Tree Stump Removal Cost
Whether you're tired of steering your lawn mower around a big tree, want to reclaim a spot for a backyard upgrade or simply need to make sure a tree you removed doesn't sprout new growth, it's time get rid of the stump. Here's a look at what it costs to remove a tree stump to help you decide which method is right for you. If this project is for you, we can connect you with up to four landscaping contractors in your area.
National Remove Tree Stump Costs
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Table of Contents
- Stump Removal Cost
- Stump Removal Price Factors
- Why Remove A Tree Stump
- How Pros Remove Tree Stumps
- DIY Or Hire A Pro?
- Tips & Limitations For DIY Stump Removal
- How To Save Money On Stump Grinding
- Find A Pro
Stump Removal Cost
The average cost to remove a tree stump is about $295, but the cost can reach as high as $800 depending on the amount of work required to extract the stump.
If you're willing to invest some sweat equity, you can lower the cost of removing a tree stump by completing the task yourself. All you need is a stump grinder and basic garden tools like a shovel or hoe. Grinder rental rates range from $75 to $150 for a half day or $150 to $400 for a full day. Alternatively, you can purchase a stump remover chemical for between $5 and $100.
Stump Removal Price Factors
Although the labor cost for stump removal is relatively stable around the country, there are a few factors that affect the actual cost of the project. If the professionals have to spend more time preparing or cleaning up the site, they charge more to remove the stump. The following factors increase and decrease the time involved:
- Stump size
- Tree type
- Tree age
- Soil condition
Most professionals charge according to the tree's diameter, usually between $2 and $3 per inch. A large stump takes more time to grind than a small stump, so it usually costs more to complete the job. The price also increases if you want to clear a large area of stumps.
Trees with hard word like aspen, birch, elm, hickory and oak often take more time to grind, which increases the cost of the project. They also produce smaller chips of wood compared to trees with soft wood. In many cases, this increases the cost of the tree grinding.
Older trees, especially those that have already succumbed to rot, do not require as much force to remove and cost less money. The cost of the job does go up if the tree has an expansive root system that you want to remove.
Soil condition also plays a factor because it increases the amount of work professionals must do. Dry and clay-based soil makes the tree more difficult to remove. Compact or rocky soil potentially damages the equipment. Workers must take time to remove visible rocks and loosen the soil before starting the job.
Landscaping prices vary regionally, so you can expect to pay more if you live in an area where fuel costs or equipment costs more. A tree professional may also charge more if the tree is in an area that is difficult to reach and requires more labor to complete the job.
Why Remove A Tree Stump
Choosing to remove an entire tree or a tree stump is a cosmetic and safety-related decision. Living with a stump in the yard means you have to maneuver around it when cutting grass and likely lose precious yard space to the stump and its root system. A tree stump in the yard is also unsightly and lowers the property's curb appeal, a concern for anyone planning to sell a home.
More importantly, it is a safety issue. The tree stump is dangerous, especially if vines and plants grow over and disguise it so that people walking or playing the yard trip over it. It is also a fire hazard, as it can catch fire and burn for an extended period of time. Insects and fungus may take up residence inside a dead tree stump, potentially creating a pest problem or damaging the surrounding landscape.
How Pros Remove Tree Stumps
Most pros remove a tree stump by grinding it down until its surface rests below the ground. They start by clearing the area of rocks and loosening the soil around the stump. They then lower a commercial grinder on it. This machine has large spinning blades that cut away the wood, turning it into a pile of sawdust. Some machines have a hydraulic lever that guides the blades across the entire width of the stump, and others require manual movement.
Since the blades cut as deep as four to six inches beneath the surface of the ground, this process leaves a hole where the stump used to be along with the tree's roots. To prevent attempts at regrowth, the pros sever the root system with pruning shears or the grinder and add a mound of soil and potassium nitrate to the area to encourage the decomposition process.
Stump grinding isn't the only way to remove a stump. One alternative is to apply a chemical solution to the stump, which softens the wood until you can remove it from the ground. To use this method, you should drill holes in the top of the stump so the chemicals can penetrate. This process takes up to two weeks to complete, and you have to keep children and pets away from the treated area. You then have to manually dig out the stump from the ground using a shovel or other landscaping tools.
Another option is burning the stump. Like with the chemical method, you start by drilling holes in the wood. Then you pour kerosene or fuel oil into the holes and light the stump on fire. To keep winds from spreading the embers, you can place a galvanized steel trash can over the stump. However, if you choose this method, you have to watch the fire carefully. If it burns below the ground, the roots can ignite and burn dangerously underground. You also have to make sure the fire is completely out before walking away from it.
DIY Or Hire A Pro?
Removing a tree stump isn't a difficult task if you have the tools to complete the job, and you certainly can save money doing it yourself. Before you decide to tackle the task, consider the time it will take you to remove the stumps, your physical limitations and comfort with heavy lawn equipment. If you want to remove a large stump or need to clear a section of land that has several stumps, hiring a professional may be more economical since they already have the necessary equipment and know how to use it efficiently. On the other hand, if you need to remove one small stump, you can likely do this on your own.
Tips & Limitations For DIY Stump Removal
There are a few tips for making stump removal an easier process. If you choose to grind the stump by yourself, use a chainsaw to cut the stump as low as possible to the ground. This reduces the amount of time you have to work with the grinder. If you want to try the manual stump removal method, then treat the stump with a softening chemical that breaks down the wood so it is easier to remove. As always, when using power tools or chemicals, wear appropriate gear like safety glasses, gloves and protective clothing.
How To Save Money On Stump Grinding
The key to saving money on stump grinding is spending time preparing for the task. If you plan to remove it yourself, make sure you have all the necessary equipment before you start. A trip to the hardware store to pick up a shovel or spade can cost you hundreds of dollars if it means you have to extend your grinder rental.
You can also prepare the site by removing rocks, loosening soil and cutting down the stump so you don't have to do this while you have rented equipment or workers on the clock. Another way to save money is by doing the clean-up, including disposing of the sawdust, severing the roots and covering the left over hole yourself.
Find A Pro
An old tree stump doesn't have to be an eyesore in your yard. Instead of living with it, you can find a way to remove it with your own hands or hire someone else to do the job. If, after weighing your options, you choose to let the pros get rid of your tree stump, reach out to a local landscaping professional.
Last updated on Feb 16, 2017
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