It’s a question that comes up a lot, can a stump grinder remove tree roots? Well, the short answer is yes a stump grinder can grind tree roots but there are some considerations to be made before diving in.
Firstly, the roots that need removing, are they attached to a living tree? If this is the case then seeking advice from a qualified arborist is recommended. Cutting, grinding or chopping roots with a stump grinder can have a huge impact on the health and stability of the tree and is best left to a professional. Without name dropping too much, this is something we at Proleaf can advise on.
So. For examples sake, let’s say that the roots are protruding from an old tree stump in the garden and are visible on the surface of the lawn. This is a perfect example of when a stump grinder can remove roots.
The grinder chips away at the roots and turns them into wood chips or mulch. Stump grinders are not precision machines so they will churn up the soil quite a bit. The wood chips generated will need to be removed, topsoil placed down and the grass will need to be re-laid.
Stump grinders are very good at disturbing soil as well as chewing up stumps and roots. As you can imagine this is perfect for the task at hand but they will also destroy anything else in their path. For instance, if you have roots blocking a pipe, the stump grinder will be of no use to you unless you don’t mind the pipe being smashed to smithereens.
Root removal and root pruning are two very different practices. As mentioned before, if the roots are from a living tree then root pruning will be the go here. Although a stump grinder can be used for pruning roots, clean pruning cuts will need to be made when finishing up to prevent damage to the trees health. It is not recommended practice to use a stump grinder for root pruning.
Stump grinders are not accurate machines and should always be used with caution but using them close to any objects that cannot be damaged is a bad idea. For example, if you have roots that have damaged a sewer pipe, plumbers can clear these roots with no damage to the pipe. A stump grinder would clear the roots but it would also destroy the pipe too. This theory applies to any object in the vicinity of the tree roots, if it cannot be damaged, pick another root removal technique.
To summarise, a stump grinder CAN remove roots of any size as long as there are no physical obstructions including pipes, cables, concrete or steel in the vicinity. Extreme care should be taken not to destabilise or harm living trees by using a stump grinder to remove roots. Always consult a professional before carrying out any task you are not qualified to do.