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Is Tree Stump Removal Essential, or Is Stump Grinding a Better Option?

Once the laborious task of removing a tree piece by piece is completed, you are left with a sturdy stump that once anchored the tree. Now, you may wonder what to do next – should you leave it in your yard as is, or remove it along with the rest of the tree? Alternatively, is stump grinding a viable solution? Read on to find answers to common questions about the necessity and methods of removing a tree stump.

Reasons to eliminate tree stumps or retain them in the ground

If you’re unsure about keeping or removing the stump, it is generally recommended to opt for stump removal.

Initially, an old tree stump may not cause any problems, but over time, it can become a nuisance. These stumps can obstruct lawn mowing and pose a trip hazard for you and your family. Moreover, they make it challenging to plant new trees when you decide to do so.

Is it acceptable to leave a tree stump in the ground?

Do tree stumps attract termites? Shortly after being separated from the tree, stumps begin a slow decaying process. Unfortunately, a rotting stump can attract damaging pests like termites or carpenter ants over time.

While you can leave the stump to decay, the critters involved in the process might spread out to other plants and trees in your yard or even infiltrate your home. Removing the stump or grinding it down is the best way to avoid such pest problems.

Why else should I remove a tree stump?

Creepy critters aside, there are other reasons to consider removing a tree stump. Some of these include:

  • A decaying stump can be unsightly, impacting the overall look of your yard and potentially affecting your property value.
  • The area around the stump becomes off-limits when mowing, and the stump or roots could damage the mower if accidentally rolled over.
  • Planting new trees nearby becomes problematic as long as the stump and its far-reaching roots are in the way.

Is it better to grind a stump or remove it?

Stump grinding and stump removal each have their advantages and disadvantages. The best choice for you largely depends on your future landscape plans.

Stump removal is the more intrusive option, involving uprooting the bulky tree stump and digging out all its widespread roots. This process requires considerable time, effort, and powerful tools. The upside is that after stump removal, you have a clean slate to implement any new ideas for your landscape. However, stump removal leaves behind a large hole that can be unsightly until filled in.

Stump grinding is a less intensive process. Arborists use a machine to grind the stump down into small wood chips. While more efficient than stump removal, it leaves the tree’s roots underground. If the stump is large, the resulting chip pile can be considerable, but the chips can be used as mulch for other plants in your landscape.

What happens to roots after grinding?

Stump grinding takes care of the visible remains of the tree, but the tree’s roots remain spread out underground, sometimes extending 4, 8, or 12 feet beyond where the stump stood. These roots will naturally decay after grinding, but it’s a lengthy process, taking 10-plus years for them to fully break down.

If you’re uncertain about stump removal or grinding, consulting a professional arborist can provide guidance.

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