Tree removal doesn’t stop with cutting down the tree. You must also consider your options for removing the stump that remains.
A stump may look like a quaint addition to the yard, but think twice before you place a flower pot or birdbath on top of it. A stump can lead to several problems in the landscape.
Stumps can be an open invitation to pests that feed on or nest in deadwood, like carpenter ants or termites. If you invite these insects into your yard, they may eventually spread to your home or outbuildings once they have exhausted the food supply at the stump. Other pests, like skunks, will also sometimes nest in or underneath old stumps.
A stump can pose a hazard to people and other trees, as well. For people, the tree stump poses a tripping hazard. As for other trees, if the tree was removed due to disease, leaving the stump in place could allow the disease to continue to spread in your yard until the disease eventually spreads to other healthy trees in the area.
Tree stumps, particularly those of deciduous trees, can regrow from the stump. Generally, this growth occurs as scrubby growth, called suckers, on and around the stump. Sometimes these suckers come up from roots further out, though, which can impact other parts of your landscaping.
You have several options for removal, depending on the size of the tree and your personal preference.
Manual removal is often the easiest way to completely remove the stump, but it is only suitable for smaller trees that had not yet developed extensive root systems. Even with full stump removal, some of the roots will likely remain in the ground. A tree service will dig a trench around the stump and cut through the longer roots; then they will lever the main part of the stump out. This method leaves a hole.
Chemical stump killers require minimal effort but take some time to work. First, holes are drilled in the stump. Then, stump remover, typically potassium nitrate, is poured into these holes. Over the next few weeks the chemical moves through the stump and kills the wood, making it spongy. This spongy wood can easily be broken up and removed.
Stump grinding is the preferred removal method for most tree stumps. You can grind any stump regardless of size, and there is no waiting period for removal. A tree service will use a stump grinder to grind down the stump to well below the soil surface. The service will also cart away the wood, although you may be able to keep them for mulch if pests or disease from the dead tree aren’t a concern.
Once the tree and stump are gone, you need to repair the landscaping before weeds take over the site.
Unless you had the stump dug out completely, the area where the stump once stood will likely face issues with levelling over the next few years. This is because the remains of the stump in the soil will decompose slowly, causing the site to sink. Fill in the site until it is slightly above the soil surface right after removal, then top dress the area with fresh compost or topsoil when necessary.
You may want to replant a tree exactly where you had the old one removed, but the remains of the old tree can inhibit the root zone for any new planting. Instead, plant new trees about 3 feet from the site of the old stump. You can mulch around the new tree, which will cover the old stump site so it is no longer visible in the landscape.
Another simple fix is to level the site, add some fresh topsoil, and then lay sod over the bare area where the stump once was. Sod can establish within a few weeks, providing a quick fix.
Do you need to get rid of a stump? Contact Community Tree Service, Inc. for more help.