Stump Removal 101: Methods, Tips and Tricks

Most arborists and tree-care professionals will discuss stump-removal options before having you sign a contract or performing any work. But unfortunately, homeowners are occasionally surprised to find that the tree removal services they paid for do not include stump removal.

This leaves them with an ugly and potentially dangerous tree stump sitting in the middle of their yard. Fortunately, there are a few ways to deal with the remaining stump and restore its original beauty. We’ll talk about some of the best ways to remove a tree stump below; but first, let’s talk about the reasons it is important to remove most stumps.

Is Stump Removal Absolutely Necessary?

While there are some cases in which you can simply ignore leftover tree stumps, it is usually a good idea to have them removed. Some of the most important reasons to do so include:

Stumps Are Eyesores

Although some tree stumps have a lot of character and look pretty interesting, most will stick out in your yard like a sore thumb. And if you are trying to sell your home, you may find that they reduce the curb appeal of your property too.

Stumps Take Up Valuable Space

Unless you have a gigantic property that provides more space than you could use, you’ll usually want to have stumps removed so you can make better use of the location. You could, for example, install a new tree or flower bed where the stump sits, or you could simply plant grass over the area. Any of these options will provide more value than the stump does.

Stumps Can Be Dangerous

Tree stumps can be trip hazards, so for safety’s sake, it’s generally wise to have them removed. This is especially true for places in which kids frequently play. Tree stumps can also represent a danger for mowers and landscapers, who may inadvertently hit the stump (or the associated roots), which can lead to damaged equipment or injuries.

Stumps Will Harbor Wildlife

Rats, mice, bugs and snakes will frequently take up residence in old tree stumps. And once these tenants move into a stump, they can begin colonizing the rest of your property. This can lead to serious infestations, which are often very expensive to eradicate.

What Are the Best Methods for Removing a Stump?

Now that you understand the reasons it is important to remove tree stumps, it’s time to turn your attention to the methods by which you can do so. There are a couple different ways to deal with a tree stump, and you’ll want to select the best method for your particular circumstances, budget and skill level.

In the broadest sense, there are two basic options from which you can choose:

1. Using a Stump Grinder

The best way to remove a stump in most cases is by using a stump grinder. Stump grinders are designed in a few different ways, but most use a rotating disc or wheel that is covered in sharp teeth to chew right through a stump quickly and completely. You can solicit the help of professional stump grinders (most arborists also provide stump grinding services), or you can rent a grinder and do the job yourself.

2. Mechanical Removal

If you don’t want to use a stump grinder, and you don’t mind putting in a bit of elbow grease, you can use hand tools – such as chainsaws, pickaxes and pry bars – to break apart the stump and pull the pieces from the ground. This method will usually take a considerable amount of time, but the costs associated are very low.

If you have access to heavy equipment (such as a backhoe, tractor or all-terrain vehicle), you may be able to lift or pull small stumps directly from the ground. You’ll usually want to start by cutting the roots below ground level to help free the stump and make it easier to lift.

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If you need help disposing of a tree stump, give your friends at Evergreen Arborist Consultants a call. We’ll discuss your options and help you decide the best way to deal with the stump. We can also help you pick out a new tree to replace the one that was removed.