Topping Tree

When we are asked to remove a tree, people are often unaware that there are two parts to the process.

First and most obvious is we take the actual tree down. Depending on the size of the tree and its location, we either fell it, or more often we take it down in sections. Once the tree is out of the way we concentrate on the stump. As this is the less obvious part of the process, we decided to write a short article explaining our thoughts on the best way to deal with tree stumps.

In the past, the thinking was that one had to completely remove the tree stump. There were, and still are, three main ways to remove a stump. The first is mechanically; heavy machinery is used to literally drag the stump out of the ground. We feel that this is very invasive and will only recommend this method when there are plans to build on the site. The other two ways are to use chemicals. Holes are drilled into the stump and chemicals are poured into these holes. In one instance potassium nitrate is used and the stump is set on fire; great care needs to be taken as potassium nitrate is an explosive substance. In the second instance substances that are high in nitrogen are used to speed up the rotting process. Blood meal and manure, amongst other substances, are used and potassium nitrate is added to further encourage rotting. Both methods can be dangerous due to the chemicals involved; we do not advocate using either of the chemical methods due to environmental concerns.


Here at Lineage Tree Care we don’t completely remove the stump, but recommend and use a purpose-made tool called a stump grinder. This is a heavy piece of equipment and weighs a minimum of 1,000 pounds. Whatever tree care service we are asked to provide, we always begin by tidying up the immediate environment. Then, when grinding a tree stump, we begin by using a pick axe to clear the area around the stump and remove any rocks or stones. If necessary, we then use a chainsaw to cut the stump down to as close as possible to the ground. Once everything is prepared we can begin to use the grinder. We grind the stump until it is approximately four inches below ground level and then pack soil over the surface.

We consider this to be the least invasive and most cost-effective way to deal with a tree stump. If you are in the Everett and Snohomish County areas and need tree removal services or have an unsightly tree stump, then please don’t hesitate to give us a call.