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Tree Stump Removal Chemicals Compared To Other Commonly Used Methods

Proper tree removal, in its own right, can be a challenging and daunting task. This is a process that must be carried out with caution and care, particularly for the safety of any persons or property in the immediate area. Comparatively speaking, however, removal of the main/visible portion of the tree might be less daunting than tackling what remains behind – that is, what is the best way to remove the stump?

A tree stump consists of the small section of trunk left above the surface plus the roots that remain underground after the tree has been felled. Depending on any number of factors, removal can be difficult – and potentially costly.

These factors may include:
  • Age of the tree (diameter of the trunk)
  • Type of wood (hardwood versus softwood)
  • Proximity to buildings or other structures
  • Proximity to other trees (root entanglement)
  • Soil conditions
  • General accessibility for any equipment

In essence, there are 5 possible ways/methods to perform tree stump removal. Each method has applicability in certain types of situations, along with associated precautions plus varying timeframes for the desired result to take effect.

The most commonly used methods for tree stump removal include (in no specific order):

  • Natural (decay)
    • Cheapest – smaller-diameter stumps can simply be left to rot on their own
    • This could take years and may become unsightly to property/landscaping
  • Manual
    • For trees in open areas and/or with shallow roots systems (maple, willow)
    • Requires a pick, shovel, axe, and/or saw to dislodge stump from all sides
  • Mechanical (grinding)
    • Power grinders can be rented to remove multiple stumps of moderate size
    • Fast and efficient (consider using an experienced stump removal service)
  • Chemicals
    • Will certainly accelerate the process of natural tree decay
    • May still take months or years before full stump removal can be done
    • Children and pets may be at risk throughout this entire period of time
    • High nitrogen content in these chemicals may be harmful to adjacent soil
  • Burning
    • For small stumps or as a secondary method to chemical or natural removal
    • Stump will smolder for several days – should cordon off the area for safety
    • May also be contrary to/prohibited by local or municipal by-laws

Chemicals may be a fairly economical approach, notably in cases where multiple stumps need to be removed simultaneously. These products will also speed up the decaying process, however, their associated safety and soil contamination concerns may prevent this method from being the initial choice of many homeowners.

Individuals who are not averse to some physical labour may opt to remove a stump by manual means. Others who would perhaps prefer a faster and more efficient way might consider hiring a professional stump removal service, such as DreamWorks Tree Services, to grind the stumps, particularly in physical settings with access that is restrictive or more delicate in nature.

Assessment Before Tree Stump Removal

It is important to consider the tree species before implementing a stump removal technique. Some stumps, such as pine tree stumps, are easier to remove as they have broad, flat, and shallow roots. Deciduous tree stumps are harder to remove due to their long and deep roots.

It is easy to assess the difficulty of tree stump removal by considering the age and size of the tree. The older the stump, the easier it is to remove. Similarly, small stumps are easier to remove than large ones.

The stump removal method you choose also depends on the total number of stumps you want to remove. A manual technique may not work if you want to remove 100 stumps.

Things to Consider During Tree Stump Removal

Bleach Can Be Harmful

Bleach can kill stumps if it is poured in high quantities. We recommend avoiding this method as it can harm the surrounding plants. Using a natural approach like Epsom salt will be more beneficial for the soil and the plants.

Diesel Fuel Can Be Toxic

Diesel fuel is ineffective in slowly burning a stump to break down the wood. It can also be toxic to the surrounding environment in your yard. If you want to burn the stump, we recommend using small amounts of kerosene or kindling wood for stump fires.

Safety Precautions

If you have municipal permission to burn stumps, make sure you watch and maintain the fire until it’s finished burning. This ensures fire doesn’t spread beyond the specific area. However, if your tree stump has too much moisture, it is wise not to use burning as an option. Even a chemical accelerant will fail to complete the job. It helps to consult a full tree removal expert such as DreamWorks Trees Services to accomplish the job safely and effectively.

It is also wise to implement safety precautions and wear appropriate protective gear before using stump removal equipment such as a stump grinder or chainsaw.

Impact on Other Plants

If you are using any chemicals for tree stump removal, keep them away from the surrounding plants to protect them. Although magnesium sulphate in Epsom salt can be suitable for plants, using it in high quantities can dry them out.

Use a Tree Stump in Landscaping

If tree stump removal isn’t an option, you can transform it into a work of art or a functional feature of your yard. There are plenty of ideas such as repurposing it into outdoor furniture, using it as a base for potted plants or turning it into a garden sculpture. You can also reuse the stump to grow new plants by simply removing its inner remnants and filling the hollow space with potting mix or soil.

Alternatively, you can opt for coppicing, an ancient practice of cutting down a stump to ground level and allowing it to regenerate for years so that you can use it for firewood, fencing, or woodworking.

Tree Stump Removal Addresses Aesthetic Appeal And Safety Issues

There are many reasons why a tree or trees may need to be felled, ranging from the installation of a swimming pool or a building extension, to disease/infestation, to safety concerns. Whatever the circumstances, the removal process is truly not complete until the tree stump has been extricated as well.

Different Methods For Tree Stump RemovalHaving the tree stump extracted as quickly and thoroughly as possible, perhaps through professional stump grinding from the experts at DreamWorks Tree Services, will offer homeowners a number of benefits in terms of:

  • Landscaping flexibility
  • Construction flexibility
  • Potential tree re-planting options
  • Safety of children and pets playing in the yard
  • An increased aesthetic appeal of their property

If you are uncertain about performing tree stump removal safely on your own, or how best to proceed in your specific situation, call the tree care specialists at DreamWorks Tree Services today at 647-924-2627 or 1-800-407-9917 or contact us to arrange a free consultation.

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We offer the best tree care services to maintain your property while ensuring the health of your trees by providing reliable tree care solutions.