Tree roots in the Adirondacks, growing over boulder


Something to Do

During a sunny, cold day a few years ago, I was itching for something to do outdoors. I already had piled mulch on top of last year’s mulch beneath the blueberries, the vegetable plot was weed-free, and I usually defer pruning until later in winter. So what was there to do? I decided to clear some “forest.”

Actually, the forest was one mulberry tree, a seedling that had grown up in the wrong place, but which I had neglected for a few years until its trunk had a girth of  eight inches. I had cut back the top the summer previous to at least slow its growth. But it was time to emulate on a small scale one of the tasks of the early settlers here: digging out the stump.

Tree roots ni the Adirondacks, growing over boulder

Tree roots in the Adirondacks

Before I began, I gathered up what I would need for the job: a spade whose blade I sharpened with a file; a pruning saw; a pry bar; and some fill soil. But first let’s backtrack a moment. When I lopped back the tree the previous summer, I had cut off all the branches and left a single trunk about five feet tall. A length of trunk provides a handy lever for working a stump out of the soil. Read more