How to: Getting down to business with stump grinding
Many clients long to have a flat, well-manicured lawn, but if their yards have pesky stumps in the way, the aesthetic can be thrown off.
Take a look at a few tips tree experts recommend when removing a stump, as well as how to avoid some of the most commonly made mistakes during the process.
Your preferred method
Stump grinding is the name of the game for Todd Burke, owner of Dave’s Tree Services in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, as it’s one of the most commonly performed services in their area.
While there may be multiple methods for removing stumps, in his experience, Burke says the best way is by using equipment specifically designed for stump removal.
“You can fight with a lot of different methods, but an actual stump grinder is going to do the job best,” says Burke. “Heavy equipment will do the job, but it’s not the answer. You’re going to have a big mess that way.”
For their crews, Burke says they have two different stumpers. A larger one is pulled behind their vehicle and is used on larger projects, and the other is self-propelled and used on smaller projects.
Burke says he’s seen people use chemicals to remove stumps and others that attempted burning the stumps out, but he says he’s personally never seen the best results come from these methods.
“Those are home remedies, I guess you could call it, that I don’t feel work very well,” says Burke. “And of course, you get homeowners that want to do it themselves and go down to the hardware store and rent a small handheld version of a stumper.”
If the stumps are small and are of the softwood variety, Burke says this can be an effective solution for homeowners who prefer to do their own stump removal, but if the stump is a hardwood variety or is larger, it won’t be as effective.
“I hear homeowners say all the time they’ll take care of the stump themselves, and I’ll make the comment, ‘Well, when that doesn’t work for you, feel free to give us a call back, and we’ll take care of it for you,’” says Burke. “Nine times out of 10, those people call us back. The other methods of stump removal just are not effective.”
Before you hit the site
Before starting the process of stump grinding, Burke says ensuring operator safety is paramount. The number one way Burke says someone can get injured while grinding a stump is by not knowing what’s under the ground.
Burke says the first step in this type of project is to get in touch with the local utility department and to call the Diggers Hotline to ensure all underground lines are clearly marked.
“Before we ever grind the stump, we make sure that yard has flags put out or there are marks spraypainted on the ground where there would be any utilities like a water line, electrical line or a gas line,” says Burke. “Whether this stump is properly marked for any underground utilities or not is your number one safety factor.”
When Burke does the locates or e-locates, he requests they mark out 10 feet around any stump that’s getting ground out. Burke adds that it doesn’t cost the customer or contractor anything to get these things marked off.
Burke says you need to also make sure you have properly trained staff working with you on these projects. To ensure this, Burke says they have safety manuals and a safety chart in each of their vehicles, and they perform safety training on all the equipment before getting out in the field.
“You do not want to take another individual who is not used to that machine, just give them a two-second rundown on how it works and have them go and grind stumps,” says Burke. “You want an operator very familiar with the machine.”
Even if everything is carefully marked, Burke recommends always having a plan in place to deal with what might happen if a line is hit.
“There should be safety policies and procedures so all of your stumper operators are aware of what they should do in case of an emergency,” says Burke. “When it comes to a job, no matter what job you’re doing, I don’t think you can be too safe or too prepared.”
Once on the jobsite, Burke says to set up a safety barricade around the stump to keep debris from flying back and hitting operators.
After the barricades are up and the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is on, he recommends taking a pickaxe and going around the area of the stump to see if anything can be pulled up before grinding begins.
Burke says a popular reason among customers for why a stump needs to be removed is to help the look and layout of the yard. Stumps can get in the way of mowing and lawn maintenance, so removing them and filling in the hole can help restore the space to its former glory.
When grinding a stump, Burke says it’s important to make sure you grind deep enough that the whole mound is ground out, which includes the roots and any dirt that flares up to the stump.
Burke says in many cases, customers want a stump removed so they can use that space for other plants, and sometimes they want to replant a new tree in the area.
If this is the case, Burke recommends not planting a new tree in the exact spot where a stump was removed. Even when the process is done thoroughly and correctly, Burke says there’s always a chance that the stump was not ground deep enough to entirely remove old root remnants that could interfere with a new tree’s development. Instead, he recommends filling the hole in and planting new trees close to the area.
If operators aren’t comfortable grinding the stump located close to a marked line, Burke suggests opting out of grinding the stump with machinery. If that’s the case, Burke says you can take a chainsaw and flush it as close to the ground as you possible so it’s not as unsightly. Or, he says you can hand dig down next to the utility line and use a mechanical grinder if you feel confident you could remove the stump that way.
“Once you know that you are safe at that point to grind, then you can commence stump grinding, but then you be careful that you do not go deeper than what you hand dug,” says Burke. “Stumps can be ground when they’re close to utilities. You just have to use extreme caution.”
