Your garden friend, the axe

Like the Ginsu Knife, the axe has a variety of uses. I like it best as a burly garden tool: bashing through errant roots and eliminating small stumps with a minimum of brute exertion. I've been somewhat successful at the latter recently: Trees that were cut off at the ground will resprout if you let them, but a bit of quick axe work and a small squirt of herbicide decreases the likelihood of resprouting without requiring you to remove the roots and disturb the soil.

This is the largest stump that I photographed, but you can easily go larger with this technique. There is an upper limit on size, however.  Keys are for scale.  This stump was also drilled to let me apply a stump decomposition enhancer.

I'll bring the axe down a few times in one direction, then switch to about 90 degrees from the initial direction. Towards the end of the axe work, grab your handy spray bottle of herbicide and spray into the split wood. Don't over do it. Sometimes it helps to spray while the axe is still lodged in the stump since many splits tend to close up once the axe is removed.  If you are resolute that you don't want to use herbicide, then don't - it's really a belt and suspenders approach.  Splitting stumps exposes enough surface area that they tend to do very poorly in terms of resprouting, even without the herbicide.

For goodness sake, learn how to swing an axe properly, keep your toes safely out of the way, and keep the axe sharp with a mill bastard file.

- Posted at great expense from my iPhone

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