How deep does a cherry tree trunk grow into the ground?

Asked June 3, 2017, 11:23 AM EDT

I had a huge cherry tree cut down (had termites and split down the middle). The tree service ground the stump down several inches. Now I want to dig a fire pit where the tree was and ran into the stump. How far would someone with a stump grinder have to grind to get to the end of the stump? The tree was huge prior to being cut down.

Racine County Wisconsin trees and shrubs

2 Responses

Greetings!

At some level, the tree's root system will branch out into the ground much like the branches of the tree above ground but clearly not as deep as the height of the lowest branches. So it is not like a trunk all the way down - though some trees do have tap roots but not a Cherry.

If you are going to dig a fire pit, you only need to grind down as deep as you need for the pit but think about whether the heat of the fire may necessitate grinding down a little deeper in order to place a buffer of stones between the rest of the trunk and the level where the fire will be.

Keep in mind that over the years as the tree root rots, the ground will sink some depending on how big the tree is. Tree roots extend well beyond the drip line of the tree but the sinkage area is usually most pronounced closer to the tree. You might want to think about that when designing your fire pit and the area surrounding it to allow for absorbing any sinking that can occur over the next few years.

Case in point. I bought my home 20 years ago. There was a slight depression near the driveway in the lawn that was roughly 7 feet in diameter. It is now a deep depression going about a foot to a foot and a half deep and reaching about 8 feet in diameter. I never saw the tree but surmise it must have been a very large Oak since there are several Oaks in the area. That's how long it has taken to sink that deep. I'm not sure if it is done sinking at this point.

I hope this helps.

Wow! That was very informative! Thank you so much for that information. It has been very helpful. (It also explains the big dip in the middle of my side yard!)

Kim