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What’s the Difference Between Stump Grinding and Stump Removal?

Tree stumps, while natural and seemingly harmless, may be dangerous for the safety of your family as well as your yard’s health. Tripping on them can cause serious injury to people and pets, an issue that may be exaggerated by the condition of the rest of your yard. Having to maneuver around them while weeding and mowing also presents additional work and this is where it becomes important to get a tree service to help with removing the stumps.

Stump Removal Options

Whether you’ve just cut a tree down or you’re trying to remove a stump that’s been in your yard for a while, there are two methods you can use. These are stump grinding and stump removal or stump-pulling.

The method you choose will depend on a few factors as well as the professional advice of a tree service expert. Involve one at the early stages so that you can find the best option for your needs and you do what will work best for your specific situation.

Have a look at the definition of each method as well as the pros and cons associated with each. Before proceeding, note that both of these methods include the use of powerful equipment and due to the risks involved, they should not be attempted without the help of professionals.

Stump Grinding

This first method is done with a powerful machine that grinds the stump down to the required height so it can match the rest of the landscape and blend seamlessly with it. While this gets rid of the stump, it leaves behind the tree’s roots. These roots may not be completely dead and so they may sprout, develop fungi, or even have the tree grow again if it was not fundamentally destroyed.


The advantages of using this method include:

  • It’s fast and efficient to do
  • It’s very environmentally friendly because the resulting waste can be used as mulch
  • A lot more economical than stump removal
  • The less intrusive method of the two
  • Leaves your yard with a clean slate


Some of the disadvantage are:

  • The tree’s roots remain, and it’s not possible to tell what they will do as conditions change
  • Can be messy unless it’s done by a team of experts who have experience and the right equipment

Stump Removal

Also called stump-pulling, this method involves removing the entire tree stump, along with its roots. It requires a lot of force and heavy equipment, and due to this, it can be very intrusive. It leaves a large hole behind, which often has to be filled in to eliminate the hazard posed by a gaping hole.


  • This method removes the entire tree, along with the roots. You therefore don’t have to wait for roots to decay, nor worry about the tree growing back up.
  • There’s no risk of fungi and other complications in the future


Some disadvantages that come with this method include:

  • This method generally costs considerably more than stump grinding
  • It’s a lot more intrusive
  • It’s not very environmentally friendly as the removed stump must be disposed of and cannot be reused
  • It leaves a large hole in your yard which calls for refilling to avoid posing a hazard

Both of these tree stump removal methods have their fair share of pros and cons, and so it’s good to involve a tree service expert, like one from Fox Valley Tree Care, from the start. As mentioned, they can advise you accordingly and guide you on what method to use. They will also help you with cleanup or any follow-up activities so you get a good, healthy yard back.

The reason why it’s important to involve an expert is that you may not have the necessary equipment for the job to begin with. While you may be able to lease or borrow it, the risk that comes with improper usage is too high to ignore.

If you need to have a stump removed from your yard, take the time to plan for it, research on the method you would prefer to use, and then give your local tree service a call to see how they can help you. Don’t live with an unsightly tree stump in your yard when it’s possible to get rid of it.

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