Tree Root Removal: When and How Is It Done?

Tree root removal is the hardest part of felling a tree. The bigger the tree, the more extensive the underground root system and the more work ahead of you. It’s hardly surprising that most property owners call in an effective tree service company in Columbia, Tennessee, for help. 

In this article, the Volunteer Tree Company team explains how and when to get rid of tree roots. When you better understand the process, you can make an informed decision about how to proceed. 

Digging Out the Tree Roots

It takes some effort, but you can dig the roots out. However, you must first contact the utility companies to identify the location of: 

  • Sewer lines
  • Water lines
  • Internet cables
  • Electrical cables
  • Other utility infrastructure

Set aside a fair amount of time depending on the size of the root ball. You will first need to remove as much soil as possible to get a good look. You should also remove any loose roots and set them aside at this stage. 

Next, clear out the dirt between the roots and lop off stragglers that could prevent you from removing the root ball. Continue until you can rock the stump to loosen its grip further. Eventually, lift the remaining system out. 

Stump Grinding

Stump grinding is another approach to tree root removal. It converts the stump into mulch but requires special equipment and safety gear. Additionally, you will need to dig out any rocks to reveal the stump’s perimeter before you begin and prepare for a debris spray. 

You can grind the stump down about four inches below ground level. 

You then dig out the root ball, as suggested in the beginning, and use the sawdust to fill the space. Top it up with topsoil. 

Chemical Treatment

A herbicide is a shortcut for tree root removal and ensures they never grow again. The downside is that spilled poison will kill off beneficial microbes in the soil and may also kill nearby plants. 

Epsom salts or rock salts are a more natural option but take longer to be effective. 

Using a Herbicide

The roots will die in about two weeks after just one application. 

  • Saw a cut across the top of the stump
  • Saturate the layer just inside the bark with water. This will draw the poison to the roots.
  • Mix the herbicide per the manufacturer’s directions. 
  • Apply it to the outer layer you just watered, being careful not to spill it on the grass.
  • Wait for about a day for the results to show

Using Rock Salt or Epsom Salts

This method takes a few months and more than one application. 

  • Drill three to four-inch holes at regular intervals in the stump and exposed roots.
  • Pack salt into each hole and then top up with water, being careful not to let it spill over.
  • Repeat once or twice a week for a few months.

Hiring a Professional

Whichever technique you choose, there is a lot of work to do. In addition, most equipment is expensive to rent. It’s also tricky to wield these power tools without prior knowledge. 

Chemical treatments allow you to leave the roots in situ, but it takes some time for them to rot away completely. Even then, the residue may render the area unsuitable for planting. If you miss the primary roots, there’s a chance that they could sprout again. 

To get guaranteed results with minimal effort, enlist tree root removal services from Volunteer Tree Company. Our team has years of experience providing reliable tree services in Tennessee.

To learn how to cut down a tree safely near your house or for a free estimate on tree root removal, call Volunteer Tree Company at (931) 637-5487 today!


We serve anyone in need of tree removal, trimming, stump grinding, or land clearing.

Contact Us

1367 Verona Caney Rd
Lewisburg, TN 37091

Phone:(931) 637-5487


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