After a tree has been felled, it is often a good idea to remove the tree stump as well. Many people however are unsure of how to remove a tree stump. There are a few different approaches and we’re going to focus on our preferred one below.
Why remove a tree stump?
You may want to remove a tree stump so that you can re-use this area of land, or to ensure that the stump doesn’t pose a hazard. Once a stump has been removed, you’ll be able to re-turf, plant a tree to replace the one that has been removed, or to make way for building work.
Over the years a variety of methods have been used to remove stumps including burning them and pulling them out. Whilst both of these methods have merit, they can be hazardous. A more effective approach is to use a machine specifically designed for the task – a stump grinder
Stump grinders come in various sizes, but all use the same basic principle. A power unit, normally an engine, rotates a heavy fly wheel covered in teeth. The teeth are made of Tungsten Carbide, an exceptionally tough and durable material. (Having said this, if the teeth hit concrete, stones or metal will usually blunt very quickly.)
Scanning the area
Before grinding, the area is scanned using a CAT scanner. This enables us to find buried utilities such as electricity cables. Customers are also required to tell us of any nearby utilities that they are aware of. We then use hand tools to investigate any areas that we are concerned about, before setting up a stump grinding guard. This is like a strong beach wind break designed to intercept any flying material that could cause harm.
How to remove a tree stump
The stump grinder is then manoeuvred into position and the grinding wheel set in motion. We start at the corner of the stump and work from side to side in an arching movement slowly moving downwards as material is ground away. Wood and soil mix to form a mulch. This needs to be regularly cleared out of the way to get further into the stump.
The depth that a stump can be ground out will normally be determined by the size of the machine being used. On occasion, buried utilities or metal might affect the depth we can go, so to when we have walls in close proximity we may not be able to remove the whole stump. We normally grind out just the bole of the tree and not the lateral roots, unless these are on the surface. In most cases it is not necessary or practical to grind all of the lateral roots – especially when these can cover large distances.
The grindings are then raked into a neat pile above where the stump was previously. As the organic woody element of the mulch rots down, the pile will sink leaving a flat surface. If all the grindings are removed, you will be left with a depression in the ground. Grindings may be useful as mulch in the garden or for suppressing weeds.
If you want a tree stump removed
If you have a tree stump in your garden that you’d like to remove, The Blue Tree Company are here to help you. The first step is to speak to a member of our team to arrange a site visit. This also allows us to write a risk assessment prior to the job and to note the specific requirements. A secondary site specific risk assessment is then carried out on the day of work.