If one of your trees has been cut or has fallen, you’ve probably thought about how to remove a tree stump from your yard. Maybe you considered digging it out by hand or even burning it. You may have even wondered if you could pull it out with a truck or car.
You don’t have to spend any more time figuring out how to get rid of a tree stump. This guide will show you the best way to remove a tree stump. The fastest and most effective method is to use a stump grinder.
Remove Any Obstructions
- Start by trimming the stump closer to the ground with a chainsaw.
- Dig up any rocks around the base of the stump. Hard debris can damage the blades of the stump grinder.
- Keep the equipment in good working order. Dull blades and missing teeth can be an obstacle to removing the stump. Sharpen and replace these parts as needed.
- Make a plan to deal with the large volume of debris that will be created by the stump grinder.
- Protect the surrounding area. A stump grinder can throw debris hard enough to break glass. Consider covering any windows or glass doors near the area with plywood. Move any cars that might be parked near the stump.
Safety tip: Before you start digging, find out where utility lines may be buried. Call 811 or visit call811.org a few business days before you plan to start your project. Utility companies will come out and mark underground lines with paint or flags so you can avoid hitting them when you dig.
Grind the Tree Stump
A stump grinder has sharp teeth on the front to cut right into the stump. It quickly chips the wood of the stump into a pile of debris.
- As you figure out how to remove a tree stump, carefully review the manufacturer’s instructions for the stump grinder. Drive the teeth close to the stump and turn on the machine.
- Raise the cutting wheel of the grinder a few inches above the front edge of the stump with the brake lever.
- Turn on the spinning cutting wheel and slowly lower it onto the stump. Allow it to gnaw at the surface with sideways movement.
Dig Deeper Into the Stump
- Raise the wheel and move the machine forward a few inches. Keep repeating this movement until you’ve dug well into the ground and have removed the stump.
- For stumps in more natural areas, plan to dig about four inches into the ground. Stumps in grassy spaces will likely require a few extra inches of digging.
Remove the Roots
- Make sure to break up any roots that may be sprouting from the stump.
- You may need to accelerate the engine throttle to fully accomplish this.
Turn Off the Grinder
- To turn off the machine, start by lowering the engine speed, then flip the emergency switch to power down the motor.
- Set the parking brake and wait until all internal components have stopped moving before safely removing the grinder from the work area.
Dress the Stump Area
- After you’ve removed the stump, you should cover or enrich that section of your yard.
- In more natural areas, put mulch or wood chips over your newly formed hole. For grassy landscapes, fill the hole with wood chips and add topsoil to help reduce soil compaction.
- Lightly rake the covered area. Add a layer of fresh grass seed to the soil. Water regularly for healthy growth.
- After the stump is removed and the area has been covered, monitor and maintain the space the same way you’d care for the rest of your lawn.
Stump Removal Safety Tips
- Always wear the proper safety equipment when performing a heavy-duty task like removing a tree stump.
- Don’t use the stump grinder while children or pets are around.
- Don’t operate the stump grinder near flammable liquids, gas or dust.
- Start your tree stump removal project during the early part of the day. Avoid working into the night when it can be hard to see what you’re doing.
Rather than manually digging wood and roots out of the ground, the best way to remove a tree stump is to use a machine to quickly chop up the stump. Learning how to remove a tree stump with a stump grinder can save you a lot of time and effort.
You don’t have to buy a costly stump grinder, however. Instead, you can rent one from The Home Depot’s Tool Rental Center.