The ability to reclaim some lawn/garden space after removing a stump is one of the major reasons why people choose stump grinding in the first place.
The ability to reclaim some lawn/garden space after removing a stump is one of the major reasons why people choose stump grinding in the first place. But there are a few things to consider before you pull the trigger.
As you may know, stump grinding doesn’t completely remove the entire stump, which is quite large underneath the surface. We just grind the stump down a few inches beneath the plane of the ground.
The question is, how usable is that area of your yard after stump grinding? It depends on how far down you want to grind your stump, and what exactly you might end up using that area for in the future.
Four inches is a pretty standard depth. This gets it deep enough for a thick layer of soil that grass roots will be happy in. Other plants might need a little more depth for their roots - once those roots hit the stump below, they won’t be going any deeper.
Of course, if a stump is right where you plan to put your garden bed, you can always build up a little bit of soil on top. Say you grind down 4” and then build a 6” tall planter box...you’ve got 10” of soil for your plant roots to squirm around in.
Even just mounding your garden beds over with a layer of soil can give your plants a couple extra inches, and stretch 4” to 6” or 6” to 8”.
What it comes down to is what you plan to plant there, and knowing how much room the roots need. If you want to be able to plant just about anything there, you’ll either need to grind deeper or build up the soil in that area.
Why not go deeper than 4”?
We can and often do go as deep as 8”. The reason 4” is good enough for so many customers is that the further you go down, the more it costs to grind another inch. There are two reasons for this:
1) The stump gets wider in diameter as you go deeper. Another inch in diameter is a huge growth in surface area. The difference between a 9” circle and a 10” circle is 15 square inches of surface area. That’s a lot of grinding.
2) There are more dirt and rocks in the way, which causes more wear and tear on the grinding teeth. These teeth are expensive, and replacing them adds time to the job. See the video below for an up close look at grinding wheel maintenance:
The final word on stump grinding depth
If you’re confident that you’ll only ever plant grass over the stump, 4” is enough. If you want to keep your options open, it's best to just be thorough the first time and go for a 6” or 8” grind.
Homeowners and businesses in Snohomish County and the surrounding area can schedule an estimate on their tree or stump removal by filling out one of our estimate forms here.
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