Tree Services of Omaha - Omaha, Nebraska
by David Steg on 05/17/16
Let’s Talk Stumps
Have you ever driven around town and noticed that yards have old stumps that break up the pretty green lawn? Homeowner’s that are not familiar with tree removals, often find out that stump grinding is not included in the tree removal process. Stump removal comes at an additional cost to the homeowner. I will cover how to remove these potential eyesores and some basic knowledge about this finishing touch to the tree removal process.
Most stumps will not decay on their own and will need to dug out, burned, or ground out. Most trees that have a base larger than about 4-6” inches are extremely hard to dig out, because trees have extensive root systems. The more mature the tree, the more extensive the roots are which make it very difficult or impossible to pull out. Homeowners can also burn or chemically dissolve the stump, but I do not prefer these methods. I believe stump grinding is the best method to remove large stumps. It is not harmful to the environment and tends to be a quick and clean process. A stump grinder has a rotating wheel that is lined with metal teeth. The teeth will slowly chip away at the stump as it goes in a back and forth motion. Most stump grinders will go 6-10” inches below grade, to ensure that the stump is removed. Depending on the stump grinder, some can fit into backyards too.
What to know and do prior to starting the stump grinding process?
Always make sure to let your tree care provider know the location of the stump. Some grinders may be too large to fit into backyards. It is important that all rocks and some retaining walls be moved in order to safely grind out a stump. The rocks will fly back and can cause significant damage to the property and can break off the grinder teeth. Also, be sure to let your tree care provider know about any potential obstructions near the stump. The grinders are able to go 6-10” below grade, but usually not deeper due to gas lines and water pipes. I always suggest having your utilities marked out prior to have a stump ground to avoid any mishaps.
What to expect during the grinding process?
Stump grinding is a fairly quick process, depending on the stumps diameter. Usually, the hole will be about twice the size of the stump, since the stump gets larger underground. The stump grinder will create small chips that are often mixed with some dirt. After the grinding is complete the chips will be placed back into the hole. As the ground settles, these chips will help fill in the hole. Larger stumps may require that additional chips be hauled away, but this is an additional service and not included in the stump grinding cost. Have a conversation with your tree care provider to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Can I plant a tree in the same spot as the old tree?
I hear this question asked a lot and the answer is no. Planting a tree in the exact same spot will be deadly to the new tree. Although the stump is removed, their are thousands of roots that are still below the surface. The roots from the old tree will try to suffocate the newly planted tree. I suggest planting at least 10-15 feet away from the existing tree, to ensure property health and growth.