Stump Grinding & Removal Service
After the tree is gone, you need to get rid of the remainder. We grind down and remove the stump for you so you don’t break a sweat!
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What Is Stump Grinding?
Stump Grinding in Washington DC
After the tree is removed, a professional service, like us, will always suggest grinding the stump to remove it. But why? Is stump removal something you can do yourself? Is it better to use a professional stump grinder or can you just leave it there?
We answer all these questions for you below, but you can always just ask us any tree removal question by calling, texting or sending an online message, here.
Stump Removal FAQ
WHAT EXACTLY IS A STUMP GRINDER?
A stump grinder is a machine that looks somewhat like a lawn mower or roto-tiller. It has a wide circular blade that will chew up a stump and leave nothing but sawdust and wood chips when used properly and safely.
HOW DOES STUMP GRINDING WORK?
A stump grinder will grind away at the stump hat’s left after a tree has been cut down. The wood is shredded up as the stump grinder’s teeth eat away at it. All stump grinders use a powerful, rotating blade for this. As the teeth circulate, they grind the stump into small pieces and sawdust. The grinder operator guides the grinding blade over the entire stump reducing the wood to chips. Then the operator continues removal by taking the stump down below ground level.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE WOOD FROM THE TREE STUMP AFTER GRINDING?
There will be a lot of wood chips that result from a stump removal. We can either leave these wood chips at your property and you can use them as mulch however you like. They can be used to fill in the hole left after the removal of the tree stump and will eventually decay and turn to soil, or we can remove them completely and you can fill the hole with soil to level with the ground around it.
WHAT TYPES OF STUMP GRINDERS DO WE? USE
There are several types of grinders available to us. Large machines for big trees and complex stump removals or little one that are almost like a chainsaw. Sometimes, we can use hand tools and a truck to pull a stump out, though that is only good for smaller trees.
Some of the types of stump grinders you may see us use are:
- Smaller, lightweight grinders that are typically hand-guided, walk-behind, or “handlebar” styled grinders. Because they are relatively small and lightweight, we use these most often as they fit into the back of a truck.
- Rear-hitch, wheeled stump grinders can be attached to a truck or trailer for travel and are then uncoupled at the job site and steered into place.
- Riding grinders are agile, like a Bobcat or tractor, with the operator controlling the grinder from a seat.
- Skid stump grinders have track treads kind of like a tank. The operator will ride in this machine. The continuous treads are used where the ground is soft and traditional wheels don’t work, just sink or rip up a yard.
- A stump grinder attachment can also be added to a skid steer.
IS A STUMP GRINDER THE SAME THING AS A STUMP REMOVER?
Stump grinders are different from stump removers, as a stump remover is auger-like (or maybe like a drill?) and bores into the stump from above. It tears out trunk wood and anchoring roots. A grinder will take out some of the root debris, but most of it will stay in the ground and return to the soil over time.
CAN I RENT A STUMP GRINDER?
You can, however, the rental companies tend to rent out smaller and weaker grinders to homeowners. If you have a larger stump (larger than your leg, for instance) then you really should call a professional. Just reach out here: (301) 973-3033
“DIY” SHOULD MEAN “DON’T INJURE YOURSELF”
There is a reason that stump grinders are generally used by professional tree and stump removal personnel: the good ones are heavy, powerful equipment, expensive and the chance for injury is high. If you choose to do this yourself, you need to be certain of your skill and confidence handling these machines before picking up a stump grinder.
Also, in addition to working the machine itself, we wear protective equipment to protect from noise and from flying debris. This stuff can severely injure or blind you. Debris is usually sharp pieces of wood, but sometimes there are other things in the ground, hidden. We’ve seen: old fence posts, old piping, bricks, glass, nails, and even old, lost tools! (Anyone need a screwdriver heading at your face at 90 mph?)
Because we do this professionally, we carry insurance against accidental damage to property from tree removal and stump grinding. If you choose to do this on your own, please consider the possibility of severe damage and make sure you have insurance that will cover any damage to your own and your neighbor’s property.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF DOING MY OWN STUMP GRINDING?
Beyond the simple cost of the actual rental, here are a few other costs involved in getting a stump grinder on your own and doing it yourself:
- A vehicle to transport it to and from the rental yard (we suggest a pickup that can be scratched up)
- Gas to power it
- Personal safety gear for you
- Strength or help to load, unload and move the grinder
- Strength to maneuver the grinder while using it.
