Grit

Stumped

Even in the Upper Midwest — not known for severe summer storms — we occasionally suffer major damage from tornadoes and straight-line winds. Two years ago, heavy rains combined with winds in excess of 80 mph caused the loss of four large trees on our property. Thankfully, the falling trees missed our house and outbuildings, but they left us a huge mess.

When our 70-foot-tall pine tree blew over, the entire root ball was pulled out of the ground. I knew a lot of work was in my future as I surveyed the damage the next morning. But I wasn’t prepared to remove a root ball from a tree more than 5 feet in diameter.

My options to remove the root ball were somewhat limited: I could hire someone with a backhoe to dig it out,

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