After a tree is removed or falls unexpectedly, the stump remains. Getting rid of an unsightly tree stump can be done through several methods, but the two most common methods are stump removal or stump grinding.
What is the best method to removing a tree stump? The answer depends on the size of the stump, the amount you are willing to spend on it, and how long you want to wait to get rid of the stump.
Stump removal can involve two methods: physical tree stump removal, chemical removal, or stump decomposition.
Removing a tree stump physically while it is intact generally includes a lot of manual labor. Depending on the tree stump’s size and age, stump removal may involve digging and chopping roots and a truck or similar vehicle to pull the tree stump from the ground.
Once you have removed the tree stump, the hole left behind must be filled for aesthetic and safety reasons and the stump disposed in a safe way. Stumps usually have to be cut up into pieces and either hauled, chipped, or burned because most city trash services will not pick them up as part of yard waste.
Digging out a tree stump is very labor-intensive, and so it is generally recommended (and practical) to remove small stumps only. Not only that, but the cost of labor – regardless if you hire out the work or do it yourself – can be higher. If you do it yourself, you’ll be devoting the better part of the day to removing the tree stump.
Chemical Stump Removal
Removing the tree stump by chemical means involves either introducing chemicals or fire into the equation. Chemicals might include synthetic or organic fertilizers which aid stump rotting.
Fire is the quickest way to chemically remove a stump, but it is not a safe method by any means and requires close monitoring in order to avoid the fire from spreading. A smoldering tree stump could take hours to burn off, and if your city does not allow open burning, removing a tree stump with fire would not be an option for you in the first place.
Using chemicals to break down the stump also poses a hazard because you must make sure the chemicals do not affect children and animals which could come in contact with the stump. The chemicals, over time, gradually break the stump down to the point where it is easier to break up into smaller pieces, but some might remain and require burning. Even after the process is complete, you may still have to contend with the chemicals left behind in the soil.
If you decide to rely on decomposition to gradually break down the stump, you’ll likely have a long time to wait. Although it is the most environmentally friendly method of tree stump removal, the rotting process for a tree stump to break down naturally can take years. To encourage the rotting process, holes are usually drilled into the stump and filled with fertilizer, compost, or manure. Repeated applications may be necessary in the long process of stump removal using this method.
Unlike the stump removal methods above, stump grinding offers many benefits to getting rid of a stump, such as:
- Faster process – the visible portion of the stump is gone within an hour or two of the labor beginning
- Less labor intensive
- Less expensive than other stump removal methods
- A larger hole is not left behind after the stump is gone
- No waste – the wood chips left behind after the stump is removed can be used as mulch
- No chemicals or residue
- No burning needed
Unlike other stump removal methods, stump grinding removes the stump four inches or more below the soil line and allows the subsoil portion to decompose on its own. Soil and wood chips fill in the portion where the stump occupied above and at the soil line, avoiding the need to add large amounts of soil where a stump used to be.
However, despite the fact that stump grinding sounds easy, it is not advisable for people to take them on as DIY projects. The equipment is heavy, and renting it alone may cost you the same amount as hiring the project out to an experienced professional.
Ready to remove an ugly stump from your yard? Contact Omni Tree Service, Inc. in St. Louis today at 636-391-9944 for tree stump removal and stump grinding services that will save you time and money!