Stump Grinding Questions Answered

Removing an old tree stump gives you back some yard space. You likely have a few questions about the process.

What Type of Access Is Needed?

A stump grinder is about the size of a residential ride-on lawnmower, so you need to provide the workers with enough room to maneuver a machine of this size to the tree stump. If your yard is fenced and the gate is too narrow, you may need to remove a section of fencing to allow access. Further, remove any yard furniture or decor items that would impede the movement of the grinder to the stump location. 

Are There Risks to Underground Lines?

Most stumps are ground down to a foot or two below the soil surface. Although utility lines such as gas, electric, sewer, and water shouldn't be close to a stump, mistakes can happen and your stump could be right over or next to a line. Grinding down deeply means a line could suffer damage. This problem is easy to avoid, though, as you can call your utility company to have the line locations marked prior to grinding.

Will the Tree Grow Back?

One complaint about stumps is that brush growth can come up around the stump or from outer roots even after the tree is cut down. This is because there is still life in the stump. Grinding it down as far as possible kills any remaining life in the tree so that the suckering growth stops. Any remaining roots will die and stop suckering, which means you no longer have to worry about the problem.

What Happens to the Debris?

Grinding a stump produces some wood chips and a lot of sawdust. Grinding services will do a base cleanup where they rake up the sawdust and chips and use it to fill the hole left by the stump. You can also request that they haul away some or most of the wood chips and dust, which is a good idea if you are hoping to add soil to the hole so that you can plant the area. 

Can You Replant Immediately?

Replanting is dependent upon many factors. Some trees, like black walnut, release chemicals in the soil that can leave an area sterile for some time after removal. In this case, mulching and amending the soil is needed for a year or two. It's also best to avoid planting another tree on the site if the first tree died of disease. Otherwise, you can plant a lawn or garden bed right after removal if you build up the soil.

Contact a stump grinding service if you would like to learn more.