Stump Grinder Information

Cumberland Valley Tree Service – Landscaping has been providing excellent landscaping services for residents and businesses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia for over 40 years! 

Thank you for considering Cumberland Valley Tree Service – Landscaping for your tree removal and stump grinding needs. The key to a successful stump grinding project is ensuring that everyone knows what to expect from the process. Specifically: cleanup, aftercare and what will replace the stump when it’s gone.

Here are a few questions about stump grinding that we are often asked by our clients. You can find more information about our stump grinding process here, and, of course, you can always contact us directly to discuss your project.

What is a stump grinder?

A stump grinder is a machine with a large, circular blade or cutter wheel. It is small enough that a single person can move into place and operate it, but it’s big enough that clearance and right of access may be an issue. We have stump grinders of various sizes that allow us to work in most locations.

How does a stump grinder work?

The stump grinder is maneuvered into position by one of our arborists, and then it is pressed directly against the stump. The grinding teeth have a carbide sharp tip on the end that pulverizes or grinds the wood fibers in the stump into a stringy debris.

How much debris does a stump grinder leave behind?

The exact quantity of debris depends on the species and age of the tree (as well as the number of stumps being ground), but even smaller-sized trees and stumps can produce enough grindings to fill multiple pick-up trucks.

Can the debris be repurposed elsewhere on my property?

No. The remnants of stump grinding are stringy bits of acidic, heavy and dense wood fibers, and the stump grindings are not suitable for mulch or really any other practical landscaping purposes.

The stump grindings are also likely to include whatever materials the roots were growing in: stones, roots, native subsoil, as well as topsoil. This mixture of debris will be a loosely scattered pile surrounding the area and the hole where the stump once was.

What are my cleanup options?

Clients have several cleanup options based on their intentions for the site and budgetary constraints.




CVTS-L leaves all debris as-is on site

“No cleanup” option. Requires more effort on part of the homeowner

Least expensive

CVTS-L backfills it into the hole

The stump debris is pushed back into the stump hole making the grindings level with the grade around it – we haul away excess grinding debris

Mid-range price

CVTS-L leaves the hole empty

All stump debris is removed – the hole is then ready for top soil or replanting grass/tree

Most expensive (on account of added material and labor costs)

CVTS-L custom landscaping options

Adding topsoil, sowing grass seed, straw matting or loose straw matting

*Price varies by project


How deep does the stump need to be ground?

The depth of stump grinding is determined by what will replace the stump. The ranges provided are an estimate, and actual depths can vary based on specific site requirements.


DEPTH (relative to grade)


Approx. 6-8”


Approx. 12-36”


*Determined by contractor

What happens after the stump is ground out?

For many tree species, the process ends here. However, for other trees (notably fruit-bearing trees, honey locusts, ailanthus, sweet gums, mulberries, hybrid poplars, bamboo and other invasive species), the roots will not only survive but continue to grow.

To the homeowner it will seem as if they had removed one tree only to have dozes of saplings take its place. Unfortunately, at that point, there isn’t much that can be done. The homeowner will have to keep the sprouts cut off or mowed over, and, eventually, they will die off (which can take several years!).

Preventing roots sprouts requires immediate herbicide treatment (by a State Certified Applicator or Registered Technician). The treatment needs to be applied within an hour – we recommend within a half hour – of the initial tree removal. The herbicide treatment then has to translocate/move through the root system for a day or two to kill the remaining unseen, underground root system.