Yesterday I posted a video on why it makes sense to quit burning the stumps of felled trees:
We often cut down trees to make space for gardens, buildings or just because we want the grass to grow. I took out a lot of water oaks back in Florida because they were time bombs. Water oaks rot out on the inside, then fall to the ground, often destroying houses and vehicles. After two fell within a couple of years, I decided I was done with them – no way I would leave those trees to potentially fall on my children. Or my fruit trees!
When I cut them down, I let the water shoots grow back out of the stumps, then I would cut them to feed to our goats. Later, after I got rid of the goats, I would cut the shoots now and again and throw them around the base of my fruit trees to mulch and feed the soil. I never cut them back completely or tried to kill the tree – I just took some and let the rest grow.
With some trees, such as black locust, mimosa, ice cream bean, paulownia and others, bacteria on the roots of the trees produce nitrogen and the leaves themselves are often loaded with it. Instead of burning the stumps, harvest the tops like I do in the video. Chop and drop! Free fertilizer and mulch at the same time. Some “invasive” trees actually make great food for the soil.
This is one of the methods I wrote about in Compost Everything (https://amzn.to/2Ph44Kp) . Since I rarely have enough compost, I like to grow trees and plants that make a lot of biomass I can drop on the ground. Think “green manure,” except with trees instead of annuals.
When we get our own land I plant to grow banks of trees and plants that I can cut and drop again and again to build soil, suppress weeds and mulch my plants.
Fast-growing trees can be a pain from one point of view (IT WON’T DIE!) or a blessing from another (IT MAKES SO MUCH GOOD COMPOST!). There are times to remove stumps, but not always.
Other reasons to let trees regrow:
Firewood, via coppicing
Stakes for the gardens
A living trellis
Food for livestock
And there are certainly a few I missed.
It’s not a solid rule for the ages, of course. You can burn stumps if you want or need the space. Think about it first, though – there may be an opportunity you’re missing.