You’ve had a tree removed and now you’re left with a stump. It may be diseased, a safety hazard or just an eyesore, but you want it “removed.” To an arborist, “stump removal” means a very specific service, when you may be actually wanting “stump grinding.”
So, what is the difference between stump removal and stump grinding? We’ll answer this question as well as any other questions you may have, so you’re not left, well, stumped.
What is the difference between removal and grinding?
Stump removal extracts the entire stump, including the underground root ball of the tree. This can be a difficult task because the root ball can grow to be 4-10 times the size of the tree, spreading across your property. Once all of these parts are removed, there is a hole in the ground where the tree once stood. While this process of stump removal can be challenging, time-consuming, and often more expensive, it will also result in a more comprehensive solution.
Alternatively, stump grinding leaves the roots in the ground. The stump and surface roots are ground down until it is below the soil. The grinding process yields small pieces of stump, which can be used as ground cover or mulch. Any remaining stump can be covered with dirt, and over time, it will often naturally decompose along with the roots underground.
Which service should I choose?
Deciding which option is best usually will depend on what is going on top of the new, stump free area. Most of the time, stump grinding is sufficient. If you are planning to plant grass or laying down mulch, then grinding a stump below grade is all you may need. The process is fast and affordable, and as an added bonus, you get a whole bunch of free mulch.
However, anytime you are installing some type of permanent structure on top of the area containing the stump, stump removal is a better option. Driveways, patios, walkways, stonewalls are all structures that require a solid base. If this base becomes unsteady or settles due to the underground stump or root system decaying, it could result in damage. For example, if you are extending your driveway and there is a stump in the way, it should always be removed as completely as possible. If not, in the future years, you will probably notice some settling that will eventually result in cracked asphalt.
Not sure whether stump removal or grinding is best for you? A professional arborist can help. Our arborists can talk you through the options of stump grinding and stump removal to determine the best course of action for your landscaping plans.