Stump Grinding Service vs Tree Removal

When you get rid of a tree, often an unsightly stump is left behind. Traditional stump removal can be a complicated process and can even cause more damage to your property than you would like. So you may be better off choosing a stump grinding service. We at Evergreen Tree Services recommend stump grinding because it is less invasive and less harmful to your property. But we don’t want to just leave it there, we want you to know the difference between the two, so you know why grinding is the better option.

Why Remove a Tree Stump or Leave It In the Ground?

Getting rid of tree stumps should be done carefully. If you are having problems carrying out this task or are having second thoughts, let’s share some disadvantages with you.


  1. Tree Growth - If you leave a stump unattended, new growth will be stimulated, so you will end up with smaller trees all around it. These new trees can be expensive to get rid of, and they can pull nutrients from the soil so that surrounding plants suffer, wither and die.
  2. Safety - Stumps are hazardous. They are stumbling blocks and can cause damage to your lawn care gear, such as lawnmowers and trimmers.
  3. Diseases and Pests - Stumps can become home to diseases and pests. Insects such as termites, beetles, and carpenter ants are attracted to decaying tree stumps. An untreated tree stump could also harbor diseases and fungi, and this will in turn put other plants at risk.
  4. Aesthetics - Trees are great ways to enhance your home, but a tree stump does the opposite. It will attract weeds, mold, and other things that make it an eyesore.

Tree Stumps and Termites

Stumps go through a very slow decaying process, starting from when they are left in your yard. Over time, a rotting stump can easily become home to carpenter ants and termites. So if you opt to let your stump rot, you can expect these critters to come at some point in the future. When they do come along, they can quickly move over to other trees and plants in your yard, and can even start invading your home. The best way to avoid these types of problems is to grind down the stump.

What is Better - Stump Grinding or Stump Removal?

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. The option that is best for you is based on your future plans for the area.

Stump removal is more intrusive, as it involves digging up the tree stump and all its roots. This makes it a very time-consuming task that requires a lot of work. You will need powerful tools and equipment, and plenty of elbow grease too. There will also be a large hole left behind which you will need to fill. The upside is that when you remove a stump in its entirety, you are left with a clean slate for your landscaping ideas to come to life.

Stump grinding is easier on your time, muscle, and your pocket. Arborists use a machine to shred the stump. The tree's roots are left behind, and if you have a large stump, you will end up with a large chip pile. You can use these chips for mulch!

Why Choose Stump Grinding Over Stump Removal?

  1. Stump grinding requires no deep extraction. We can shave your stump down until it is no longer an eyesore.
  2. Stump grinding is safe and efficient. This means you can reduce risk and worry less about your property and your schedule.
  3. Stump grinding provides comprehensive removal. The industry standard is to keep grinding until the stump is no longer above ground level. Stumps can be ground well below ground level though. With stump grinding, you get rid of the trunk and you don’t end up with a big hole in the ground.
  4. With stump grinding, we grind your stump into the ground effectively, eliminating the chances of the tree growing back. The remaining tree roots stay below ground and decay over time.
  5. Evergreen Tree Services takes the precautions to ensure that your ground out stump is not a haven for insects. So you don't have to worry about it attracting termites and other insects when we are done with it.

Stump Grinding Vs Stump Removal - The Process

During the process of stump grinding, the tree stump is excavated without removing its roots. A machine called a stump grinder is used to complete this process. The machine leaves either a sawdust residue or wood chips behind. When you choose to use a stump grinder, the stump is going down to your preferred height. You can grind your stump down just one inch below ground level, or you can go as far as 18 inches below ground level.

When you grind the stump down, it will get mixed with the soil over time. This will result in the soil leveling off, and you will not have the need for filling the hole that usually results after a tree removal process. However, if your tree stump is infected, we recommend disposing of mulch and any residual sawdust left behind after the stump is ground.

Stump removal, on the other hand, pulls the entire stump out of the ground, including the roots of the tree. This process requires heavy machinery with high-powered equipment and the use of a lot of force.

There are a number of reasons the process of stump grinding is preferred. For one it is easier to execute and the tools used are efficient in getting the job done. Stump removal, on the other hand, is difficult and leaves the environment in turmoil. The process of stump grinding is more environmentally friendly and leaves your property looking a lot better at the end.

Stump removal has the advantage of removing not just the stump, but also the roots of a tree. If you are certain that you do not want the tree to regrow or sprout, you can go ahead and completely remove it. When it comes to the disposing of the roots, understand this will be a more extensive and more expensive project, so you'll want to bear that in mind.

Stump Grinding vs Removal - The Costs

A number of factors affect the cost of stump grinding or removal. These include:

  • ● The age of the tree
  • ● The stump’s diameter
  • ● What type of soil the tree is in
  • ● The tree's root system
  • ● The number of stumps
When it comes to stump removal, the price can range between $370 and $675 per stump. If the stump removal process is going to be very time-consuming, this will drive the costs up. Added to the cost of removing the stump is the cost of disposal. There are also those companies that charge a per-hour rate, so the cost of removing your stump all depends on how difficult it is to remove.

When it comes to stump grinding, you can expect an average cost falling between $75 and $400 per stump. If the topology of the area causes problems for the stump grinding process, then it could take longer for the process to be completed. This will certainly increase the price. The price also increases based on the root system and the age of the tree.

What Happens To Tree Roots After Stump Grinding

Stump grinding gets rid of the visible tree remains, but the old roots remain underground. Sometimes roots can spread up to 12 feet underground or even beyond. When you grind the stump out, the remaining roots will decay naturally, but this will take many years. Some trees will take over 10 years for their roots to fully break down.

If you are still unsure about whether to choose stump grinding or stump removal, you can get the help of a certified arborist. One from our team can assess the area and provide their expert opinion. Get a free estimate from us today.

What to Do if You Want to Replant

If you want to replant a new tree in the same spot, your best option is to remove the tree stump completely. The tree removal process ensures the surface and the area below the ground are in better shape to promote the healthy growth of subsequent plantings.

Chemicals for Stump Removal

There are a number of chemicals that are used for stump removal. You will find these have a high concentration of potassium nitrate, and as such will soften the soil. When you opt for a stump grinding service, you won’t have to use any of these types of chemicals to decompose your stump. In the end, the battle between stump removal and stump grinding services will depend on your property, the tree stump, and your budget.