Stump grinding is a quick way of removing most tree stumps. Other methods like manual digging and treating with chemicals require a good deal of effort or can take many months, even years. And burning your old tree stump is certainly not recommended on grounds of safety!
Stump grinders are machines – nearly always petrol or diesel driven – which use a rotating disc with sharp teeth to reduce the old wood to small chippings. Stump grinders can range in size from the equivalent of a standard lawnmower to a vehicle the size of a tractor. The bigger the job – that is, the larger the tree stump and/or the greater the number of stumps to be removed – the larger the stump grinder required.
Remember that, when removing a stump it is necessary to go below ground level in order to prevent tree re-growth and also to accommodate soil for replanting. If you are grassing over the hole, then about 8 inches deep is sufficient. If you are replanting with shrubs, bushes or flowers, then 12 inches deep is better.
Stump grinding: DIY or hire a professional tree surgeon?
For a single small stump removal, it may be possible to hire a small stump grinder locally and make it a DIY job. But the user must be confident about their ability to work safely with the machine and also have protective safety items to wear – a minimum of safety helmet with full face-guard, and protective boots and gloves. Another consideration is the transportation of the stump grinder from the hire centre and also a supply of petrol for the machine. Hiring a small stump grinder is likely to set you back around £100 per day.
If you are not a keen DIY person, or if the job is bigger than you could consider feasible by yourself, then a professional tree surgeon would be your best option. Most tree surgeons will offer affordable tree services, but always ask for a quotation first.
When discussing the stump removal job with your local tree surgeon, you should be sure you understand:
1. How far below ground level they will they go?
2. What access is required for machinery?
3. Will there be any disturbance or any potential for damage to the surrounding area? – especially if the stump is near a building, wall, your neighbour’s property or a road / pathway.
4. Who deals with the waste product?
You may wish to keep the wood chippings as they can be put to good use as mulch in your garden. Alternatively, you may wish your tree surgeon to remove all the waste. Remember, however, that any diseased wood should always be removed.
5. What you want done with the hole after the stump is removed?
Always choose a tree surgeon who is qualified and experienced and who holds suitable liability insurance.