While people often do not want or need to remove trees from their properties, some trees pose safety or property risks, requiring immediate removal. Unfortunately, cutting down the tree is not the end of the removal debate. A homeowner or property owner must then decide what to do about the stump. Removing the rest of the tree is often the best option, but that still leaves you with the choice of complete tree stump removal or grinding. For creative or sentimental individuals, keeping the remnant is perhaps an option, but certain precautions are necessary to prevent further property damage or loss. How you deal with the remaining tree element is up to you, but understanding the process and the risk is paramount for making an informed decision.
The Necessity of Removing a Tree Stump
Time is the enemy after separating the trunk from the stump of the tree. Stumps immediately start decaying, but the overall process is slow. Unfortunately, that slow decay attracts insects and other pests. Termites and carpenter ants are usually the first to take advantage of the rotting wood. If there are large enough holes, other critters, like squirrels and raccoons, may take shelter in the remnants, helping themselves to any vegetation you’re attempting to grow.
Beyond attracting pests, a tree stump is not the most attractive object, especially when left to rot. It can cause problems for landscaping and pose a threat to other plant life. For example, planting a tree within 10 to 12 feet of the pre-existing tree may not end well as the root system can interfere.
Full Stump Removal Versus Grinding
Full stump removal is a grueling process, and your yard will look worse before it looks better. To remove a stump, a crew must excavate the property to remove any roots. The root system of most trees extends up to 12 feet in any direction. The benefit of full removal is there are no remaining tree elements in your yard. You can replant to your heart’s content without worrying about old roots interfering with the growth of new trees or plants. Unfortunately, the primary downside to full-scale removal is the cost. Because of the increased labor and time, full tree removal is more expensive than grinding.
Grinding the stump not only more cost-effective but because the process is less invasive, it has a quicker turnaround. However, grinding a stump does not eliminate the root system, which means replanting is not something that can happen right away. Without the tree and the stump, the roots will decay, but the process can take several months. Depending on when homeowners have grinding done, they may have to wait to replant until the following year. Many people are impatient and prefer to plant trees before the first freeze of the year.
While either full removal or grinding can take care of a tree stump, both methods have advantages and disadvantages. It is up to property owners to determine which option suits their needs.
Alternatives to Removal
For those sentimental homeowners who are wishing for a way to keep the remnants of a much-enjoyed tree, a stump can be used as an art piece. However, seal the wood with varnish or paint to protect it from decay and pests. Remember that rotting wood is attractive to destructive insects like termites and carpenter ants.
Removing a tree from a property is often heartbreaking but sometimes necessary. However, after the tree is gone, you need to decide how to proceed with the stump. Will you remove it, grind it or keep it? If you have a problem tree or want more information about the removal process, contact Martin’s Tree Service.