What Happens to Roots after Stump Grinding?

In this article, your curiosity will be fully answered as we discuss what happens with the root components of the tree belowground.

Apart from felling a tree, tree removal involves several procedures, including stump grinding. The visible part of the tree above the ground is targeted for removal.

If so, what happens to roots after stump grinding? This is an important question we’ll be discussing.

Stump grinding serves various functions, as you’ll soon find out. You’ll be interested in the details below if you wish to go beyond the stump to get rid of the roots.

Root Killing – Stump Grinding Vs. Stump Removal

There are various levels or stages of tree removal.

While some people may prefer cutting or felling the main tree alone, which leaves behind the stump, others may seek to go further by getting rid of the stump.

Still, some property owners prefer to remove the root systems.

  • More on Stump Grinding

Stump grinding involves removing the visible part of the tree above the soil. This is done with the help of a specialized machine called the stump grinder.

As the name implies, it serves to shave the stump until it’s completely gone. These machines are well adapted to getting the job done.

Stump grinders utilize sharp rotating blades, which perform the shaving until the stump is flush with the ground. Some machines can even go below ground level to grind stumps to 18 inches.

This leaves the roots below the ground, which might be OK with some property owners.

  • Stump Removal

Unlike stump grinding, stump removal requires a much more invasive approach. Here, the stump is removed, and its connecting roots are removed.

For this process to be effective, heavy machinery may need to be mobilized to the site. Removing the roots can be a lot more challenging for more giant trees.

Because tree roots can extend to as much as 20 feet below the ground surface, their removal will undoubtedly leave a gaping hole in your yard. Of course, this can quickly be filled up, and the area leveled over.

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The good thing about taking this action is that you can grow new trees or have lawns planted.

The focus of the topic being discussed is what happens after grinding. Here, it’s clear that stump removal is out of the picture as the objective is to figure out what happens with the roots left behind after grinding.

With that said, the following section discusses this in detail.

What Happens to Roots after Stump Grinding

Having a tree removed and its stump ground leaves the roots behind.

The root system is effectively dead after being separated from the tree and rendered useless. This slowly begins to decompose and could take several years to complete.

Ordinarily, this would seem good for anyone since the roots are out of sight and gradually decomposed.

While that may sound okay, there may be underlying problems presented by decomposing roots. This is especially true when the such tree is within your yard and close to your home.

Termites or carpenter ants may come around for a feast as the root is a rich source of cellulose. Without a doubt, termites are among the most dreaded pest problems to encounter.

When done, these will consume the entire root system and can easily migrate into your home.

There are also situations where ground sinking may be experienced. This mostly happens when tree roots left behind are completely decomposed.

Of course, the natural decomposition of these roots will take several years to complete. Only then will you experience ground sinking.

You want none of such happening to you. Based on this likelihood, it’s best to have roots entirely removed from the ground. This will be helpful if the sources are close to your home.

For situations where the job site is far removed from your structure, there will be no need for action after stump grinding.

Discussing Your Options with a Pro

Having learned about what happens with roots after stump grinding, you may have doubts about what actions to take.

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If you do, it’s best to seek professional advice. An arborist or tree removal service can provide all the answers you seek. You only need to tell them about your concerns.

This approach is best taken from the onset. In other words, before the tree is even removed. Conveying your concerns helps tree removal services choose what removal approaches to adopt.

If you don’t want roots left behind, the stump removal method will likely be used.

Can a Tree be Planted Where a Previous one stood?

Absolutely! But then there’s a catch! If the roots of the previous tree were removed, planting a new tree would be no problem.

However, when the previous stump is grounded with the roots left behind, it becomes difficult for the new tree to thrive.

This is especially true when the roots aren’t fully decomposed. With hearts still in the process of decomposing, there’s little to no provision for seeds of the young tree to establish.

This is likely to affect its growth and development.

Also, decomposing roots alter soil acidity levels. This hampers the growth of new shoots. Suppose the previous tree occupying that position was a walnut.

In that case, growing new trees will be much more challenging as walnut trees’ toxins are secreted into the soil, preventing other plants from establishing their root systems.

Decide on What you Want.

Having discussed what happens to roots after stump grinding, you’re left with the choice of deciding what type of tree removal method you want.

As mentioned earlier, involving a professional throughout the process is the best way. Based on the knowledge obtained, you get to decide if leaving tree roots behind is the best option for you.

Tree roots will always decompose slowly when left behind after stump grinding. However, this might have consequences in the form of termite presence which can be problematic.

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