If you’ve had a tree cut down, you removed it because it caused some kind of problem. The tree was dead or diseased, you were afraid it would crash through your roof during the next hurricane, or it had just become unsightly or didn’t fit in with your new landscaping design. As much as we all love trees and recognize their value in replenishing oxygen, not every tree is worth keeping. But removing a tree causes another problem – the stump that’s left behind.
Why you shouldn’t leave a stump in your yard
Beside the fact that it detracts from the appearance of your property, there are practical reasons for removing a tree stump.
It’s a safety hazard – Children who run and play are typically caught up in the moment and don’t notice obstacles in their path. Adults with mobility issues may also be susceptible to tripping over a stump. Keep in mind the neighbors’ children who may be on your property, either with or without your knowledge or permission. If someone is injured while on your property from falling over a tree stump, you could be held liable. Even if your homeowners insurance policy covers such incidents, it’s an unpleasant situation best avoided. Not to mention the risks of operating machinery around it – such as a mishap with a riding mower.
It’s a breeding ground for destructive insects – Termites are especially destructive to homes in Florida, and decaying wood provides an ideal place for them to live, breed and eventually make their way to your house. They’re also popular with ants, which can infiltrate your home – and are extremely difficult to eliminate once they do so. Wood-boring insects can take up residence and spread out, attacking healthy ornamental shrubs and trees.
It could spread disease – If the tree was removed because of a fungal disease, leaving the stump could allow the disease to spread and infect other trees and plants. Fungus also is dangerous to children and pets.
Its roots could infiltrate your home’s water pipes or impact your home’s foundation – The stump’s roots could continue to grow. Depending upon its location on your property, roots may grow in an already-damaged water pipe – causing it to burst – or weaken the foundation of your home.
Stumps can cause new tree growth – An unrooted stump can promote new growth sprouts, known as “suckers.” As Hunker describes the process, “A tree’s roots stop growing when the tree is chopped down. Without leaves, the plant cannot produce food, and food is what fuels root growth. The roots, however, might have enough fuel from food left in them to produce sprouts from themselves or from the remains of the trunk, the stump. If a sprout develops enough leaves, then it can grow into a new tree.”
Stump removal methods
The three main methods of removing a tree stump are mechanical (using a stump grinder), manual (digging it out – only feasible for stumps less than four inches in diameter) and chemical (requires drilling holes in the stump – works slowly, and exposure to the chemicals is dangerous).
The Dangers of DIY Stump Removal
No matter how many YouTube videos you watch, stump removal is best left to the professionals – who have the experience and specialized equipment to do the job right and safely. Here are the DIY risks of each removal method mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Using a stump grinder – This is not a job for a first-timer! Risks include the following:
- Injury from flying rocks and debris.
- Injury from not wearing protective clothing, steel-toe safety boots, hard hat, earplugs and safety goggles/face shield. Most homeowners don’t own professional-quality protective gear that meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.
- Injury to bystanders and/or pets. A professional will make sure the work area is clear, and will have more authority to order kids and neighbors away.
- Damage to water pipes and utility lines (or, in the case of a natural gas line, potentially deadly explosion) from removing roots.
- Overestimating your ability to handle the equipment.
Manual removal – Again, you need the right equipment. Risks and drawbacks include the following:
- Injury from overexerting yourself. Don’t try to impress your family or friends that you’re a contender for the Strongman competition! A back injury can last a lifetime, and cause ongoing pain and limited mobility.
- Damage to equipment, or your vehicle. Wrapping a chain around the stump and attaching the other end to your truck’s hitch can cause serious damage to your vehicle – and also tear up your lawn.
- Failure to remove the entire root system – which is more a risk to water pipes and the foundation – and can also set up regrowth.
Chemical removal – While this initially seems easy, chemical removal requires drilling holes in the stump, and applying the right amount of chemical to successfully do the job. Risks and drawbacks include:
- Exposure of chemicals to children and pets. The stump must remain securely covered during the process.
- Not an eco-friendly solution, for those concerned about the environmental impact.
- Lengthy process.
- Final step may involve dousing the stump in kerosene and setting on fire. Enough said!
Hiring a professional for tree stump removal
While some of our readers who live in rural areas may truly be rugged DIY tree stump removers, we strongly advise everyone else to leave this job to the pros. The Paint Manager is proud to offer professional stump removal services at competitive pricing. If you become a member of The Paint Manager, you can receive a discount of up to 25%.
Our team has the heavy-duty equipment that large stumps require – as well as the experience and skill to remove them safely. You don’t have to try to figure out how deep the root system goes, rent (and haul) equipment or put yourself (and/or others) at risk. One call truly does it all!
Please note that we cannot remove stumps located on a hill or slope.
Before you call to schedule our tree stump removal service:
- Know the locations of your water pipes and utilities near the stump. Call 811 at least one week beforehand. This free national service will take information about your project and notify appropriate utility companies to mark buried lines so they can be avoided while digging.
- Measure the height and width of the stump.
- Remove surrounding grass if you want it to be replaced afterward.
- If we need to access your property through a gate, be sure it provides a minimum three-foot (36-inch) opening.