Natural Degradation of Tree Stumps

Knowing the important components of stump decay allows for optimization of a decay environ- ment. Providing more of whatever component is limiting decay rates, while not interfering with other soil resources, can push the decay process along. By carefully enriching resources on the site around a stump, decay conditions and organisms can be facilitated. For most stumps, aeration of the soil and stump, increasing the surface area of the stump open to the air but shielded from the sun, assuring moist not wet conditions, and addition of nitrogen fertilizer all provide conditions accentuating wood decay. There are a number of products available, from specialized stump removal compounds to general fertil- izers, which can be added to the stump or site. Stump decay remains a long-term soil mediated process, not stumps melting away quickly. Expectations for stump decay should be centered upon climatic conditions and soil temperatures stretched over several years.

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