Is Stump Grinding Necessary?

Whether a tree has fallen down on your property during a storm, it’s succumb to disease and fell on its own or had to be removed, or you needed to get rid of a tree that was too close to your house or simply because you needed more space in your yard; no matter how or why a tree has been removed from your property, there’s something that’s going to be left behind: a stump.

There are many questions that surround a tree stump. What should you do next? Should you leave it in your yard or remove it? Should you grind it down or dig it out? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more.

Reasons to Get Rid of a Tree Stump

When a tree falls or is removed from your yard, there are two ways that you can deal with the stump that’s left behind: you can either leave it as is, or you can remove it. Which option is better? – Professional arborists recommend the former option – tree stump removal.

While that stump once held a sturdy tree in place, once that tree is gone, the stump that’s left behind can be a serious problem. Not only can a tree stump be unsightly, but it can also pose risks; for instance, someone could trip and fall over it, you could run over it with your lawn mower, or it could invite wood-boring pests onto your property. Furthermore, sprouts could offshoot from a stump, causing wispy, fragile, and not exactly visually pleasing.

How Do You Get Rid of a Tree Stump?

There are several ways that you can remove a tree stump. Here’s a look at some of the different options that you can use.


If you’re looking to remove a tree stump on your own and you’re looking for the least labor-intensive approach, using chemicals is an option to consider. Do keep in mind, however, that while it doesn’t require a lot labor, this process does take a while and the larger the stump, the longer it will take.

In order to remove a tree stump with chemicals, you’ll need the following materials:

  • A drill and a chainsaw
  • Potassium nitrate
  • A tarp
  • Mulch
  • An ax

Begin by using your chainsaw to get the stump as close to ground-level as possible. Next, using the largest drill bit, create holes in the remainder of the stump; the closer the holes, the better. Fill the holes with water and add in the potassium nitrate. Next, saturate the ground around the stump and cover it with the tarp. Cover the tarp with mulch. Check on the progress of the stump periodically. Once it’s become spongy, you can crumble it and start pulling it out. Once you’ve gotten enough loose, cover the remainder with mulch, or apply soil and plant grass or sod on the spot.

Manual Removal

If you don’t mind manual labor, you can give this method a try. It isn’t costly, but it does require some hard work; however, it does get the job done faster than the chemical approach. In order to remove a stump manually, you’ll need the following:

  • A digging bar
  • A shovel
  • A box saw
  • An ax
  • A mattock

Begin the process by digging around the stump with a mattock to loosen the dirt. Remove the loosened dirt to reveal the roots. Severe the tree roots from the trunk with the mattock and continue digging and chopping into the stump until you reach the taproot. Clear out an area around the tap root and use an ax to cut through it. Once the taproot is cut, move the stump around in the ground until it becomes loose and then pull it out of the ground.

Burn It

Alternatively, you could burn the stump, which you could use along with digging it out of the ground. In order to burn a tree stump out, you’ll need the following:

  • A powdered product designed to removed tree stumps
  • Fuel oil or kerosene
  • A drill
  • Matches
  • A fire extinguisher, hose, or large buckets of water

Start by drilling holes into the top of the stump. Fill the holes with the stump removal product, which will help to increase the porosity of the wood, which will allow it to absorb the fuel or kerosene more easily. Pour fuel oil or kerosene onto the stump, making sure that the holes are filled and the entirety of the stump is covered. Use matches to ignite the stump. Use extreme caution and make sure that you have something to put the fire out in case it starts to burn out of control. Once the trunk has been burned, extinguish the fire.

A Stump Grinder

You could also use a stump grinder to remove your tree stump. This method is particularly ideal for larger tree stumps or if you have multiple stumps that need to be removed. This is the easiest stump removal method; however, it also tends to be the most expensive. It costs between $100 and $200 to rent a stump grinder, which your local home improvement store should carry. You could purchase one, too; however, do note that grinders are quite pricy and can cost upwards of $1,000 or more. It’s also important to note that these tools are quite heavy (on average, they can weigh about 1,000 pounds). As such, before you rent one or buy one, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll have access to a vehicle that can safely transport it to the location or that the company you rent or purchase it from can transport it to you.  

In addition to the grinder, you’ll also need the following to remove a tree stump using this method:

  • A shovel
  • A mattock
  • A rake
  • A chainsaw

In order to remove a tree stump with a grinder, begin by clearing away the soil, rocks, crass, leaves, and any other debris around or on top of the stump with the shovel or mattock. Next, use the chainsaw to cut the stump as close to the ground as possible. Position the wheel of the stump grinder just a few inches above the tree stump that you want to remove. Once in place, turn the grinder on and lower it down about three inches. Using the lever, move the grinder from side to side. Use the grinder wheel until the stump is ground down about 4 inches. Repeat the process until the whole perimeter of the stump is about four inches under the ground. Using the wood chips that the grinder created, fill the hole.

Why Use a Tree Stump Grinder and Can I Do It Myself?

Of all the different methods discussed above, a tree stump grinder is definitely your best bet. Why? – Because it’s the fastest and most efficient method. While technically, you can do the job yourself (as discussed), if you aren’t confident with your capabilities, you may want to consider hiring a pro instead.

A professional tree company will off stump grinding services at an affordable price. By hiring a professional, you can have peace of mind knowing that the job will be done safely, properly, and quickly. Furthermore, hiring a pro can actually cost less than doing the job yourself, as you’ll be able to avoid costly mistakes and potential injuries, too.

We are stump grinding experts! We have years of experience and all of the right tools to get rid of any sized stump.