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#485011 - 01/06/18 05:18 PM Rayco Stumper or Excavator???
Bordersgent Offline

Registered: 01/06/18
Posts: 6
Loc: New York State
Hello all,
I'm new to posting here (just registered), but have devoured so much of the fantastic information that you all have so generously put out there! Thank you many times over! Just getting ready to start moving dirt this summer for a 1 acre pond.

Here is my question - Would there be any consequences to using a 275 hp Rayco Hydra Stumper to remove all my stumps from about an acre of land?

Most of my trees are between 4 and 6 inches in diameter, though half a dozen are about 18 inches in dia. I was all set to yank them all out with an excavator come spring, but now have a guy that could bring in one of these Rayco stumpers. I am attracted to this due to the fact that I would have no stumps to either burn or pile far beyond the dam (I am definitely not burying any of them in the dam).

Just wondering if any of you have used a stumper prior to a pond dig, and any tips or unforeseen consequences that resulted. I'm also wondering if these stumpers truly go deep enough to eat up all the root mass? Are all the extra wood chips in the topsoil a pain in the butt, or do they pretty much "disappear" once you start dozing that soil around?

Thanks so much for any advice!


#485013 - 01/07/18 06:37 AM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
RAH Offline

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4296
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I am no expert and have no experience with these machines, but since no one else has responded, I will give you my thoughts. Assuming that the trees are growing in the area where the pond bowl and dam will go, then typically the top layer of topsoil must be removed down to good clay to excavate for the dam core. The stumps can be removed from the pond area and then returned if you want to use them for structure, or otherwise discarded or used for wildlife habitat. If you elect to grind them instead, then the chips will likely be mixed in with the topsoil when it is removed probably improving its consistency for growing plants later. If the topsoil is used behind and on top of the finished dam, this should not be a problem. Remaining roots in the pond area should be scraped out when excavating the top soil and any other layers of permeable soil. The important thing is to keep plant debris and permeable material out of the dam core and to have the pond bowl lined with impermeable material as well that is joined to the dam core. This typically means putting all permeable soil behind the dam. I hope this makes sense. Take pictures and post them!

#485015 - 01/07/18 08:12 AM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
TGW1 Offline

Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 2713
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
I would think you will use an excavator to assist in digging the pond. If you do, it will get the trees removed, so why pay for a third piece of equipment? I'm no expert but built my pond with a dump truck, dozer and an excavator.
Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.
Thank The Good Lord the government in Washington DC gets little done.
Outlawing guns will make a lot of us down here in the South
Outlaws and proud of it


#485017 - 01/07/18 11:29 AM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
Rainman Offline
Field Correspondent
Hall of Fame


Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 7022
Loc: St Louis, MO area
Borders, welcome to the forum!!! Congrats on planning your pond now instead of finding us to help solve mistakes after....many of us found the site the latter way! laugh

I don't have much experience with stump grinders other than they just remove what you would see, in a field. They won't get anywhere near all the roots that are hidden. The wood chips, however, I think would improve the soil for starting grass seeds on disturbed areas outside the pond pool area.

For your best chances of full sealing, the entire pool area will need to be stripped (saving topsoils for final gradings) a foot or two deeper than designed, and then quality clay is relayed and well compacted in 6" lifts to get your final under pool grades, and to tie into the dam core.

After the bowl is made, well compacted and sealed, you can get creative building trenches or underwater islands for structure...Root wads make an awesome place for fish when pushed up and the root wad is still filled with rock and soil as ballast.

I guess after all that was said, I'd excavate or doze out stumps for reuse in the pond....grinding or even excavating a bunch of stumps will also add LOTS of equipment time and fuel expenses....


#485049 - 01/08/18 02:01 PM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
BrianL Offline

Registered: 03/31/14
Posts: 788
Loc: Paris, TX
Excavator would be preferred. Wood chips and roots rot and you don't want wood in you dam. Excavator will do a better job getting the stuff you don't want out.
1.8 acre pond with FHM(gone), CNBG, RES, HSB, and LMB
Trophy Hunter feeder.

#485110 - 01/10/18 08:48 AM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
Bordersgent Offline

Registered: 01/06/18
Posts: 6
Loc: New York State
Thank you to RAH, Rainman, TGW1, and BrianL. I will definitely leave just a couple of the 18" root balls in tact, to place in the bowl after the pond is complete. It's the other hundred or so stumps that I have to decide what to do with. The operator of this Rayco stumper claims he can run that chipper right down into the ground quite deep - Just hoping someone else who has used one of these can confirm if that truly is common practice or not. I don't mind paying a little more for an extra piece of equipment if I don't have the hassle of burning stumps, or having to look at a massive pile of them sitting behind my dam.

I'll sit tight, and hope a few more jump on here with their two cents...

Thanks again, in advance. And as this whole process continues, I will update.


#485211 - 01/13/18 02:05 PM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
Redonthehead Offline

Registered: 04/03/07
Posts: 212
Loc: Missouri
Heres my 2 cents. I think the most cost and time efficient means of clearing the basin is to have a dozer push out the trees root ball and all attached. Push them into a pile out of the way so you can work on burning them while they work on the pond. That will get most of the roots out of the soil so they do not end up in the dam.

