Tree stump grinding can be necessary if you've had a tree trimmed but didn't have the stump removed at the same time or if a tree collapsed and needed to be cut down. Whatever your reasons for needing tree stump grinding, note a few commonly asked questions about this service, and then discuss your needs with a landscaper so you know what's involved in the service.
What is the difference between stump grinding and removal?
Stump grinding is a method of removal, but it's much less damaging to your property and to the environment than digging. Rather than actually using a backhoe to dig up a stump and all the roots attached to it, grinding involves actually shredding the stump while it's still in the ground, from the middle of the stump downward. The mulch or wood chips that are created are then removed in small pieces, rather than pulling up the stump in one large piece.
This process of grinding allows the tree roots to stay intact so that they don't pull up extra dirt or disturb plumbing pipes and underground wiring. Since there is little digging around the stump itself, the pit left behind is very small and may not even need filling in.
Can the mulch be collected?
Very often the mulch or wood chips that are produced can be collected and reused by the homeowner; however, if the tree needed removal because it was diseased or rotted, this may have affected the stump itself. You don't want to use diseased, infested, moulded, or rotted wood chips or mulch on your garden, so note if these pieces would be safe before assuming you can keep them for reuse.
Should a homeowner dig up a small stump on their own?
You may assume that a stump from a small tree is easy enough to dig up yourself, but remember that a tree stump usually becomes much wider underground, so you may have a larger digging job than you expect. Also, because tree roots can be wrapped around pipes, your home's foundation, underground wires, and the roots of your landscaping features, digging up the stump can mean pulling up those roots and everything to which they're attached!
Consider too that the pit left behind after digging up a smaller stump can weaken the soil around it and need refilling and compacting. For all these reasons, it's best to leave this job to a professional stump grinding service.