When a tree on your property falls or is felled, the stump needs to be removed. If you don’t remove the tree stump, suckers from the roots will grow and eventually turn into another tree.
Stumps which are totally dead won’t form suckers but they can pose the risk of forming fungal root rots, such as honey fungus, which can infect nearby trees. Although you can remove a tree stump at any time of year, ideally it’s best done as soon after the tree had been felled to minimise the risk of suckers appearing.
Physical removal is the ideal solution as it eliminates the risk of suckers and root rots.
Stump grinding uses specialist machines to physically grind out the main root plate, leaving fine sawdust.
Although you can hire stump grinders yourself, they are potentially dangerous to the operator so are best left for professional tree surgeons to use. It’s worth noting too, that some roots will be left in the ground, but most should eventually rot away.
Before you request the removal of a stump, think first about how you’ll cover up the ground stump afterwards – as this will determine how deep you need the stump ground down to.
Shallow grinding to 10 inches or 25cm below the surface of the soil is usually enough to allow turf to be planted on the area.
If you’re planning to replant or landscape the area, you should ask for the depth to be 1 foot./ 30cm. Once that’s done, it’s best to remove most of the sawdust and fill the hole with topsoil.
If a lot of sawdust gets mixed with the soil around the stump, it’s usually a good idea to add nitrogenous fertiliser such as chicken manure pellets or sulphate of ammonia before planting to avoid possible problems with nutrient lockup.
Expect stump grinding to create a lot of fine sawdust. This can be used as mulch in other areas of your garden, but not if the wood is diseased.
Sawdust from broadleaf trees - such as beech, oak and lime - as well as conifers such as yew, larch and pine, makes excellent mulch because it decomposes slowly, improving soil conditions by absorbing moisture, then releasing it back slowly, suppressing weeds and protecting the soil from erosion by wind and rain.
The alternative to physically grinding out the stump is to use chemicals to kill it with chemical stump and root killers. Chemical stump killers need to be applied to the freshly-cut wood, so are best used immediately after the tree has fallen or been felled.
These typically use either glyphosate or triclopyr as the active ingredient.
The best time of year to apply stump killers is from now - Autumn into Winter. Try to avoid using them in Spring or early Summer when the sap is rising.
Although this method can be successful, it is not environmentally friendly, so we would recommend eco-plugs over chemicals. Eco-plugs slowly break down the stump in a more natural and eco-friendly way.
Get in touch
LJX is one of Scotland’s leading independent owner-managed providers of experienced arboriculture services to domestic ad commercial clients in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Central Belt. Stump removal and site clearance is one of our specialities and we have our own stump grinders in-house, which helps to keep costs down.
For more information get in touch today on 01505 873 347.