What Happens if You Don't Grind or Remove the Stump?

If left unattended, the stump and roots of a tree will start to decay and, over time, become a haven for pests, fungi, and other organisms.


is the most cost-effective approach to deal with stumps, but it has some drawbacks. For instance, shredding the stump will not eradicate its root system, which can damage the foundation of the house. It can also draw in pests, such as termites, who are looking for wood chips to feast on. Shredding the stumps takes about an hour and you'll want a professional to handle it if there are utility lines in the ground around the stump or roots.

While shredding the stumps eliminates the visible remains of the tree, the roots of the old tree are still extended underground, sometimes 4, 8, or 12 feet beyond where the stump was. After shredding, these roots will naturally rot, but it's a long process. It can take more than 10 years for roots to completely decompose. If you're uncertain whether it's better to remove the stump or grind it up, a professional arborist can help. However, roots that remain after grinding the stump will impede the growth of a new tree.

Not only do old roots occupy the space where the new ones should take root, but their decay will also alter the acidity of the soil. Therefore, the new tree may struggle to develop. Cutting them and leaving a trunk does not guarantee that they will not grow again. The right equipment for removing stumps can ensure that they don't regrow. If you don't want your tree to come back, it is highly recommended that you remove the stump.

The quickest and easiest way to remove a tree stump is to use a stump grinder, but renting it is expensive and may require some hard work. Whether it's best to grind or remove a stump depends on your professional tree service's advice and how you want your landscape to look after removal.

Victor Ulmer
Victor Ulmer

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