Tree stumps and home foundation

Asked May 24, 2018, 5:05 PM EDT

We recently moved into a home with a large rain tree growing about 4 to 5 feet away from the house. The tree was dying and had to be cut down. Is it OK to just grind the stump down about 12 to 15 inches below the surface and leave the rest of the roots? Or do the roots have to be taken out completely in order to protect the foundation of the house? From our understanding a tree of that size should not have been planted so close to the house. We have water issues in our lower basement and are concerned that the roots that would be left behind may leave additional trails for the water to easily reach the foundation. Is that true and should we remove them completely?

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

You can grind down the main portion of the stump about 12"-15". You do not need to try to remove the rest of the root system. If any resprouting occurs, cut back the shoots. This will starve any remaining live portions of the root system. You can add compost or a compost/mix over the root area, as some sinking may occur gradually over time as the roots decompose. Grade the area so that water drains away from your house. Once the stump is ground down and compost/soil is placed over top, you may want to put in groundcover plants. The roots of groundcover plants will take up soil moisture and hold soil in place, reducing erosion.