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Last year a full-grown ponderosa tree blew over in my backyard. The professional tree guys got most of that tree and two others, one of which landed on our house, but there were still a few protrusions coming up from underground from the tree we named Larry. The arborists had special equipment for removing trees and stumps but they just covered over Larry’s remains with a little dirt. Unfortunately, when I tried to plant a garden this spring these stumps became a real problem. Now that the garden is all gone I decided to try to cope with these stumps with hand tools.

Big mistake! Hand tools don’t function well with mostly buried ponderosa tree stumps. I dug around the stumps to about a foot below the surface and then tried different things. Nothing worked well! But, among the not very good options, my 1¼ horsepower SkillSaw was the only one that even began to work. I used it to cut one-inch deep parallel tracks across the surfaces of the stumps that I could get at, about a half inch apart, and then made a second series of cuts across that first batch, and then went at those little towers of wood with a pickaxe, a sledgehammer, a five-foot pry bar.

That sounds a bit absurd, but after a largish number of repeats of that process I took off about a foot of formerly underground stump, and it’s almost ready to be covered with dirt and for me to call it a garden again. The lesson learned …

When the guys are there with the right equipment, ask them to finish the job.