Which Is Better: Stump Grinding Or Stump Removal?

Arborists in Los Gatos, CA give advice about what to do after you have had a tree removed.

You’ve made the difficult decision to remove a tree. A tree company came and cut it down and now you are left with a stump. What’s next? No tree removal is complete without dealing with the stump that remains after the tree is gone. To deal with the stump, you have two options: it can be ground down or removed. Depending on the specific situation, your arborist may choose one method over the other.

What Is The Difference Between Grinding And Removal?

After a tree is removed, it is essential to remove the stump and any large roots that may attempt to regrow after the tree is gone. One method of doing this is through a process called “stump removal.” Stump removal is a general term that describes digging and cutting a stump out. During this process, light or heavy machinery is usually brought in to excavate around the stump. Shovels may also be used to uncover roots. Chainsaws are then used to cut out the stump and its supporting root structures. One of the disadvantages of choosing stump removal is that it can be an invasive process. The machinery can damage the surrounding landscape and often a hole is left where the stump was.

An alternative to stump removal is stump grinding. Stump grinding accomplishes the same thing as stump removal, namely the removal of the stump and viable roots, but it does so differently. When you choose to have your stumps ground, your arborist will come out with a special machine with a tough cutting blade. The stump grinder will reduce what is left of your stump to beneficial coarse sawdust that can be used as mulch and fertilizer in your existing landscaping. A stump grinder can dig several inches below the ground to destroy viable roots and ensure that the tree doesn’t try to regrow. Grinding is usually fairly non-invasive.

Why Should Stumps Be Removed?

After a tree is gone, only an unsightly stump is left behind. Left on their own, stumps can take decades to fully decay. Often, stumps will go on living, sending out new shoots in an attempt to regrow that will require continuous pruning and disposal.

Once the stump is fully dead it will begin to rot. As stumps rot, they attract wood-eating fungus and insects as part of the natural decay process. If your home is located near to a rotting stump, you are inviting fungus and termites near your home where they can infest and potentially damage its structure.

What To Do After The Stump Is Gone

By having the stump removed you can immediately begin the process of rehabilitating that part of your property. If you had the stump removed, you may need to bring in fill dirt to level off the hole that was made during removal before you remediate the area. If you had the stump ground, you can proceed with reseeding the area for turfgrass or planting new trees or shrubs. By removing the stump you can make the area a beautiful part of your property in weeks instead of waiting for years for the stump to degrade.

Working With Professionals

A professional tree service will be able to guide you through the entire process of having a tree removed as well as dealing with the stump. When choosing a tree service to work with, be sure to check their credentials, licensure, insurance, and customer reviews. At Arborworks, we have been serving the Los Gatos, CA area since 1986 with hundreds of satisfied customers. Our certified arborists have the knowledge to save any of your damaged trees or remove any trees that infringe upon any of your structures. We are fully insured for both your protection and our workers. Contact us today for all of your tree care needs.


Anyone who really cares about their trees knows how hard it is to find a good tree trimmer. I’ve used both major name brands, and self employed tree trimmers, and have never been very satisfied, until now. ArborWorks trimmed my trees as carefully as I would have, if I knew how to climb trees!Don McIntyre, owner, responded within two days of my call, and his estimate was fair and thorough. He personally brought the foreman of the crew to my site to go over the job the evening before the crew would actually arrive. Don also visits the site as the work is performed, to make sure everything goes smoothly.If my trees could vocalize, they’d sing about the space created for light to enter the crown, and how good it feels to have the weight off the ends of the limbs. Even neighbors have come by to complement me on how good the trees look. “Best ever”.I only wish I had known about ArborWorks sooner. It took me 32 years to find them. I hope my trees will forgive me for taking so long…
Karen K. Mountain View, CA


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