Stump Grinding vs. Removal: Choosing the Right Option for Your Nashville Trees

Stumps are an unsightly disruption to the topography of your yard, but their negative impact can go far beyond visual aesthetics. Stump grinding and stump removal are two different tactics to take this issue on, and both have their pros and cons. If you’ve got a stump you need to make disappear, which option is right for you?


Stumps are ugly, and you certainly don’t need any other reason to want them gone, but did you know that stumps can cause other, more serious issues for your property? Some people don’t mind a stump. Large tree stumps might become the flat base for yard decor or a few planters for some pragmatic property owners. Whether you like the stump on your lawn or not, stump removal or stump grinding is necessary. Stumps are problems for a few reasons, but one of the biggest is that they can act like pest magnets. From insects to small mammals like chipmunks and rats, a stump is a haven for nuisance creatures. Since stumps are either completely or mostly dead trees, the defense mechanisms they had in life are non-existent. This means that the bark and core wood of the tree are now brittle and easily burrowed within. Insects like termites love setting up colonies in the dead wood of a tree stump because it’s easier to eat. Once their colony grows beyond the stump, however, they are going to start looking to spread out to neighboring trees or even your home.

Dead roots that are rotting in the ground can attract all kinds of insects that can move onto the other trees and grass roots in your lawn once they’re done with the stump. Chipmunks, mice, moles, and rats can all decide your property is a nice place to make a home after finding a suitable stump to nest in. This can lead to them spreading out on your property, eating your other plants, and even finding their way into your home. Stump grinding vs. removal boils down to an issue of the future.

Pests aren’t the only problem that comes with a rotting stump, either. Fungi like mushrooms love to grow on and around stumps because they’re soft and soak up moisture. This makes your stump the perfect place for a sudden explosion of fungal growth, which can spread throughout your yard. Some fungal life is fine in a garden or yard, but when there’s too much, it’s unsightly. Additionally, fungi can take over your yard and begin to kill grass roots by depriving them of adequate moisture. Mold and fungus can spread underground via dead root systems after taking over a stump, spreading to healthy trees and taking them over, too.

Stumps also pose safety risks for your family, as navigating around a low stump can be difficult. All it takes is forgetting it’s there one time to trip over it, and that can cause injuries. Additionally, lawn maintenance is trickier. Mowing around an old stump is difficult, and you’ll need to spend more time weed-eating around the stump to ensure it’s not an unsightly spot of long grass in your otherwise well-manicured yard. Eliminating the stump from your yard is the best bet, but is it better to grind or remove a tree stump?

Stump Grinding vs. Stump Removal

Stump Grinding

Stump grinding is probably the more popular way to handle a stump in your yard, and it’s mainly due to cost. Stump grinding is cheaper than stump removal because it only calls for the use of one specialized machine. Stump grinding can be done relatively quickly, usually on the same day as tree removal if you’re also having a landscaping company remove the tree in question. The process of stump grinding is simple. A large machine is positioned over the stump, and it’s lowered as it grinds the wood down. Stumps are ground down about 6-8 inches beneath your lawn, removing the unsightly and potentially dangerous stump from view. The area is then covered with topsoil and seeded. After a few weeks, it should look as good as new. Stump grinding is more affordable than full removal, but it’s not without its drawbacks. Since some of the tree remains behind in the ground, the risk of pests is not fully eliminated, though it is significantly lowered. Since all of the tree’s roots remain behind, they can prevent new growth in the area, stopping the proper growth of trees and even smaller plants and flowers.

Stump Removal

Consider stump removal the more intense option when it comes to addressing a stump. Removal is a more involved process than stump grinding, and the cost of the service will reflect that. Rather than grinding away the upper portion of a stump, full stump removal takes the whole thing out of the ground. Undoubtedly, this process is more time-consuming and will damage your lawn more than grinding.

The reasons for total stump removal are many, but most revolve around future planting. When you remove a stump entirely, you pull up many of the larger roots from the ground as well. This makes it possible to plant a new tree in that location. Stump grinding leaves too much of a tree’s subterranean system in the ground to allow for new growth in its place. Stump grinding usually involves digging and the use of machinery to pull the stump from the ground. This process can displace dirt and pull up roots that may in turn tear away the surrounding grass from the yard. The recovery time for stump removal takes longer, and you’ll need to spend some real time and energy rehabilitating your lawn in this area. Fortunately, tree services that remove stumps will also be able to set up a maintenance schedule for you, taking the worry off your plate. At The Parke Company, we’re well-versed in stump removal and lawn restoration, so you’re in good hands. Stump grinding vs. stump removal is mostly a matter of cost. The budget for stump grinding is usually a few hundred dollars cheaper than removal. Ultimately, the better option comes down to your specific needs.

Whether you need to remove a stump entirely or simply have it ground down to plant over it with grass, the pros at The Parke Company are here to serve your tree service needs. When the time comes to remove a stump from your lawn, give us a call for a free consultation and estimate.