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How to Remove a Tree Stump

When trees are felled – through disease, age, or weather events – they leave behind stumps. Not only are stumps an eyesore, if not removed properly, but they can also leave behind uneven terrain that makes it hard to mow over without catching the blades or tripping. There are several ways to go about tree stump removal.

Tree Stump Removal Options

Stump Grindingstump grinder

This is the most labor-intensive method, and most likely, you’ll need to rent a stump grinder or hire a stump grinding service once you’ve removed it. First, you’ll want to use a chainsaw and cut as close to the ground as you can get. This will reduce the amount of material you’ll need to dig up. Next, using a pickaxe, mattock, or shovel, you’ll need to dig out the entire stump and root ball. Once you’ve exposed the ball, you’ll want to use loppers or a saw to trim away the roots from the ball as much as possible. Doing so will expose the taproot and make it easier to severe it from the ground. Use an ax or saw to sever the taproot and be sure to wear steel-toed boots. We all like to think we’re careful, but accidents happen, and it’s better to be prepared. In addition to being labor-intensive, this method is also time-consuming. Depending on the size of the tree, this method of tree stump removal could take as long as 12 hours. As such, it’s better for smaller trees. Unless you really want to work out those shoulders, in which case, props to you! After you’ve ground up the tree to mulch, you can refill the hole with tree mulch and let nature take its course. The decomposing tree will nurture the soil as it breaks down and eventually, there will be no trace of a tree. Or you can fill in the hole with topsoil and overseeding it to cover the area with grass.¬†

Chemical Stump Removal

This method technically takes longer than digging out the stump, but you’re not actually doing work. Like the dig-out method, you’ll want to use a chainsaw to cut the stump as low as possible to the ground. Next, using the largest drill bit you have, drill many holes into the stump and space them out about one to two inches apart. Make the holes as deep as you can. Fill the holes with a combination of water and stump remover chemicals. Cover the entire area with a plastic tarp. Use an organic mulch to cover the plastic tarp, creating a mound. The more moisture you can trap into the stump, the better. This will accelerate the break-down of the stump. And then…wait. This process could take weeks, but the actual time you spend applying the chemical and covering the stump is a fraction of what you’ll spend digging out a tree stump. stump burningYou’ll want to check under the tarp every so often and add water or a fertilizer with nitrogen to keep the area moist. Once the stump is soft enough to break apart with an ax, you can remove the largest bits until the earth is flat and leave the rest to decay, if you wish. Otherwise, fill in the hole with topsoil and cover with grass seed or plant.

Burn Method

This is perhaps the most fun and quickest of the removal methods, but you’ll need to exercise caution. You’ll also need to check your city’s ordinance office to make sure you are allowed to have a fire. As with chemical stump removal, you’ll want to drill wide and deep holes into the wood, using the biggest drill bit you own. Afterwards, pour kerosene over the stump. The holes allow the kerosene to reach deep into the wood. Let the stump sit for a few days and absorb the fuel. Use large stones or firepit-safe bricks to make a ring around the stump before igniting. This will trap any stray embers from reaching your lawn and stop the fire from spreading. Once the fire has died out, scrape out any ashes or bits of charcoal, mix in some topsoil, and plant grass seed to remove all traces of the stump.

Hire Professional Tree Stump Removal From PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care

Forget the hassle of burning, hacking, or melting your tree stump and leave it to us! PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care is proud to offer tree stump grinding to Michigan residents. Once the stump is gone, we’ll make sure the area is filled in so the ground returns to normal. We can even leave the mulch for you to repurpose in your garden! Call¬†(877) 454-8733 or request a quote online. For more info on landscaping, lawn care, and trees, be sure to visit our blog. For the latest deals and offers follow us on Facebook and Twitter.



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