Stump Grinding: Getting to the Roots of the Problem

When we speak of the care of trees as well as removals we usually speak about the more affluent branches which need aerial lifting trucks, or manual climbing through the canopy or we discuss the accuracy and security needed when trimming or taking trees down.

Today we will discuss the portion of the tree abandoned after a tree is removed:

When a tree is taken down, people are aware that should they not do something to the stump immediately then they’ll end up mow it and dealing with it for a long period of time.

But what is the best way to do it?

Many people don’t know how to get rid of it. Those who are “do-it-yourselfers” might attempt to remove it, dig it out, or even pull it from the ground.

Professional tree service firms are, however employ a method of removal of stumps, also known as stump grinding. This is a reliable method – as will be seen when we look at the alternative removal method for stumps that are not needed on your home.

The process of grinding a stump may not sound appealing, and actually, a lot of homeowners may not be aware of the process, but it’s what experts are here for. As a professional tree maintenance firm, we not only we provide the service however, it’s our responsibility to explain and explain the whole process so that you are able to make the best choice for your home and your budget.

The process of stump grinding that requires planning throughout the process and, in general when issues do arise the cause is usually because of fundamental misperceptions about the workings of stump grinding.

Many tree companies own the appropriate equipment needed to get rid of stumps. They are therefore able to safely use a stump grinder however, it’s not necessarily a guarantee that they will give you a full description of the services they’re providing and, most important, how it will unfold in your yard. It is important to note that there are some companies that specialize in solely stump grinding in North Shore.

Problems that could arise can be prevented by making sure that everyone has an knowledge of how the process operates and has a clear idea of the house after the stump has been removed.

Here are four tips homeowners should be aware of when hiring a contractor to grind their stumps.

Stump Grinding Problem  1: Misconceptions and Misunderstandings

The majority of the complaints individuals have about stump grinding are due to the issue of having inaccurate or ill-informed expectations of the way it would function. To fix this, it’s simpler to discuss what a stump grinder actually isn’t.

  • Stump grinders don’t work as woodchippers. They don’t transform stumps into usable, fine woodchips or mulch for decorative purposes.
  • They aren’t saws. They do not convert stumps into tidy stacks wood or sawdust.
  • Stump grinders don’t work as vacuums. They don’t put the shavings and put them in containers or bags to be disposed of easily.

So…what is a stump-grinder?

Though arborists are often referred to by many terms to describe their methods and equipment stump grinders do exactly what it says that is, it hydraulically and mechanically grinds stumps from the ground.

It’s as easy as that.

It is an tool equipped with a big circular blade, also known as a cutter wheel. It is moved into place by our arborists and it is directly pressed on the stump. The teeth that grind have sharp carbide tips at the end, which pulverizes or crushes the wood fibers inside the stump to form an elongated piece of debris.

It’s small enough so that just one person is able to move it to operate the machine, however it’s large enough that clearance and access rights could be a problem. There are stump crushers of varying dimensions that let us operate in all kinds of locations.

The solution relies on open communicating between the homeowners as well as the tree maintenance service on the limitations, capabilities, and requirements for the tools. Stump grinders can do one thing that is, and do it efficiently. If everyone has an idea of what this is, the procedure is sure to be a success.

Stump Grinding Problem 2: Clean Up

At Clearfell we pride in leaving our work sites clean, safe and tidy We also appreciate home owners’ “do-it-yourself” spirit and budgetary limitations.

Our clients therefore have a range of options for cleaning to choose from. This is determined through their answers on the questions below:

How deep do you require to make the stump(s) to be below grade?

  1. The grass/lawn is deep enough to be planted. the proper depth? (Approx. 6-8 inches deep).
  2. In depth enough to plant a second tree? (Approx. 12-36 inches below grade based on the size, age and type of stump).
  3. It is sufficient for driveways footer, construction foundation or excavation? (determined by the contractor on site specifications).

What would you like to do with the stump-grinding debris?

Let all trash remain as it is on the site. This is known as”the “No Cleanup” option. It’s the cheapest alternative, however it requires more effort from the homeowner.

Fill it back in the holes. We collect the stump debris and then backfill it in the hole for the stump and make the stump’s grindings equal to the grade surrounding it. We then remove the stump grindings that are left. This is the middle-price.

Make sure the hole is empty. We take out all stump material and empty the hole. The hole is now ready to be filled with topsoil, planting grass again or perhaps another tree. It is the most costly option because it requires the longest effort and time.

