4 Tenacious Truths About Tree Stumps

Posted on: 22 September 2022


Sometimes you must cut down a tree because it has reached the end of its life or grows too near other structures. When the tree is gone, however, it has left behind an undesirable souvenir – the stump. Not sure how to handle this arboreal memento? Read on to learn four tenacious truths about leftover tree stumps.

1. Tree Stumps Should not Remain in Your Grass

One easy way to avoid a stump reckoning is to simply leave the stump in the grass. Unfortunately, an unattended stump can be an eye sore in the landscaping of your front yard. Even a stump out of sight in the backyard can be a nuisance and a hazard when you try to mow.

If you removed the original problem tree due to excessive twig and litter drop or disease, chances are you want to replace it with a better species to provide shade and beauty. The stump makes this task more difficult when underground roots are a hindrance.

2. Tree Stumps Tend to Grow Sprouts

Sprouts can grow from dormant buds within the tree bark of a stump. This tendency occurs when a tree is stressed, injured, and cut down. Stump sprouts help to ensure a tree's survival and are common in many temperate hardwood species. Oak and beech are expert stump sprouters. Fast-growing trees like elm, willow, cottonwood, and poplars are also adept at growing sprouts.

Sprouts can be an aggravation as they aim to take the shape of the original tree – the one you recently cut down. You risk the possibility of a stump shrouded in sprouts when you elect to leave a stump alone.

3. Tree Stumps Take Several Years to Rot

Depending on the type of tree, climate, and soil conditions, a stump and its root system can take around ten years to decompose. Warmer climates and warm soil with plentiful fungi and bacteria can hasten the process. Nutrients stored in the roots below the ground help a stump to resist rotting.

If you want to hasten the rotting process of a leftover stump, you must cut the stump as close to the soil as possible. Wait until sprouts are over a foot in height before you have to cut them in order to help the roots deplete nutrients more quickly. 

4. Tree Stumps Respond Well to Stump Grinding

You do not have to endure a stump in your yard. Fortunately, tree stumps respond well to a process called stump grinding. A grinder quickly chips and shreds the stump below the ground several inches. The resulting wood chips make wonderful mulch that your tree contractor can haul away if necessary. When complete, your yard will appear as if the stump was never around.

For more information on stump removal, contact a professional near you.