While we all love having a tree around our homes, there are times when removing it might be necessary to preserve a healthy and safe outdoor space. But once the tree is cut down, the stump remains, which can be quite an eye sore and takes up valuable space.
The solution is stump grinding to remove whatever was left from the tree removal process. Although stump grinding serves an aesthetic and practical purpose, it doesn’t remove the roots. So, what happens to roots after this? You’re about to find out. But first, let’s explain what stump grinding is and why it’s necessary. You can rent a stump grinder here.
Stump grinding is the process of removing the stumps after cutting down a tree. You can request stump grinding services or rent a stump grinder and do the job yourself if you have the skills.
The stump grinding process will leave you with a pile of wood chips you can use as mulch around your garden. Note that this process won’t eliminate the tree’s roots.
Removing the Entire Stump
You can remove the entire stump with the roots, though. While you can do this with a stump grinder, the work is quite tasking, and hiring stump removal professionals is better. They will grind the stump and remove it from the ground.
Once that’s done, they will still need to remove the roots. Digging roots is time consuming, especially if you have huge trees. This job requires elbow grease and all the necessary equipment, which you may not have. Allow experts to dig the roots out for you. Even a mature tree with spreading roots can be eliminated, but this removal process is longer and more labor-intensive.
Reasons to Remove Stumps
While tree stumps may appear harmless, we suggest eliminating them from your yard, and here are the reasons why.
They Can Be Hazardous
If you want to create a kid-friendly yard, stump removal can help. When kids are running around the yard, they can trip on the stumps and get injured. Even neighbors and visitors can easily trip on stumps. In addition, small tree trumps can damage your lawn equipment if you fail to see them while maintaining your yard.
They Are Unsightly
I’m sure no one has ever looked at a tree stump and said it’s beautiful unless it has been modified. When left like that, it doesn’t add curb appeal. And a few years later, it will naturally decay, becoming a mess in your yard.
They Occupy Valuable Space
A tree stump, especially from a large tree, occupies a huge space. Landscape enthusiasts call that dead space. Removing the tree stump will free us space, allowing you to do something useful with it.
They Attract Insects
A couple of years after tree removal, the stump will decay and attract termites, wood-boring beetles, carpenter ants, and other pests. Any nearby trees and other plants can also be affected as the pests are likely to spread.
They Reduce Property Value
As we have mentioned, tree stumps are not attractive. And when you leave them sitting there, they can make the yard look unkempt, reducing your property’s value.
They Can Lead to unsightly Re-Growths
When you cut down some tree species, a new tree that is harder to remove can grow. In addition, the new trees will absorb nutrients from nearby plants, disrupting your landscape.
What Happens to Roots After Stump Grinding?
Stump grinding eliminates the remaining part of the tree that’s visible, going all the way to a few inches below ground level. However, it doesn’t eliminate the roots. And because the remaining roots are still alive, they can allow a new tree to grow. The sprouts can become whole trees if the surrounding soil contains enough nutrients.
A tree’s root system comprises feeder roots and huge perennial roots. In most cases, the roots won’t be an issue. They will decay, providing the soil with nutrients. The chances of growth depend on several factors, as mentioned below.
The Tree Species
Most tree species have non-aggressive roots; hence they won’t regrow. When large roots decompose, the ground can sink slightly, leaving a depression. You can rectify this by filling the depression with topsoil or compost. Rake the place, sprinkle with some water and some grass seed. After some time, no one will know you had a stump.
On the other hand, we have aggressive tree species which almost seem like they have immortal root systems. Even after tree stump removal, sprouts will still emerge. These species include maples, poplars, crepe myrtles, oaks, elms, willow trees, and Chinese Pistache trees. Their root systems grow horizontally, and because of their aggressive nature, they can regrow even after stump grinding. Such roots are considered invasive and might even damage nearby pipe systems.
Aside from tree species, soil quality can influence whether a tree will grow back. For instance, if the stump is in nutrient-rich soil, sprouts are likely to grow. The roots can also grow further, increasing the chances of regrowth.
If the tree has fully matured, the possibility of sprouts growing from the root system is high. That’s because the roots are still strong enough to support the tree. Some trees, such as maple and oaks, have strong root systems that can go up to 20 ft.
Using the Stump for New Tasks
We have mentioned that one of the reasons to remove tree stumps is because they reduce your exterior’s aesthetic appeal. But what if you can use it creatively to elevate its functionality and appearance? Here are some new things you can do with it instead of stump grinding.
Carve It into a Beautiful Sculpture
A tree stump can be a focal point in your front yard. Some artists create art out of wood. They can transform the tree stump into a piece of art, giving your yard a unique feature.
Use It as a Pot Stand
Place your potted plants on top of the tree stump. Depending on how big the stump is, you can put different types of plants, such as marigolds, ferns, and cornflowers. This is a better idea than stump grinding. If you’re worried the stump will deteriorate, apply varnish first.
Create a Stylish Coffee Table
Have you been looking for a unique coffee table for your home? How about transforming your tree stump into one? Smoothen it with sandpaper and apply stain. Finish off with polyurethane sealant, and you have a chic coffee table.
Hollow It Out and Use it as a Planter
This is a simple idea and more effective than stump grinding. Just use a mattock or axe to hollow out the center, then fill it with gravel and soil, and plant whatever you want.
How Should Grass Be Planted After Stump Grinding?
After stump grinding, most people want to simply maintain a neat lawn. However, planting grass after tree removal isn’t easy. The remaining wood chips and sawdust will take about a year to compost or break down.
The best way to plant grass is by first removing as much sawdust as possible. This reduces the amount of carbon that will leech into the ground. Add good-quality topsoil, then rake the area to even it out.
We also suggest adding fertilizer as it will allow the growth of healthy grass. Since it’s just a small area, you don’t need a lot of fertilizer. Finish by sprinkling grass seeds and wait for your grass to grow. Don’t forget to water the area regularly,
Frequently Asked Questions
Do tree roots keep growing after stump grinding?
Tree roots can keep growing after stump grinding, although for only a short time. Eventually, they will die down, especially if it’s a non-aggressive species.
Is it okay to leave tree roots in the ground?
It’s okay to leave tree roots in the ground after stump grinding. They will decompose after a while and become part of the soil. However, if they are making it hard to maintain your lawn, consider removing them.
How long does it take tree roots to decompose?
The amount of time it takes for tree roots to decompose will depend on the tree species. But generally, it takes between 5 and 10 years, and hardwoods take longer than softwoods.
What do you do with dirt after stump grinding?
The dirt that remains after stump grinding contains wood chips and debris. Spread it out if it’s of good quality to improve soil quality. You can also use it as fill dirt for low spots around your yard.
Where can I rent a Stump Grinder?
You can rent a stump grinder in Fairfield County, Connecticut and Westchester County, New York by clicking here.