Can I do stump grinding myself?

Stump grinding is the process of removing tree stumps from the ground using a specialised machine called a stump grinder. While it may seem like a simple task, it can actually be quite dangerous and physically demanding, which is why many homeowners choose to hire a professional to do the job for them. However, you may be wondering if you can do stump grinding yourself.

Can I Grind a Tree Stump Myself?

Yes, you can grind a tree stump yourself, but there are some important caveats and considerations, such as whether you have the right equipment, and if not, does it make financial sense to hire it? If you do hire it, can you operate it safely and effectively? 

The first thing to consider is whether you have the proper equipment. Stump grinders are not cheap, and they can be quite heavy and difficult to manoeuvre. If you do not already own a stump grinder, it will not be worth the investment to purchase one for the job.  You will also need a chainsaw, shovel and a rake to get the job done.

How much does it cost to rent a stump grinder?

At the time of writing, same-day return (return by 5pm) rates tend to be advertised as £90+VAT, however once a full tank of petrol, blade wear and tear and damage waiver are automatically applied (these are usually mandatory) the true cost will be between £160-£190 depending on whether you choose to have it delivered.  Depending on the size of your project, it is often the same price if not cheaper to hire a professional to do the job.

Can I operate a stump grinder safely?

Safety should be your top priority, a tree stump grinder can be a very dangerous piece of machinery if not operated correctly.  Additionally, you need to be aware of the surroundings; a stump grinder will cut through many objects, including utility wires meaning the risk of utility interruption as well as electrocution. It might be a good idea to check cable/network location plans to check before you grind below ground level. For more safety tips, take a look here

Step by step stump grinding process:

A tree stump sawn close to ground level in preparation for stump grinding
  1. Clear the area around the stump with a shovel.
  2. Use a chainsaw to remove as much of the tree stump as possible. Ideally, get it level with the ground if possible.
  3. Raise the wheel of the grinder approximately 7cm above the stump using the machine’s lever. Turn the grinder on and then lower it about 10cm into the stump. Using the lever, move the grinder from side to side slowly.
  4. Repeat this process until the stump is ground.

How Deep to Grind?

As mentioned above, check with you utility companies to check for any underground lines.  Otherwise, if you plan to build or pave over the spot, we recommend stump grinding to a depth equal to its diameter otherwise we recommend grinding to a depth of 6-10 inches below ground level.

What kind of mess will be left when I’m done?

The amount of chip left can be quite surprising as the wood is no longer compacted, so make sure you have a plan for what to do with the resultant pile of chip as it will be more than needed to fill the hole.  It is worth noting that chip and debris can fly out at high speed

Is DIY stump grinding worth my time and effort?

There are a lot of things to consider, but depending on your motivation, it is entirely possible to do the job.  If you enjoy DIY and have the experience it is worth exploring, however choose the rental stump grinder carefully as if it hasn’t been maintained properly the job can quickly become frustrating.  Also, try to allow time to clear the debris away before returning the grinder, you might unknowingly miss parts of it, which can be a very annoying discovery if you have already returned the machinery.  If your primary motivation is to save time or money, we would recommend getting a quote from a professional first as often the costs can be quite similar, but saving you a lot of time and hassle. 

If you live in the South Devon area, getting a stump grinding quote is very quick, just submit the details here and we will get back to you with a same-day quote.

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