Tree stump removal and 'grubbing' (removing organic matter from the soil on a construction site) is an important part of siteworks. Getting rid of stumps and roots prevents soil movement caused by decaying organic matter - which may otherwise threaten the foundations or other elements of the surrounding site. This is particularly important for any concrete structures such as concrete slab sub-floors or concrete footpaths. Tree stumps are normally removed following a full site survey, and prior to any construction work.
How are stumps removed?
Depending on how it's done, complete stump removal can be a relatively costly and complicated process requiring heavy excavating equipment to pull out or push over the tree stump. Stumps can be removed with a skid steer loader (commonly known as a Bobcat), a backhoe, an excavator or a similar machine. Any holes left must be refilled and compacted to prevent soil from settling later on.
Removing stumps can be done without heavy machinery, though this normally takes a lot more time and requires considerably more manual effort. Manual stump removal's not a time-efficient or practical choice on a construction site.
A second, less expensive, and effective option is to grind the stump down into the ground from 10- 45cm deep, leaving the hole filled with the remaining wood chips and surrounding soil. Stump grinding a more common choice for getting rid of stumps in established gardens. On a construction site this will only really be an option for stumps that don’t directly affect construction plans. This decision will be usually made by during the survey process.
Other reasons to remove stumps
Deciduous tree types in particular are likely to grow back from an untouched tree stump if they’re left to their own devices, so if the tree's not wanted the stump will normally need to be removed. Removing tree stumps and roots will also help to prevent future problems like insect infestation, diseased wood and lawnmower damage.
Permission to remove trees
Often you will need permission from your local council to remove trees from your property. For example, if a particular tree is heritage listed, or if council has any other guidelines relating to the character of your site, you may not be able to remove it. All tree removal and landscaping changes must be submitted to your local council for its approval as a part of the building plan.