporary trenches, slope dams, ditches, and water control barriers can be installed to collect all water and soil eroded from the site and to keep the stump area drained. Using a water based excavation system can be fast and effective on many soil types but is extremely messy with off-site impacts possible from water and displaced soil. Soil saturation can reduce soil bearing strength, accelerating site damage from equipment ruts and poor traction, but easing stump extraction. A high velocity air jet can be used in the same way as a water jet in order to excavate a stump. Air jet products have a number of advantages over water jet products in ease of use, equipment requirements, and potential residual mess. A stump shroud or netting is usually required in established landscapes to control soil and dust. A commercial sized air compressor can be setup at some distance from the stump area. The air nozzle and hose can be snaked through small spaces. The whole stump and major roots can be exposed using soft excavation and then some means of extraction used.
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