tree stump in yard

If your property is cluttered with old tree stumps, now is a great time to get them out of there.

But how? (Hint: don’t try it yourself.)

Looking for stump grinding services in Washington DC? What does it entail? Is grinding a stump the same thing as removing it?

Paul Weaver, construction branch manager at Level Green Landscaping, fills us in.

Why Are Tree Stumps A Problem?

“They can be dangerous,” Weaver says. “People can fall over them, so they’re a trip hazard. Maintenance crews cutting grass can hit a stump, throwing bits of wood that can hurt people.”

Get them out of there, he advises.

“It’s a very easy process,” he says, “and it’s relatively inexpensive.”

Stump Grinding Vs. Stump Removal

Yes, there’s a difference. Weaver explains:

Stump Grinding

Sometimes a tree stump just needs to be ground up to below ground level.

That’s when you need a stump grinder, a professional machine that uses a huge wheel covered with sharp metal teeth — spinning very fast — to grind the stump down, inch by inch.

It takes about 30 minutes to remove an average sized stump, Weaver says, although certain conditions can extend that time. If the stump is near cars or people, extra safety precautions are taken. Or if it’s in a tricky spot, like on a slope, it takes longer.

The machine grinds the stump down to 12 to 18 inches below the ground surface.

That’s enough room to cover the top with soil and plant grass seed, or even to plant a small tree on top.

Crews remove the shredded wood and chips, rake out the area, then add soil and plant seed or install sod.

Stump Removal

Sometimes the whole thing needs to go, Weaver says, including the roots.

“A mini excavator can yank the whole thing right out,” Weaver says.

“We prefer removing a stump instead of grinding it if we’re doing a landscape installation,” he says. “Then there aren’t any roots to get in the way.”

Crews have to look out for any utilities buried near the tree roots. Electric, plumbing or gas lines can be involved.

“You never know what the roots will be attached to,” Weaver says. “An irrigation line might run right through them.”

Can’t I Do This Myself?

tree stump and axeWell, you shouldn’t.

“I can’t tell you how many men I’ve seen who went to pull a stump out and injured their back or pulled a muscle,” Weaver says. “Everybody has a story. It usually starts with, ‘Man, that took me three days.’”

It’s tougher than it looks, he says.

“Tree roots can spread 20 to 30 feet underground,” Weaver says. “And there’s a huge risk for injury. I’ve seen people with trucks and chains try to do it. The chain can snap, and somebody can get hurt. Or the stump can end up going through a window.”

That adds up to a huge liability issue, he says.

“There’s a lot of ways it can go wrong,” Weaver says,  “and only one way to do it right.”

Why Do This Now?

“Stump grinding and removal go perfectly hand in hand with fall clean-up,” Weaver says. “Our crews are on your property now anyway, picking up leaves and sticks.”

And fall, with its cool temperatures and autumn rain, is a great time for the grass seed to take root over the spot where the stumps used to be.

“We’ll clean the area up, add soil and seed, cover it with straw,” Weaver says. “It will overwinter, and come back nice and strong in the spring.”

Who’s The Ideal Customer?

Everybody, Weaver says.

“We do this for all of our customers,” he says. “We get so many calls this time of year about trees that fell earlier in the summer that left stumps that need to be taken out. Apartment complexes, condos, business parks that don’t want liability issues, shopping centers doing parking lot island renovations.”

Need Stump Grinding Services? Call Level Green

Level Green Landscaping truckLooking for stump grinding services in Washington DC? There are lots of reasons to let the pros at Level Green handle this important chore.

“We’re insured,” Weaver says. “We have the proper equipment. We own our own stump grinder, and it’s a really nice one. We’re trained, and we’ve had extra training on the stump grinder, which is a huge piece of machinery. And we know exactly what to look out for.”

If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.

Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.

We’d love to hear from you.

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