Can I Leave The Stump?

    Date: August 30, 2023

If you’ve recently cut down a tree on your property, you may be wondering whether you can or should leave the stump in the ground. At Southern Pines Tree Service, we’ve seen our fair share of tree stumps and it’s important to know that stumps aren’t just an eyesore, they can also be a hazard and therefore should be removed. Read on to learn why this is the case and how best to handle stump removal. 

Problems That Can Occur When You Leave a Tree Stump Behind

While the task of removing a stump may seem daunting, there are serious downsides to leaving it in the ground. 

Suckering: A stump that is still living after the tree is cut down can begin to sucker. This is where new trees begin to grow from the existing root structure which can lead to added costs to have them removed.

Fungus and Rot: Conversely from above, if the tree stump or part of it has died, you will then need to be concerned with potential problems with rot and fungus such as mushrooms. It can be both unsightly and potentially odorous when the stump and roots begin to decompose. 

Property Damage: It is possible that the existing root system will continue growing after the tree is cut down. Roots are deceivingly long, reaching to other parts of your yard and even to your home which can cause structural damage to pipes, sidewalks, patios, and foundations. 

Pests and Insects: A stump left in the ground will soon be home to pests and insects. Ants, termites, beetles, wood wasps, snakes, and rodents will often build nests in the stump, contributing to their growth and propagation to other parts of your yard. 

Aesthetics and Space: Tree stumps can take up a lot of yard space that should otherwise be available for grass or other plants to grow. Furthermore, they do not look aesthetically pleasing and can decrease the curb appeal of your home. Instead, boost the value of your home by removing the stump and repurposing the space into a bench, garden, or open space for kids and pets to play. 

Safety Hazard: Ultimately, tree stumps left in the ground are safety hazards to yourself, guests, children, and pets. Not only do they welcome disease, pests, and insects, but they can be a tripping hazard and cause difficulties with lawn care such as mowing and weeding. 

Methods for Stump Removal 

There are several ways to rid yourself of a stump, from leaving it there to rot or using chemicals (both are not recommended) to excavating and grinding. 

Rot can take years to fully break down a stump before you can plant a new tree. Plus, a rotting stump exposes you to the problems outlined in the previous section. can also be used to accelerate the degradation of the stump. This method is highly effective in killing the stump, but you are still faced with its ultimate removal; and the chemicals used are often not environmentally friendly and can be dangerous to pets and children. 

Excavating can be done by hand, using a mechanical excavator, or pulled by a winch. These ways can remove a majority of the stump but require skill, strength, the help of others, and ultimately doesn’t usually take care of many roots. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can also cause significant damage to your property, waterlines, or even yourself!

This leaves you with stump grinding which is the preferred method by most people who are seeking to remove a stump from their yard. Stump grinding involves mechanically grinding out the main root plate, leaving fine sawdust. Although stump grinding is difficult and often requires hiring professionals, it is the least invasive, safest, and most efficient method by far. As an additional benefit, the leftover wood chippings can be reused as mulch in your garden! 

When to Remove the Stump 

Tree stumps can be removed at any time after a tree is cut down. It can always be removed, even if left for a while, but professionals recommend removing it as soon as possible to avoid the problems associated with leaving it in the ground. 

Looking for a Reputable Tree Service?

Tree stump removal is a common problem many people face, and it often leads to difficulties down the line. There are a lot of ways to handle removal, but you’ll have peace of mind leaving it to the experts at Southern Pines Stump Grinding. We are the best choice for all your stump removal needs; contact us today for a free quote!