Expert Tips
May 21, 2021

Tree Removal: The Role of Stump Grinding

Did you know that the roots of a tree and the stump are likened to the tip of an iceberg?

When you do tree removal, you are left with traditionally unsightly stumps. Apart from being ugly, stumps can be unsafe and can host pests such as termites and harbor fungi and bacteria.

What happens to the stump left behind after you cut a tree down? Is stump grinding the most effective method to remove it? If that's the case, how do you go about doing it?

If your trees have become damaged or diseased, stump grinding is essential to clearing up the hole and the diseased tree chips.

We answer all of those questions and more below.

Natural Decomposition of a Stump

It will take ten to twenty years for a stump to decompose and rot away on its own if it is not dealt with correctly.

Many different factors can contribute to the time it takes for a tree stump to rot, such as the size of the tree, species, and of course, the climate and weather.

Options of Quick Tree Stump Removal

You can quickly remove a tree stump in one of two ways. One process is by digging it out and another, by grinding it up.

Digging a Tree Stump Out

A tree surgeon will typically use an excavator to dig out a tree stump. Using an excavator can do significant damage to a wider area around the stump. It is usually costly, and you cannot do it with stumps next to foundations or hardscaping.

It will, though, remove all, or almost all, big tree roots, so it's a good idea if you're going to remove a lot of stumps at once and then landscape the area afterward.

Stump Grinding

Stump grinding is the practice of using a stump grinder to reduce a stump to wood chips. It usually creates less mess and damage and leaves a smaller hole than other solutions. And, best of all, you can do it almost anywhere.

What Is a Stump Grinder and How Does It Work?

A stump grinder is a portable machine with a steel circular saw in the front. You roll up the device to a stump, and the blade then chews into the stump and spits out the small chips. That process brings the stump down to well below ground level.

Depending on the tree and the venue, the stump grinder usually grinds six to ten inches below ground level.

By converting the stump and roots into mulch, stump grinding destroys the stump left behind after tree removal.

What Are the Benefits of Stump Grinding?

There are a lot of benefits that you will find in using a stump grinder to remove a tree stump.

Let's look at the benefits below:

  • It is a quick and efficient way to remove a tree stump
  • It is environmentally friendly
  • It gives your yard a new lease on life
  • It removes unsightly eyesores
  • It removes potential dangers to children and pets
  • It reduces difficult-to-access areas

So now you can see the benefits of using a stump grinder. You might want to consider stump grinding for your yard if it is riddled with one or two untidy tree stumps.

Will There Be Property Damage After Grinding?

If done correctly, stump grinding will not affect your property.

A stump removal company will typically use plastic mats to protect the lawns or landscaping from heavy machinery. They also use barriers and fences to cover or protect surrounding buildings.

Is Stump Grinding Messy?

Stump grinding can leave the area in a mess as it produces wood chips and sawdust. However, when collected into a pile, these chips can be used in a variety of ways.

Making Mulch

For mulching, wood chips from stump grindings are an efficient and inexpensive choice. Sprinkle the grindings around the garden. It inhibits weed growth, retains moisture, and maintains roots cooler.

Enhancing the Garden

To make short walkways and sitting areas, scatter the tree stump grindings around your yard or garden.

Build an outline for your walkway or sitting area. Then lay a tarp on the surface of the ground and sprinkle it with stump grindings. It helps you by preventing weed growth and reduces soil erosion.

These are only a few uses for clearing and using your stump grindings. With a bit of research, one can find many more uses.

Is Stump Grinding Dangerous?

Stump grinding, like other tree removal processes, can be risky. That is why you should leave stump grinding to the professionals.

When using a stump grinder, the professionals have to:

  • Take every safety precaution
  • Be familiar with the equipment
  • Know the risks involved
  • Be appropriately trained to eliminate the extra danger

When a stump is being ground, it is suggested you stay a safe distance away. That is because the blade can kick up rocks and debris that can cause injuries.

Using heavy-duty equipment is dangerous! Therefore, make sure that the company has trained staff and carries the right insurances.

How Long Does the Process Take?

It is a difficult question to answer. It depends on the size, location of the stump, the weather, and more. Typically though, for one stump, the process can take between 20 minutes to 3 hours.

Stump Grinding? What About the Roots?

Though stump grinding removes the tree's above-ground remains, the roots of the tree are still underground. Often they spread beyond 4 to 12 feet away from where the stump once stood. Therefore we can deduce that just a few of the tree's roots are removed during stump grinding.

These roots will naturally degrade after grinding, but it will take a long time. They can take up to ten years to decompose fully.

Don't Get Stumped!

There are many reasons to want to remove tree stumps from your yard. Removing stumps also guarantees the welfare of family members and neighbors and enhances aesthetics and hygiene issues.

The difficulty, though, is choosing which approach to use. We hope we have shown you the reasons to select stump grinding.

Contact us for all your North Georgia tree care needs, from trimming to full-scale removal!

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