Options for landscaping that are custom. Clearfell can also provide landscaping solutions after the hole has been cleared like placing topsoil in the hole or sowing grass seed in the hole, adding straw matting or Penn Mulch and so on. These options will incur the cost of additional materials and labor.

If you decide to take care of the stumps themselves it is essential that they know what they’re committing to.

As we said earlier stump grinders aren’t saws, woodchippers or vacuums. The remains of stump grinding are a stringy piece of heavy, acidic fibrous wood and they aren’t suitable for mulching or any other landscaping purpose. There are rare occasions when the stump grindings could be used to keep mud off the walking path however that’s it.

Furthermore, the stump grindings could comprise the materials that the roots grew in such as roots, stones and native subsoil and even topsoil. The debris mix is likely to be a loosely scattered collection of debris around the area as well as the slit in which the stump was once.

We suggest that you let us get rid of the dirt as we have the tools and vehicles (i.e. trucks) needed to complete the task however, if you decide to take on the task yourself, be aware of the risks you’re signing up for. Be aware that the sand and dirt are likely to not be able to be used for landscaping purposes, and the mess is going to be massive. A lot of people underestimate the amount of garbage to be left to be cleaned up. Even the smallest of trees may require several truckloads.

Stump Grinding Problem 3: Visible Surface Roots

If you’ve noticed in your backyard or even around the neighborhood Certain kinds of trees have shallow growing root systems. A few of these root systems can be observed in the ground or higher and any person who has been in the path of one of these root systems when mowing can be sure about the damage they could result in to your own mower.

All varieties of maples honey locusts, hybrid poplars and willows are the most common examples of trees with roots that are shallow, reaching to 4-8 inches below the ground.

They are not only not deep however, these root systems could extend up to 20 feet from the ground on the tree. In fact, we have observed them extend as much as 50 feet!

At Clearfell we are trained to search for these roots on the surface and to remove them using our stump grinding solutions. Sometimes, the elimination of the roots might necessitate cutting or chopping out the roots using a sharp ax. They may also require additional grinding using the stump grinding machine, especially if they are massive. But be assured that we’ll eliminate them.

The process of removing stumps can be more complex for specific types of trees. It is the duty of a tree care firm to fully analyze – and even describe exactly how their final product will appear like. There are a lot of tree care companies out there who will leave visible roots in the soil after the stump has been mowed out. They may tell you that it’s not a problem and that they don’t include it in the scope of their job. But, the past has proved to us that our clients will be expecting these unattractive and obstructing landscaping hazards to be eliminated in order to preserve their aesthetics as well as practical reasons. You can achieve that premium final product – with no hassle by hiring Clearfell.

Stump Grinding Problem 4: Root Suckers

Certain types of trees, once the stump has been removed after the grindings are removed, another problem may be on the horizon.

In the past, we have talked about how to deal with “visible” roots, but what about the roots that aren’t visible?

The dimension and type of trees, stump crushers could end leave a large portion or all of “nonvisible” root system intact underneath the lawn’s surface. Some trees is fine and saves the homeowner from the hassle of cutting up a space approximately as big as the canopy.

For other species (notably fruit-bearing trees, honey locusts sweet gums, ailanthus hybrid poplars and mulberries bamboo, and many other species that are invasive) The roots will not just be able to be able to survive, but also continue to grow.

Instead of producing food the roots have built up enough food stocks to keep expanding for another two to three years. The roots are designed to sprout sucker sprouts. For the homeowner, it could appear as if they removed one tree, only to see thousands of saplings taking their place. At this point, unfortunately there’s nothing to do. The homeowner must keep the plants cut off or cut down, and eventually, they’ll disappear.

To prevent roots sprouting, you must apply an the immediate application of herbicide (by an State Certified Applicator or Registered Technician) following the time that the stump is ground out. The treatment must be administered within one hour – and we recommend it within half an hour following the removal of the first tree. The herbicide application then needs to be moved around roots for at least a couple of days to kill the undiscovered subterranean root systems.


Like many other aspects of tree care – and particularly stump grinding, it’s significantly easier to tackle any potential issues before the process even begins. When all parties involved have an understanding of what is expected from the process, as well as the cleaning and aftercare will be easier is likely to be productive.

The majority of problems are caused by people who have did not understand the purpose of the machine, its process through which the stump is to get removed. They also misunderstood the messiness that results from the process, the amount of stump debris generated and the possible problems that arise after grinding (such like root suckers) which can take a long time to resolve.

Companies that have experience in the use of equipment, are knowledgeable about trees and trained to lead clients through the entire process from beginning to finish can assist homeowners in making optimal decisions prior to removal, thereby preventing the issues before they get a chance to arise.

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