Photo of a stump grinder by Oli R/Flickr Creative Commons.
I love trees. They are beautiful beasts of nature, they offer shade and provide privacy and they even clean the air we breathe. That’s why I always think it’s such a tragedy when a tree has to be cut down. But still, even tragedies sometimes need to happen. Home renovation or expansion, conflict with neighbors, issues with mold or other disease – there are many reasons that would lead to the necessary removal of a tree.
If you hire a professional to cut down (and haul away) your tree, most likely they’ll just leave the leftover stump behind. The bid a landscaper gives for removing a tree will not include the price of removing the stump, because the stump removal is much more labor intensive (and thus, more costly).
In some cases you may be able to let the stump remain, and even incorporate it into the landscaping design. But if it poses a logistical problem (for example, it’s blocking the way for a renovation, is in the path of a proposed fence, etc), then you’ll need to take care of it. And that . . . can be mighty difficult.
Tree roots are epically, epically huge. The stump is almost impossible to dig out, and thus your best bet is to grind it down using a tool called a stump grinder. A stump grinder can either be a solo power tool or an attachment used on another piece of equipment. In both cases, it utilizes a rotating disc-shaped blade to chip away pieces of the stump and roots until it’s completely level or even concave in the ground.
You can rent a stump grinder for between $100 and $200 per day, depending on the model, your location, and a number of other factors. If you only have one stump to remove, it may actually make more sense to hire a professional. A professional will charge between $75-$150 per stump removal, depending on the size of the stump. Therefore, if you only have one stump to get rid of, a professional may be the most inexpensive choice. But if you have a few stumps to tackle, renting the equipment and making a day out of it can certainly save you some money.
If you go the rental route, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Stump grinders weigh upwards of 1000 pounds, so you’ll need a tow hitch, or else you’ll need to find a rental service that delivers. You’ll also need a shovel, a chainsaw, and a rake. Make sure you read all the instructions and safety guides, and make sure you wear proper safety gear. This is a 1000-pound rotating blade we’re talking about, so don’t skimp on safety, okay?
Once the job is done, you’ll need to dispose of the tree stump remains. It’s possible that your city will haul the “green waste”, so look into your local garbage collection programs.
The bottom line is, removing a tree and its subsequent stump does not have to be difficult or terribly expensive, as long as you do all your research and understand your options. Price out whether it makes more sense to hire a pro or rent a machine and do it yourself. Finally, investigate your options for disposal, once the job is done. Good luck!
Sayward Rebhal writes for Networx.com.