- Materials to protect the surrounding ground from damage
- Material or screen to stop flying debris
- Chance of damage to the rented grinder blade teeth from hidden debris
- Debris cleanup and disposal (we offer yard debris removal as a service, too!)
- Homeowner’s liability insurance coverage
Compare what you need to buy, rent and provide, along with the time and potential help used and you may find that a professional stup removal service is a better choice:
We are fast, effective and efficient; plus we will make some mulch for you to use and we clean up after ourselves, too. We also already carry all the needed insurance and are trained for safety and effectiveness and we are a pretty cheerful bunch that would love to provide this service.
CAN A TREE BE REMOVED WITHOUT LEAVING A STUMP?
No. No one can cut the tree from under the ground.
DOES A TREE STUMP NEED TO BE REMOVED?
The final decision on whether to keep a stump in the ground or to remove it is yours, of course. However, let’s review some of the pros and cons of leaving a stump in-place. Mainly the cons.
- Most folks don’t realize how much a stump stands out after they remove the tree. It can often be quite large and especially if the rest of the yard garden or patio is clean and neat, it will stand out like a sore thumb. I have seen some people carve an especially large stump into a seating area, though, so I suppose there is that if you are crafty with a chainsaw.
- If you want the tree gone for good, leaving a stump in place will often have the drawback of little limbs (called suckers) sprouting out. This can keep happening again and again, year after year as there is a lot of energy left in the roots of that tree. So it is a cumbersome chore that will never be done! Also, while suckering sprouts are a natural response by the tree after its trunk has been cut down, none of this growth is useful and won’t make a healthy new tree. Instead, you’ll have lots of sprouts that turn into branches that will need to be cut down over and over until the tree exhausts its energy reserves. This can take a long time.
PLEASE NOTE: “Coppicing” is an ancient practice where woodland or forest tree trunks are cut down to near ground level and new sprouts are encouraged to grow from them. Depending on a tree’s species, the new, sprouting wood grows until it’s harvested for firewood, fencing, thatching, or woodworking. On a healthy coppiced tree, these cycles of growth and harvesting can go on for decades! But chances are you won’t need this in your yard.
- A stump that is not removed may also become a tripping hazard.
- It can also attract insect pests, develop fungal diseases that can spread to nearby trees, and cause soft, sunken spots in the surrounding lawn or garden as it decomposes.
- On the other hand, a stump can become part of a funky garden design, can be used as an informal base for potted plants or sculptures, and can be painted, decorated, or sculpted.
CAN I BUILD OR PAVE OVER THE AREA WHERE A STUMP WAS GROUND OUT?
You can, if you also get all the roots removed and get native soil (not potting soil) and compact it in the area. As a rule, do NOT build a support where the stump is. It can decay and become unstable.
ARE THERE SITUATIONS WHERE A STUMP CANNOT BE GROUND?
Most tree that can be cut down can have the stumps removed, too. Occasionally, a tree will be in am impossible situation, such as if they are in an inaccessible place, too near a building or surrounded by concrete (like a hole in a sidewalk where trees grow through). Sometimes a tree can’t be removed for other reasons, but these are all relatively rare and so talk to us. If it can be done, safely, we’ll let you know, as well as any potential complications. It’s best to check for hidden liabilities before starting to grind a stump, especially if you DIY.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES TO STUMP GRINDING TO REMOVE A TREE STUMP?
If you have a small stump, you may be able to remove it with hand tools. Having a stump with a few feet of trunk left on is useful here, as the trunk can be used as leverage to help loosen the stump. You’ll first use a shovel or a pick axe to loosen and dig out the soil around the stump to expose its roots. After you’ve uncovered the roots, you basically wrestle the stump loose by rocking it back and forth. It will be heavy, though, just FYI. If you have loppers, a pruning saw, or even a reciprocating saw you can use them to sever large roots and help free the trunk. This is strenuous physical work, but it’s not impossible.
You may have seen stump remover chemicals at the hardware store. This is a chemical called potassium nitrate and works by speeding up decay. You drill the stump, put water and chemicals in the holes and wait. For a good amount of time, and then sometimes do it again. Anyway, although potassium nitrate isn’t considered poisonous, it can cause minor eye and skin irritation, and you’ll want to keep children and pets away from the chemical and your stump while it is working.
Any other method of stump removal is probably dangerous , illegal or wasteful. I’ve heard of people lighting their stump on fire and burning it away. Please don’t do that, it is wasteful and I wouldn’t want you to start a forest fire, though it is harder to do out here in the East than it is out West, it can happen and can destroy more than a couple of trees.
It’s Time To Call Us.