How to Properly Remove Tree Stumps and Roots from Your Yard

Safety First

An attractive yard has a positive impact on the value of your home, and mature trees are an essential part of a pleasing landscape. However, trees sometimes grow in undesirable ways, which can force you to cut them back or remove them completely.

8 Common Tree Removal Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

  1. Ignoring the surrounding areas.
  2. Not knowing how to use a chainsaw.
  3. Leaving a tree stump.
  4. Forgetting to wear personal protective equipment.
  5. Trying to cut down a rotten tree.
  6. Trying to handle everything alone.
  7. Assuming that all will be well.
  8. Being too confident.

Tree Roots and Stumps

When the growth of tree roots causes walkways, driveways or house foundations to start lifting up, the roots must be pruned. Tree root removal is fairly straightforward, but care should be taken to ensure that the tree's overall health is not compromised. Tree stumps can be removed manually, which is inexpensive but usually very labor-intensive, or you can rent a stump remover device known as a stump grinder, which provides a fast and relatively easy solution.

Another option for stump removal involves drilling holes into the stump and filling the holes with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to accelerate the rotting process. Both tree root removal and stump removal can be performed by the homeowner or, in the case of larger projects, by a professional tree removal service.

But before you take matters into your own hands or consult your phone book for professional help, take a good look at your particular situation. If the stump is sitting square in the middle of your yard, you really don't have to consider anyone else before making your decision to remove it. On the other hand, sometimes the roots of live trees are the problem, and sometimes those live trees are not technically on your property. If tree roots are encroaching on your land and causing you problems, it's probably best to find a consulting arborist to assess the situation before you find yourself in the midst of a legal battle resulting from your hasty action.

Tree Removal Services

Removing tree limbs, roots, stumps and entire trees involves the use of equipment that can potentially pose hazards. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, close to 36,000 people each year suffer injuries from chain saws that are severe enough to require a visit to a hospital emergency room. Companies specializing in tree removal have experience in handling chainsaws, specialty cleaning equipment and other hazardous tools. When choosing a tree removal service provider, there are a number of points to consider:

  • Obtain a written estimate. This contract should provide details as to specifically what the job entails as well as its expected cost.
  • Check customer references. A reputable tree removal service should have no trouble providing the names and contact information of satisfied former customers.
  • Request proof of insurance. Ask to see current certificates of worker compensation and liability insurance.
  • Determine the company's plan in case of a mishap, such as the accidental severing of electrical or telephone wires.

Emergency Tree Removal

Sometimes, a homeowner won't have the luxury of having the time to plan a tree removal or large branch removal project. Lightning, ice storms and tropical storms can all necessitate emergency tree removal. Some companies, located in areas where active weather is common, even specialize in hurricane tree removal. In time-critical cases such as these, the work is best left to professionals. Many tree service offer 24 hour emergency protection, though homeowners should still attempt to follow good hiring practices when choosing a company to take care of the property damage.

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