Show Your Trees You Care

Pros And Cons Of 4 Stump Removal Options

Cutting down a tree is only part of proper tree removal. You should also plan to have the stump removed afterward.

1. Burning

Burning out a stump requires starting a very hot fire on the stump and allowing it to smolder until the stump no longer remains.

Pros: The only real benefit for burning out a stump is that it is inexpensive and doesn't require any special equipment.

Cons: Many areas require a permit to burn out stumps, if the method is allowed at all. There is also the risk of the fire spreading, especially as roots beneath the soil surface can smolder for several days.

2. Chemical Treatment

Potassium nitrate will dissolve a stump over a few weeks. It is placed into drilled holes in the stump, which is then covered with a tarp so that the chemicals aren't washed out before they can work.

Pros: If you need a DIY method that requires minimal physical labor, then chemical treatment is a suitable option. Potassium nitrate fully kills any remaining roots as well, so there is no concern that the roots will send up suckers in the future.

Cons: It takes several weeks for potassium nitrate to work, and it may take multiple treatments to fully kill a large stump. After stump death, the remains must be manually removed before you can landscape the area. 

3. Digging

Digging isn't always done with shovels alone. A stump can be dug out with a backhoe or other heavy equipment, or it may be loosened with a spade and then pulled out with a wench.

Pros: If your goal is to remove every part of the stump, then digging is the most thorough option. It is well suited for removing the stumps for smaller trees.

Cons: Digging can be very labor-intensive, especially if the roots are deep or extensive. For this reason, it is not typically done for large stumps or if there are more than one or two stumps that require removal. 

4. Grinding

A stump grinder is a piece of machinery equipped with grinding wheels. These wheels are lowered onto the stump, where they grind the stump down to well below ground level. 

Pros: Stump grinding is quick and effective, reducing the stump to nearly nothing within a few minutes. Not only is grinding quick, but you can also relandscape the area the same day that stump grinding is completed.

Cons: Grinding will not remove all of the roots nor the base of the stump. Over time, these woody pieces will decompose, which can lead to minor soil sinkage in the area. Generally, these are minor concerns so stump grinding remains the preferred removal method.

Contact a tree and stump removal service, such as Live On Tree Service for more information.