You CAN get green wood to burn if you get it going with diesel fuel and a couple round "black oaks". The big stumps will likely not burn but they can be pushed back into the pond for habitat. Perhaps if you have too many smaller stumps left they can be ground up later.

#485235 - 01/14/18 11:50 AM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
DrWizz Offline

Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 21
Loc: Eastern Iowa
Here's my 1 cents worth. I have had wetlands reclamation work done and had a large number of small trees (2-10") removed with a forestry chipper. This is a different machine than a stump grinder but it also takes the tree down below ground level. I was impressed with the amount of wood chips (mulch) it produced. I suspect a stump grinder would create a similar type of chip, albeit, in less volume than the chipper; with a hundred stumps to grind in your basin, there will be a considerable volume of chips produced. These chips do not go away quickly on their own. I would be concerned with the amount of organic debris that might end up in your dam that could cause leaks or problems in the future. In order to grind the stumps, you will have to cut down and move the trees to a burn pile anyway. I agree with others above....take them out with a dozer, save a couple of root balls for structure and skip the stump grinder.

#485250 - 01/15/18 10:08 AM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
Tbar Offline

Registered: 01/10/15
Posts: 709
Loc: Texas
IMO The dozer can defiantly handle 4-6” and the few 18” trees. A trackhoe will handle much larger trees and make the work go faster. I wouldn’t bother with the stump grinder.


#485304 - 01/16/18 10:19 PM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
DigginandDumpin Offline

Registered: 01/16/18
Posts: 1
Loc: Harrisonville, MO
Just joined but I'll chime in as an excavator and pond builder. Do your operator a favor and don't grind the stumps, actually don't cut the tree off first at all unless you are selling the log to offset construction costs. When I'm clearing trees I use the trunk of the tree for leverage to push the tree out. If you cut the tree off it's 10 times harder to push the stump out. If you grind the stumps below ground level it becomes that much harder to push the stump out. The more I have to work at getting stumps out the more it costs.

Just another perspective to consider.

#485352 - 01/18/18 06:19 AM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
Dave Davidson1 Offline

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13782
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Well said John
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

#485361 - 01/18/18 10:13 AM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
RAH Offline

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4296
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Yup - Its all theory till you actually need to do it!

#496095 - 09/09/18 02:20 PM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
Bordersgent Offline

Registered: 01/06/18
Posts: 6
Loc: New York State
Greetings all,

I know it's been a while, but wanted to make sure I provided an update on my pond progress. I was able to complete it over the summer - thankfully just before that massive amount of rain we got in August. For those wondering, I did end up using the stumper to remove all the stumps (the guy with the stumper was the same guy that dug the pond). It took him two hours and ten minutes to grind everything, and he was able to get to the bottom of the root mass easily. Incidentally, he used the same machine to grind solid bluestone on another job, so rocks were not a problem. One thing I learned was that I should have cut the trees off a little closer to the ground (I left three feet sticking up because I wanted to be able to see them in tall grass). The stumper was so fast on the small trees though, that it would occasionally snap one off before turning it into chips. I would definitely use the same machine again, as it allowed me to turn nearly all the trees into fire wood first, and I had no large stump piles to deal with. When we spread the topsoil on the back side of the dam, the chips all blended in fine. I know I've rambled on here a bit, but if anyone wants more details as to how my process went, I would be happy to share. This all worked very well for me, but may not work for others with different circumstances / priorities - just hoping to give something back to such a wonderful group of folks on this forum.

Just a few more details - Had three pieces of equipment - dozer, excavator, and 12-ton sheepsfoot roller. Went about 12 feet deep (water level has 5 feet to go to reach full pool as of today).

#496096 - 09/09/18 06:24 PM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
snrub Offline

Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5404
Loc: SE Kansas
Glad it worked out well for you. Thanks for the update.

I subscribe to Pond Boss Magazine

#496113 - 09/10/18 09:39 AM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: Bordersgent]
canyoncreek Offline

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1991
Loc: West Michigan
We would love it if you can share pictures!

Glad things went well. With woodchips be sure to layer them in thin layers as big piles tend to rot and settle into depressions when covered over.

#496332 - 09/13/18 07:39 PM Re: Rayco Stumper or Excavator??? [Re: canyoncreek]
Bordersgent Offline

Registered: 01/06/18
Posts: 6
Loc: New York State
OK, Canyon - If I've attached these correctly, should give you a better Idea as to how I went about things...

The first image is a partial area of stumps left to be ground. Second is the stumper grinding a 20+ inch dia stump. The third shows the sheepsfoot down in the core trench. Fourth is the bowl beginning to take shape, and lastly, the completed pond with 5 feet to go.


IMG_5225.JPG (80 downloads)
IMG_5236.JPG (78 downloads)
IMG_5258.JPG (91 downloads)
IMG_5266.JPG (80 downloads)
IMG_5276.JPG (86 downloads)


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