Getting an unsightly tree stump out of your yard can be quite the ordeal. Small stumps look like they’d be easy enough to dig up or chop off, but this is rarely the case. Tree root systems often go much deeper than many homeowners anticipate. A job that looks like 2 hours instead turns into 12 hours. Luckily, you’ve got two options when it comes to taking care of that tree stump: stump removal and stump grinding.

In this article, you’ll learn the difference between stump removal and stump grinding, and when each option is best for your particular situation.

The Stump Removal Process

Removing a stump often takes heavy machinery, because tree roots spread far and wide underground. The most efficient way to remove a stump is by using massive force to pull it out of the ground. But, as you can imagine, you’re left with a gaping hole where the stump used to be. Plus, heavy-duty machinery has a tendency to tear up yards in the process, leaving you with a mess.

Stump removal is best used in a handful of situations. For example, if you’re clearing a lot to build on it, you’ll probably want stump removal. Or, if you want to plant another tree in the exact place where your old tree was, removal is your best bet. But, for most homeowners, stump grinding is the best option.

The Stump Grinding Process

Stump grinding also requires machinery, but not of the same kind as stump removal. Usually, a stump grinder is brought in, which is much more forgiving to your yard than the heavy-duty machines used for removal.

With the stump grinder, tree removal experts usually grind the stump down to a few inches below the soil. It does create a lot of sawdust, which you can use to cover the stump and as mulch. However, be aware that tree sawdust attracts termites. Many tree removal companies offer to haul off the excess sawdust for you for additional cost, but it is labor intensive and can be equal to or greater than the price of the grinding.

Stump grinding leaves the root system intact, which means you don’t have a massive hole in your yard. You’ll have a shallow hole about the size of the trunk itself, but it’s fairly easy to cover up with a little bit of soil. After many years, the trunk and tree roots will decay into the ground, meaning you don’t have to do anything with them. However, you won’t be able to plant a tree in that exact spot.

Stump Grinding and Stump Removal Cost

Every arborist is different when it comes to cost, but you can bet that stump removal will be more expensive than stump grinding. Removal is more labor-intensive and requires the use of heavy machinery that is sometimes hard to maneuver into yards, depending on the layout. Not to mention the cost of filling in the big hole that stump removal leaves.

Stump grinding is the more economical choice, usually being anywhere from $75 to $200 dollars less than stump removal. Of course, there is a small possibility that the decaying stump will sprout a new tree, but this is not usually the case.

Now you have all the information to make an informed decision. Unless you’re excavating or you insist on planting a new tree right where the old one was, stump grinding is your best option. Either way, working with a professional is the way to go. Both grinding and removing tree stumps require specialized equipment and experience. Avoid the headache and call a tree service for your stump removal needs.