How to Remove a Tree Stump
Time Required: 2-4 hours
Unsightly tree stumps in your yard can affect the aesthetic of your whole property. There are a few ways to remove them, including digging them out by hand and burning them down (if allowed by your local governing authority). This guide will show a simpler and more effective method for removal, using a stump grinder that can be rented through The Home Depot Tool Rental Center.
- Start by trimming the stump closer to the ground with a chainsaw. We recommend digging up rocks around the base of the stump, as hard debris can damage the blades of your grinder.
- This will also help speed up the process when you begin to grind the stump, especially for larger pieces.
- Dull blades and missing teeth can also be an obstacle, so make sure to sharpen and replace these parts as needed.
- Carefully review the manufacturer’s instructions for the stump grinder. Drive the teeth close to the stump and turn on the machine.
- Keep the engine throttle in the slow position and raise the 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 into the stump, allowing it to gnaw at the surface with sideways movement.
- 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 nature-filled areas, like the one shown here, plan to dig about four inches into the ground. Grassy areas will likely require a few extra inches of digging.
- 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.
- After you’ve removed the stump, you should cover or enrich that section of land.
- For nature-filled 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 and add a layer of fresh grass seed to the soil. Water regularly for healthy growth.
- Always wear the proper safety gear when performing a heavy-duty task like removing a tree stump.
- Refrain from using the stump grinder in the presence of children and pets, flammable liquids, gas and dust.
- Start your tree stump removal project early during the day and avoid working into the night when your visibility can be impaired.
- After the stump is removed and the area is covered, monitor and maintain the space the same way you’d care for the rest of your lawn.