Normally, when a tree in your landscape falls down, you’ll want to remove the stump so that it doesn’t hurt your home’s curb appeal. However, a tree stump can also bring new utility to your home’s outdoor living space.
Assuming it’s at least 1 foot tall and has a smooth, even surface, for example, you can use it as a chair. But to do this, you’ll need to prevent the stump from decaying.
All Tree Stumps Decompose
In their natural state, all tree stumps will decompose. It’s not a fast process. Rather, it can take a stump anywhere from two to 10 years to completely decompose. As this process happens, the stump will gradually rot while turning into a fine, sawdust-like material.
The rotting and decomposition of a stump is the result of fungi. Fungal organisms feast on the cellulose and lignin within wood – a process that breaks down the stump. Therefore, to prevent a tree stump from rotting, you’ll need to protect it from fungi.
Although there are fungicides that can protect against rot-causing fungi, the best way to preserve a stump is to seal the surface with a finish.
Clean the Surface
Start by cleaning the surface of the stump. If there’s any lingering bark or lumps, remove them so that there’s only a smooth wooden surface remaining. You should then go back over the stump’s surface with a damp, clean washcloth to remove any dirt and small debris.
Sand the Surface
Although this is optional, sanding your stump will result in a smoother surface that’s easier to seal. Start by buffing the surface with a high-grit paper and gradually work your way to a fine-grit paper. The surface should feel smooth and even. When finished, clean the surface once more with a damp, clean washcloth.
Apply a Wood Sealant Product
Now it’s time to seal the stump. Using a small- to medium-sized brush, apply two or three coats of polyurethane wood sealant over the surface of the stump. Be sure to get the top and all sides. When finished, allow at least 48 hours for the sealant to dry, at which point the stump should be preserved.
Sealing a stump is a great alternative to burning or digging it up. And if you take the time to clean and polish it, a stump can add a new, natural chair to your home’s outdoor living space.
If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or