Project Guide

How to Remove a Tree Stump

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1
Gather Tools and Materials
gather tools and materials

Before you begin, gather all the necessary tools and materials:

2
Remove Any Obstructions
Man digging around a tree stump
  • 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.
3
Grind the Tree Stump
Man using a stump grinder on a large stump
  • 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.
4
Dig Deeper into the Stump
Man pushing down over a tree stump with a stump ginder
  • 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.
5
Remove the Roots
A stump grinder running over tree 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. 
6
Turn off the Grinder
A stump grinder running over tree roots.
  • 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. 
7
Dress the Stump Area
Someone sprinkling grass seeds over a patch of topsoil.
  • 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.
8
Stump Removal Tips
A tree stump in the middle of a yard.
  • 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.