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Tree Removal Service Des Moines
Tree Service Des Moines
TCIA Tree Care Specialist
Tree Removal Des Moines
Tree Risk Assessment Qualified
Tree Trimming Des Moines

   Olson Tree Care​​​  

Diagnostic and Consulting Tree Care Arborist.

Stump Grinding in Des Moines


       While grinding a stump seems like an after thought service, many find that years later they are still fighting that stump. This leads us to providing some information about what tree owners might expect when it comes to Stump Grinding.

       Tree stumps are the last visual part of a tree that remains and while grinding them removes the visual, it does not remove the tree. 35% or more of a trees mass that can be blow ground. This means a lot of the tree is left in your yard unseen.

Stump Grinder

Stump Grinding

Stump Grinding Complications


1. Remaining rootball and root system.

       - There will be tree roots remaining. Grinding the tree stump below grade removes most general trip hazards, but the roots and root ball remain below ground.

       2. Future erosion of soil.

       - Erosion will most likely take place possibly exposing further root system below. Planting new vegetation (ie grass, new tree) in the area may be required to keep the shape of your yard and preventing water from removing soil in the area. The old rigid stump was a hard barrier and removal of it allows for easy passage of soil.

       3. Regrowth from stump or roots.

       - Despite stump grinding, the tree may regrow from the root depending on tree species, health and environmental stimuli. In these cases specialty herbicide may be desired. Tordon seems to be a good product that has minimal impact on environment and maximum impact on the remaining stump below ground when properly applied by a Des Moines Tree Service.

       4. Remaining raised grade or swelling.

       - Raised grade may remain due to crown swelling. Changing grade or grading the area flat is not included in stump grinding but could be achieved at an additional cost.

       5. Sink holes or continuing decay.

       - Soft spots or holes may surface. Depending on the density of the wood, decay will happen sooner or later, sometimes for many years after the tree is gone. Soft woods that decay fast are prone to leaving sink holes in your yard while harder woods decay slow allowing the voids to be filled naturally.

       6. Reduced ability to plant in same location.

       - Planting in the same location is often not recommended. Full stump removal is common in other parts of the country with limited space (ie California coastal properties) but Iowa has an abundance of big yards which provides ample new locations to plant a tree. Des Moines Tree Removal can often be followed by immediately planting a new tree very close to the old stump location, just not directly in the same location without further root ball excavation. In addition, the soil composition under your old tree stump may not be properly amended for a new tree, giving more credence to planting nearby and saving cost on root ball excavation.

       7. Remaining wood chips mixed with dirt.

       - Grinding stump chips of wood mixed with dirt will remain in the new grade slowly completing the mineralization process over time. While some cleanup is common with stump grinding, removal of all chips is often not feasible due to the amendments of dirt added during the grinding process. This mix is often left to fill the void and spread out to taper the area minimizing the ground swelling form the root crown. Tree stump chips add great organic material to the soil mix and are great for re seeding. They can be even used as top mulch to mature trees. Be mindful not to add them to soil of young or newly planted trees.

Roots coming out of tree

How Big is a Tree Stump?

How Big is a Tree Stump?

         Stump Grinding in Des Moines provides enough depth to grow grass and remove a trip hazard. While full stump and root removal is desirable, it is economically less feasible when one understands the size of a trees root system. Olson Tree Care wanted to provide you with a little first hand evaluation when it comes to "How Big is a Tree Stump?"


       It has been said many times that 1/2 of the mass of a tree is underground, which we find to be a statement that is not true due to our understanding of Trees. Possibly this thought comes from the spread of a root zone which can exceed a tree by 5 times or more but should not be confused with mass. The root and shoot balance is pretty harmonious and it has been said "as go the shoots so go the roots" for a reason. 

       Here are some of the factors that effect the size of a Tree Stump.

       1. All biological growth of the tree is fed through respiration.       

       - This growth is in the meristem area of shoots and roots. Respiration is the burning of carbohydrates that have been stored in the trunk and large root/branches. This storage is so critical that the tree generally will dedicate over 1/2 its mass to storage.

       2. Photosynthates based on potential Production.


       - Food creation is based on square inches of leaf space which is determined through natural selection in the stem area, the success of which develops structure.

       3. The amount of foliage is tightly regulated by uptake.        

       - A leaf can not complete its vital function as an organ without cooling through transpiration. This brings the root system of a tree into the picture.

       4. Outer canopy growth has an interdependent relationship to root growth.      

       - The relationship of leaves is production of carbs feeding biological growth in a root and the function of roots is uptake of moisture to cool and nutrients to be mixed in the respiration process feeding different areas of biological growth. Respiration is not yet fully understood.

       With all of this said, a root systems mass may fluctuate slightly bigger or smaller than the leaf and branch total volume but will be close in size. After inspection of many storm flipped trees we would estimate that 25% of a Trees mass is under ground, 25% of a Trees mass is branches and leaves and 50% of the mass is Trunk and Large Branch Sections that provide food storage. This average can fluctuate due to Tree Type and Environmental Stimuli.