How to Clean Up After Stump Grinding?
You’ve finally got rid of the tree stump, and now you’re wondering what to do with all that grindings that have piled up in your yard. First and foremost, you should decide whether you want to discard them in the garbage or reuse them for your gardening purposes. Either way, there’s a number of options for both.
How to Collect the Wood Chips after Grinding?
- The tree service can do the job – Cleaning the grindings isn’t fun for sure. So, the easiest way to clean up the mess is not to do it by yourself at all. If you’ve hired a tree service to remove the tree stump, you can ask them to take away the leftover materials as well. However, keep in mind that it’ll bring you extra costs. In many cases, the cleaning of the mess can cost as much as the stump grinding itself.
- Do it yourself – On the other hand, if you remove the grinding pile all by yourself, start by collecting them with a shovel or pitchfork and putting them into a larger container, a 5-gallon bucket, for instance. Or, scrape them up with a box blade instead. Then, if you’re not throwing them away, take a look at some of the options to repurpose them.
Ways to Repurpose the Stump Grindings
Rather than disposing of the grinding leftovers, you can put them to work in your garden. For instance,
- Use them as a mulch
You can enrich your soil by turning the wood chips into a mulch. When used properly, it’ll provide a multitude of benefits. Among other things, it retains moisture, balances the soil temperature, suppresses weeds, and provides food for beneficial organisms in the soil.
With that said, scatter the wood chips onto the soil and spread with a pitchfork. But, when the tree grindings start decomposing, they’ll drain nitrogen from the soil. Therefore, make sure to apply a nitrogen fertilizer on top of the mulch, seeing that it’s essential for plant growth.
- Compost the material
Wood chips are an acceptable ingredient for your compost pile. So, make a compost out of them and use it as a natural fertilizer. Don’t forget to add food scraps and garden waste as well.
The stump grindings will become rich in nitrogen in a few months before you add them to your garden beds and plants. Also, don’t forget to turn the compost pile every once in a while to help the decomposition process.
- Create attractive garden paths and walkways
Wood chips are easy and inexpensive to put in and make for a more natural-looking garden path. But, you’ll need to put a fresh layer of the grindings occasionally, as they’ll start decomposing over time.
- Use them as a ground cover for a dog run
One of the most commonly used ground covers for a dog run is wood chips, seeing that they’re obtainable and quite easy to put down. Moreover, they keep dirt at a minimum. But, they absorb the urine as well, causing a foul odor later. Luckily, the wood chips are easy to remove and replace. Hence, if you have a dog, it’s the way to go!
How Do You Fill a Hole in a Tree Stump?
Once you’ve cleaned up the pile of stump grindings, you’re left with an unappealing hole in your yard. So, here’s how to fill the area with grass:
- Fill in the hole with topsoil, so the soil is raised a bit higher than ground level.
- Plant the grass seeds, spreading them onto the topsoil.
- Water the area right after planting the seeds.
Of course, instead of grass, you can plant a new, healthy tree, shrubs, or whatever works for you.
If the removed tree stump has been treated with chemicals, it’s for the best to burn the tree grindings. However, make sure to check with the local fire department and permitting office, so you ensure proper permission in the first place.
When composted, the wood chips can decay in 3 months only, especially during the summer, when the high temperatures accelerate the decomposition process. But then again, it all depends on the size of the chips.
As a matter of fact, the wood chips are acidic. However, as they decompose, their pH will start changing to neutral. Ergo, they won’t acidify the soil. Actually, it will benefit, seeing that the chips retain the moisture, moderate the soil temperature, and control the weeds.
What do you do with sawdust after stump grinding?
You can add worms to have them decompose the debris. They will, over time, create a useful compost that will benefit the soil. The process is called “Vermicomposting”. Sawdust is just small pieces of wood, meaning it’s organic and cannot damage the soil. The worms are there only to speed up the process. Without them, the sawdust will just rot under the elements.