After you have had a tree removed from your property, you have to decide what to do about the stump that has been left behind. Eventually, the stump will decay on its own, but it is a process that takes decades. In the meantime, it can create a safety hazard on your property, attract pests, and just looks unsightly. There are two other options for actively dealing with it: tree stump removal and tree stump grinding.
Stump grinding and stump removal are both effective ways to deal with the immediate problem. Which one you should choose depends on your individual situation. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each can help you make an informed decision.
Pros and Cons of Tree Stump Removal
Removal of a tree stump completely also means digging up all the roots that remain under the ground. This can be very difficult because the root ball of a tree may be four to 10 times greater than the above-ground portion. Removing all the roots requires digging a large hole with an earth mover.
Removing the stump and the roots leaves a large hole behind. While this can be unattractive, it also makes it easier to plant a new tree in the same place. Of the two options available, tree stump removal takes more time, is less environmentally friendly, and costs more. On the other hand, because the roots are removed completely, you do not have to worry about them attracting pests or creating a tripping hazard in your yard.
Pros and Cons of Stump Grinding
Stump grinding does not remove the stump completely. Rather, it uses a specialized wood chipper to reduce it to below ground level, extending as far as 18 inches deep. It leaves the roots intact to decay on their own but lowers the profile of the stump considerably, preventing it from becoming a tripping hazard or a hindrance to mowing.
Compared to tree stump removal, stump grinding is easier, faster, and less expensive, sometimes by several hundred dollars. Because it does not dig up the roots, it leaves your landscaping intact without the need to dig a large hole and then fill it in after removal is complete. Stump grinding is more environmentally friendly because the remaining wood chips can be repurposed as mulch.
For all its many advantages, stump grinding also has some downsides. The roots remain under the ground to gradually decay. Depending on the size of the tree, this can take 10 years or more. In the meantime, rotting wood can attract carpenter ants or termites to your property, which can cause even bigger problems if they make their way to your house. With the roots still remaining underground, it also makes it more difficult to plant a new tree in the same place. Since the roots can extend up to 12 feet away from the stump, planting a tree anywhere near the site of the old one isn’t really an option.
If the stump is near a hardscape surface or a structure, stump grinding may be your only option, as these could be damaged by the removal of the roots. On the other hand, if you want to plant a tree in the same spot, tree stump removal is a better option. The new tree won’t grow as well if the old roots are still in place.
Trust Martin’s Tree Service
For most homeowners, leaving the stump in place after a tree has been removed just isn’t a viable option. The professionals at Martin’s Tree Service can assess the situation and make suggestions based on years of experience. Trust us with tree removal, stump grinding, and full tree care services.