Sometimes people remove their trees but they leave the stump behind and let it break down on its own, over time. This is definitely an easy approach, but it's not the smartest approach. After you have a tree removed, it is always a good idea to pay the tree removal company to also remove the stump. They usually do this by grinding the stump down to below the level of the soil, and then piling soil over whatever remains.
So, can't you just leave the stump there? Why is stump grinding so important? There are a few reasons, actually.
1. Stumps are tripping hazards.
A stump that is raised just a few inches above the ground surface is a tripping hazard. It's not tall enough for people to see it without looking down as they walk along. Even if you don't normally walk in the area where the stump is, a neighbor or friend might—and if they fall and are injured on the property, you may be responsible for their medical bills. Removing the stump is the right thing to do from a safety perspective.
2. Stumps can spread disease to nearby trees.
If the tree you removed had a disease such as root rot or thousand cankers disease, the fungi that cause the disease might be hiding out in the tree stump. They could proliferate and send spores out that end up landing on and infecting nearby trees. Unless you want your stump to be the Typhoid Mary of the neighborhood, remove it.
3. Stumps sometimes send up shoots.
Stumps sometimes send up green shoots. These are not pretty, and it's annoying to have to keep pruning them away. Removing the stump saves you from this ongoing labor.
4. Stumps can invite unwanted insects onto your land.
Termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-eating insects love a decaying stump. If you let the stump decay on its own, it will be there for a few years, which is long enough for these insects to build up quite the population. With lots of termites or carpenter ants on your land, there is a real chance of them attacking your fences, outbuildings, or even home, so you really want to grind that stump away before the insects do.
Stump grinding is an important service. If you have a tree removed, the next step should be to have the stump ground down for safety, aesthetic, and pest control reasons.