There are numerous reasons to remove a tree from your home or business’s landscape. Maybe it’s dying, hanging precariously over your property’s existing structures, or is in the way of where you want to build something new to make your yard more useful for you and your family. 

Whatever your reason for wanting to get rid of a tree, cutting the tree down is only half of the job — a stump remains that is not only an aesthetic eyesore but also dangerous. That’s why stump removal is so important. Below, our experts address some commonly asked questions about stump removal.

Stump Removal Methods

Many people use the terms stump removal and stump grinding interchangeably. But, there are many stump removal methods, the two most common being digging and grinding.


With digging, an excavator is used to dig out the stump. Digging removes most, if not all, of the tree’s roots and works well for eliminating many stumps at one time. However, this method is much more likely to damage the area around the stump and, if the stump’s root system is extensive, the excavator can leave large holes in your yard. Digging is also more expensive and is only possible if the stump is away from other structures in your yard.


Stump grinding by a certified arborist is the process of excavating a tree stump but leaving the tree root system behind. With grinding, a machine is used to pulverize the stump into wood chips, chewing the tree’s trunk and roots anywhere from 6-18 inches deep, depending on the unique needs of your yard. The stump is mechanically ground, and sawdust is left in its place. 

Common Stump Removal FAQs

Will the stump just decompose naturally if I leave it alone?

Eventually, yes. But, older tree stumps can take 20 or more years to decompose, which varies depending on the presence of pests or diseases. The stump will continue to be a visual and physical nuisance in your yard during that time.

Why is stump removal necessary?

Stumps in your yard are unattractive, reduce your home’s curb appeal, and sometimes occupy parts of your landscape you could otherwise use and enjoy. Worse still, stumps are dangerous because they – and their root systems — are a tripping hazard, particularly at night.

When a tree has been cut down, and a stump remains, that stump becomes a welcoming haven for invasive organisms that infiltrate the stump and lead to its further decay. Stumps host pests, snakes, and vermin. Once these species invade and multiply, they can prove quite expensive to remove. Timely stump grinding prevents these pests from inhabiting your yard.

Can I replant something where my tree stump used to be? 

This answer depends on which removal method you use. If the stump has been dug out and all of its root system removed, it’s possible to put something where it used to be in your yard. On the other hand, if the stump has been ground out, there may still be part of the root system underground. 

The decomposing stump can also change the soil’s pH. This may cause long-term soil benefits down the road but may also negatively affect your plants in the short-term. It is always wise to test your soil before planting anything, but especially if you are planting over a ground stump.

What equipment is used to grind stumps?

A stump grinder is a machine that allows for the stump to be shaved down until there is nothing left. Using a wheel with a spinning carbide tip, it gradually moves deeper and deeper down the stump. While effective, this process can be messy. Gaston’s Tree Service takes precaution to avoid affecting your nearby property.

How long does it take?

The size and location of the stump determine how long it takes to grind it thoroughly. If your stump is small and in an easily accessible place, it can be done in around 15 minutes. Larger stumps in harder to reach locations can take hours.

Will I be left with an unsightly hole in my yard?

We will not leave you with an unsightly crevice in your landscape. When a stump is ground up, the pulverizer breaks up the stump and shaves what’s left behind. This remaining sawdust mixes with the soil and levels the hole where the stump once was, eliminating the need for the hole to be filledwith other matter. Any excess sawdust can be hauled off to be turned into useable mulch. 

Should I remove my stump by grinding or digging?

Despite how noisy and messy stump grinding can be, grinding is often the most preferred method because it’s faster and easier to get in difficult-to-reach places. 

Additional benefits of stump grinding include the following.

  • Eliminates the tripping hazard a stump creates
  • Makes mowing the lawn easier and helps prevents lawn mower damage
  • Prevents future tree growth
  • Frees up that space for new structures or activities
  • Leaves a smaller hole than stump and root removal

In addition to the following advantages of stump grinding, stump removal using this method helps protect your property’s value. It removes ugly stumps that can detract from other landscaping features you’ve worked so hard to include in your lawn.

Rely on Gaston’s for Your Stump Removal

Removing stumps can increase your property’s aesthetic value, remove tripping hazards from your yard, prevent pest infestation, and create more usable space in your landscape.If you’re ready to reclaim your yard or have any questions that this article hasn’t answered, please contact Gaston’s Tree Service. We can provide you with expert advice and a customized stump removal quote, whether you have one to remove or dozens. Gaston’s Tree Service is here to help — contact us today.