What is Stump Grinding (and Do You Need It?)

March 31, 2023

What exactly is "stump grinding"? Do you need it? How does it work? When should you have it done? Get

We’re often asked “what is stump grinding?” and whether it’s a worthwhile investment in your Winston-Salem area property. While only you can make that decision, we can tell you that many of our local customers do choose to grind out the stumps in their yard.

In this article, we answer some common questions about the process and what you need to know to decide if stump grinding (or stump removal) is the right choice for you.

What is stump grinding?

After a tree has been cut down, you are left with a tree stump on your property. If you choose to have the stump removed, grinding the stump is usually the best option.

Stump grinding is when a tree stump is ground into a sawdust-like or woodchip-like consistency, using a powerful and dangerous piece of equipment called a stump grinder.A tree stump surrounded by grass and other plants and weeds in a Winston-Salem yard.

Can I Leave the Tree Stump As-Is After a Tree Removal?

Yes, you can leave the tree stump alone; you don’t need to schedule stump grinding services from Godspeed Tree Service after your tree removal. However, many property owners choose to have the tree ground out. Reasons for this include:

  • Tree stumps will take 15 to 20 years or more before they start to decompose
  • On some tree species, the tree may sprout new growth from the stump that will need to be cut back regularly
  • If a tree was removed and had an insect pest or tree disease, the stump may still be able to help the pests or disease spread
  • Some tree stumps can attract harmful fungi or mold, as well as carpenter ants or termites
  • Stumps can be a tripping hazard if they are near to a pedestrian area
  • It can be difficult to mow the lawn near a tree stump

Is Stump Grinding the Only Way to Remove a Tree Stump?

No, some property owners choose to try to remove the entire stump by pulling it out. However, this is much more expensive than stump grinding and comes with some risks.

Pulling up a tree stump often pulls up roots, which can be up to 40 feet long. Since roots naturally seek out water, if any roots are wrapped around pipes or if they are under sidewalks or structures, they can cause damage when removed.

Removing the stump and roots can also leave giant holes in your yard.

If you choose to go with the option of removing the entire stump, Godspeed Tree Service has ways to make this process less dangerous for you and your property. Contact us for more details.

Stump grinding is cheaper and causes less damage because it doesn’t pull up the roots. Instead, the vertical saw on the stump grinder grinds the stump into wood chips or sawdust, which can then be used to fill up the hole. Afterward, you can add topsoil and grass seed that, when it grows in, will make it look like the stump was never there.
A stump grinder is used to grind out a stump on a Winston-Salem property.

Can I Use a Stump Grinder Myself?

There are some places where you can rent a stump grinder, but we advise against this. As with many pieces of equipment used in tree care, stump grinders are dangerous and powerful.

Renting a stump grinder can also involve the following:

  • Contacting a utility company in advance to ensure you don’t hit a gas line or underground wire
  • Watching out for rocks which can destroy a stump grinding blade (if renting, you’ll be responsible for replacing any damaged expensive parts)
  • Learning how to control a powerful piece of equipment that has a spinning blade and can shoot pieces of wood or rocks in any direction without warning
  • Dealing with a stump grinder that is not professional grade, so it can’t reach as far into the soil or can’t handle larger stumps

At Godspeed Tree Service, our stump grinding operators are familiar with our professional equipment and know what precautions to take. Our professional-grade stump grinder can handle large stumps but is small enough to reach most yards.

How Much of the Stump Will Godspeed Tree Service Remove?

We will grind out most stumps 4 to 6 inches below grade, but if you want us to remove more so you can plant in that area, we are happy to do so if you let us know beforehand.

What is Left After Stump Grinding?

Stump grinding is a loud and messy process. When you contact Godspeed Tree Service to remove your tree stump, you have three options for what happens after the stump is ground out:

  1. We can grind the stump and leave the wood shavings and chips as they are.
  2. We can grind the stump, haul away excess wood shavings and chips, and leave the area level with the ground.
  3. We can grind the stump, remove excess wood shavings and chips, and bring in topsoil and straw to fill the hole that stump grinding created.

Again, please let us know beforehand which option you prefer so we have the correct materials, crew, and equipment available.

Want to Schedule Stump Grinding?

We hope this article has answered your “What is stump grinding??” questions and helped you decide whether or not to remove any stumps in your yard.

If you’re ready to get rid of tree stumps once and for all, contact Godspeed Tree Service today to schedule your stump grinding services in the Winston-Salem and Triad area!

You can also visit our stump grinding page for more information.


Godspeed Tree Service

Owned and operated with high standards and consistent reliability by Bobby Gates, Godspeed Tree Service has earned the trust of the North Carolina Triad community over the course of more than 25 years in business. With a strong emphasis on safety, conscientious training, and accommodating the needs of each client, you can't go wrong by hiring Godspeed for any of your tree service needs! 

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