After a tree has been removed, the decision of what to do with the remaining stump needs to be made. Leaving a stump in place to rot is a terrible idea!
Stumps left in the ground create unneeded liability for the property owner. They also add to the potential for damage to expensive lawn equipment and can become tripping hazards. Stumps make it difficult to replant a new tree or plant in place of the old one. They also attract unwanted pests. As the stump rots, termites, carpenter ants, fungi all create new homes for pests. Such as rats, snakes, roaches and termites. It's best to not leave the tree removal process unfinished by leaving an ugly stump to rot away. Tree Stumps can be removed in two very effective ways. All without the use of toxic chemicals that are often used by homeowners.
Though stump removal is the preferred and final step to completing a tree removal project, there are times when full removal of the stump is just not possible. In these cases, it’s likely that obstructions such as gates or structures may limit access to the stump. When excavation equipment cannot be brought in, Stump Grinding may be the only option. It also may be the safest option when the stump has grown around underground utilities or close to septic drain fields. Underground obstructions may limit the ability of equipment like excavators to safely remove the stump without causing additional damage.
Stump Grinding is the simplest and most cost-effective way to deal with an unwanted stump. Stump grinding equipment is very small and compact. Often weighing less than most commercial lawn mowers. Because they are compact in size, they can usually fit through most garden gates. Thereby enabling stump grinders to access tight areas unreachable by larger equipment. Stump grinding leaves behind minimal property damage in comparison to the larger equipment needed to fully remove stumps. Because the grinder chips away at the stump little by little with each rotation of the grinding disk, no stump is ever too big or small for a stump grinder to handle. Time needed to complete changes with stump size, but all other variables remain the same. The older the stump is, the quicker and easier it will be for the grinder to work its way through it. Any exposed roots can and should be ground up with the stump grinder. Chasing root flares will cause damage to the lawn, making divots in the topsoil. This is easily fixed after the stump grinder has completed, by spreading bags of topsoil and placing fresh new sod on top of that topsoil.
Before Stump Grinding Begins
Call 811 to have underground utilities located and marked. 811 is offered to homeowners and contractors as a free service. There are two requirements for using the 811 service. 811 must be notified three full business days before any work begins and the work area must be clearly marked in white paint. This informs the utility locator(s) where to mark any potential hazards OnSite.
During Stump Grinding
Be sure to stay at least 150ft away from the machine unless operating it yourself from the control panel. Stump grinders operate at very high speeds. Any rock, debris or wood chips can possibly shoot 150ft through the air. Posing risk of injury and harm to bystanders. The grinding process is very noisy and can upset neighbors. It’s best to notify neighbors beforehand so they are aware what hours work will be performed.
After Grinding Clean Up
Stump grinders work by chewing the stump into small wood chips, creating lots of saw dust in the process. Most often this sawdust is spread out over the lawn, adding to the soil layer, retaining moisture for the lawn. Saw dust is noticeable for about 2-3 weeks until the lawn over grows it. New plants, or trees can be installed immediately after stump grinding has been completed. Topsoil should be added to where the stump once was. After filling the hole with new topsoil, sod or grass seed can be spread out to repair any damage that occurred during the stump grinding process.
When possible the very best method to do away with an old stump is full removal. This is the process of excavating the dirt around the stump. Likely the excavation process will cause the core of the stump to separate from the root system. Causing the stump to lose its tightly rooted grip. When the stumps center has been removed it will make excavation easier for the remaining root system. Root systems can extend 4 to 16 feet from the stump. If left to naturally decay, flare roots can take 6-12 years to fully decompose. Excavated flare roots should be piled up and placed with the stump in a debris hauling truck, to be hauled away and properly disposed of.
Because excavation equipment is needed for stump removal. The size of the equipment is subjective and comparative to the size of the stump and its root system. Larger stumps will require larger equipment, though in 95% of most projects a 2-4-ton sized excavator or backhoe can accomplish the stump removal process. The smaller the excavator that can be used, the more likely it will fit into tight hard to reach areas. Leaving behind minimal damage to the yard.
Full Stump Removal is the ideal option when possible because it leaves behind nothing organic to decompose in the soil. Causing there to be no future settling or movement of the subsoil. If planning to build or construct on the area where the tree or stump is currently occupying. Full stump and root removal are an absolute requirement. As it is for any future underground utility or irrigation systems. If planning on re-landscaping or grading having had the stump and its root system taken away will make that process dramatically easier as well.
Dirt excavation must be done to perform the stump removal process. It’s important to notify 811 for underground utility locates. Allowing three full business days for 811 to locate any utilities. All work areas should be marked and outlined in white paint.
After the stump has been removed it’s important to fill the remaining hole with fill dirt or topsoil. Compacting and grading the work area so that all water will drain correctly during and after rainstorms. Well graded and level soils will decrease erosion and ensure the yard remains in great condition for the long term. Yards that do not drain properly can cause foundation damage to structures and add to weed, bug and fungi problems in the lawn and landscape areas.