So, you have had a tree removed, but now you are left with a stump and wondering what to do next and how much it might cost you. There are a few options, which we will cover here, but first there are a few factors you should have a think about as these might influence which method you choose to remove your stump. How big is the tree stump? How deep is the root system likely to be? How quickly do you need it gone and why do you want to get rid of it? Is it simply an eyesore or is it because it is hindering the next stage of your garden project?
Do you need to get rid of a tree stump?
Before thinking about the different ways to remove a stump, you might be wondering if you need to remove the stump at all. The short answer is yes, you should get rid of the stump. It isn’t recommended to keep a tree stump as it can lead to problems later. Rotting wood can attract insects and fungus, which can then go on to infect your nearby healthy trees. Alternatively, the stump may live on and cause problems with suckering (when new shoots sprout from the trunk and roots), which means a future problem to deal with, not to mention the nutrients they will be stealing from the soil.
It is best to deal with the stump at the same time as the tree removal – not only for the reasons outlined above, but also because it is likely to be the most cost efficient and convenient solution. Tree surgeons will often charge less to handle the stump if they are already on site rather than if they were called out at a later date for a separate job.
Should you remove or grind a tree stump?
In the majority of cases we would recommend stump grinding. It is the less intrusive, more efficient and, in most cases, sufficient for whatever you are looking to do next as stumps can be ground to well below ground level. This involves using machinery to grind the stump into woodchips. If the tree was large some of the roots may remain spread underground, however they won’t be visible or problematic and will eventually decay. If you know you will be digging below ground level as part of your project, we recommend doing this first if possible and then grinding the stump, otherwise you will grind the stump only to dig deeper and expose it once again.
If you are unsure whether you should remove or grind the stump, speak with your arborist and explain what you are hoping to do with the space afterwards.
Ways to remove a tree stump
A quick Google will bring up various ways to remove a stump, however there are some watch outs and considerations for each of these.
Winch – this is only an option for smaller sized stumps and you will need to have enough stump left for leverage. You can buy or hire a winch and you will need to have a strong enough point to secure the winch for leverage nearby. However, you may find that after all your efforts you might not be successful in removing it and still need to explore alternative options.
By hand – although this is the cheapest method, you need to be prepared for a lot of hard work and the risk of failure is quite likely as you could find there are rocks within the root system that you can’t dislodge or that the roots just run too deep. To attempt this, you dig out soil from around the stump to access as many of the large tree roots as possible then sever away as much of the root system as possible to allow you to dislodge the stump. You could hire a mini excavator to help make the process easier, but once the rental cost plus delivery and damage waiver is factored in it is likely that hiring a professional is not much more expensive, if not cheaper!
Poison – this won’t remove your stump, but it will prevent re-growth. It will then take years to decay. It should be noted that stump killer should be applied to freshly cut wood. As an alternative to poison, which is applied to the face of the stump and needs to be done at certain times of the year, we would recommend eco-plugs, which are drilled into the stump and are safer for the environment and children.
Burning is worth a quick mention as this can be tempting, however it is not recommended as often the wood is too wet for this.
How much does it cost to remove a stump?
Clearly, depending on the route you choose it could cost you nothing except your time and efforts!
Depending on your reasons for tackling the stump we would usually recommend grinding or eco-plugs. Grinding rates tend to vary between £75-£450 depending on the size, number and location of the stump/s to have a professional do it for you. Hiring a stump grinder from a local supplier might also be an option you are considering - one day rates (once you have accounted for petrol and blade wear and tear add ons) are typically around £95+VAT, but it is worth bearing in mind the power of the machinery you are hiring relative to the size stump you are tackling and also that this may not include delivery, so you could be racing against the clock to get it returned in time. You might also have to pre-authorise a fairly large damage waiver so always check with the supplier first.
If you would like an estimate to have your tree stump/s grinding, please send us a photo along with the diameter of the stump. Or alternatively fill out a contact form and we will be in touch.