Once the project is complete, Burke says it’s best to immediately clear the site of all debris, as it will be much easier to clear while the chippings are light and fresh. Next, make sure the hole is completely cleared out and fill it in with fresh topsoil.
Burke says to then rake over the area and lightly pack it down. Lastly, he says to break up the top of the dirt a bit and sprinkle grass seeds on it to help encourage new growth in the area.
Powered with an electric start, 25 HP gas engine and a hydraulically powered cutting wheel. This Stump cutter provides superior performance and productivity and works with small, medium, and large stump grinding applications.
Would you like to reserve this equipment?
Grand Ledge Location Phone: (517) 627-2121
Okemos Location Phone: (517) 349-2220
Rent the Stump Grinder Rental, Bandit Model 2250R
The Bandit 2250R, stump grinder rental is a perfect unit for homeowners, landscapers and tree care professionals
This stump grinder rental machine has a compact size, awesome hydraulic power and well designed operator controls makes this tree stump cutter a favorite across multiple market segments.
The 21-inch diameter stump cutter wheel with direct hydrostatic drive and a side-to-side cutter swing allows the 2250R to grind small and medium-sized stumps quickly and efficiently.
This rental stump cutter has plenty of power for tackling small, medium and large tree stumps as well as tree root systems. Boasting an electric start, 25 horsepower gasoline engine as well as a heavy duty hydrostatic motor to directly power the cutter wheel makes this unit powerful, maneuverable, and a favorite among professional contractors and home owners.
Equipped with large flotation tires and a two-wheel drive self-propelled undercarriage, the 2250R will travel across delicate lawns without issue, and only measuring 35 inches wide, it usually fits comfortably through most common backyard gates as well.
Bandit Model 2250R
Specifications and Dimensions:
- LENGTH (W/BLADE) : 112″
- HEIGHT: 44-3/4″
- WIDTH: 35″
- WEIGHT: 1,380 lbs.
- FUEL TANK: 8.75 gallons
- HYDRAULIC TANK: 8.75 gallons
Cutter Wheel System:
CUTTER DEPTH: 14″ ” ” HEIGHT: 24-½” ” ” SWING: 50″
” ” DIAMETER: 20-1/4″ ” ” THICKNESS: 1/2″
Drive System: Self-propelled drive system with a 2-wheel drive assembly.
Here are some of our other forestry rental products Forestry Equipment Rentals
Using A Stump Grinder Safely Effectively
A stump grinder is a machine that uses a rotating cutting disk to chip away tree stumps. It offers an easy, fast and effective way of removing stumps.
How to bid small stump grinding jobs
Stump grinders, just like other heavy and powerful machinery, can be potentially dangerous and are operated by professionals due to the high risk of injury involved.
Operators need protective equipment to operate the machine itself and protect themselves from the decibels and fragments flying off during grinding.
These could be sharp wood pieces and also anything that could’ve been hidden in the ground: old columns, pipes, bricks, glass, nails or lost equipment.
Our Recommendation: Power King PKO803 Grinder
Renting VS. Owning
A rental grinder is the best option if you want to DIY and remove a few stumps in your lawn. It’s always a cheaper option than buying the equipment or hiring an arborist to do the work for you. Plus, the rental store explains safety precautions on using the stump grinder before you leave with it. Some rental companies also offer to deliver the grinder to your home, so less headache if you don’t have a trailer or a truck.
However, if you will be performing yard work regularly on your farm or want to start a lucrative stump removal business, it’s best to own your stump grinder as you will most likely have stumps to remove every now and then.
Preparation Before Using A Tree Stump Grinder
Besides machine damage, risks associated with stump grinding jobs include flying rocks, debris and carbide cutting tips that could’ve broken loose. Injuries that could result from the careless or reckless use of stump grinders include fractures, loss of limbs and, in the worst case, death. So, before heading out into the field, it’s always best that you and those around you should know the proper safety procedures and precautions to prevent injuries.
Safety when using stump grinders should always be your number one priority.
The basic and most important safety rules of operating a stump grinder are to wear protective gear, clear rocks and debris around the work area and stay away from the base and cutting wheel of the grinder.
Before proceeding to start up your grinder, always do the following for safe and efficient stump grinding:
Inspect The Work Area
First, do a walk around and inspect the area to make sure it’s safe to work. Check whether there is sufficient footing for your stump grinder and operator. Also, make sure that there are no safety hazards around the work area. Take note and clear all the twigs, rocks, and other objects around the tree stump.
Also, check for buried pipes, fencing or metal as they also could present danger. Remember to ask the owner whether there could be underground utilities such as water gas pipes, sprinkler lines, property markers, etc.
Safety First, Gear Instructions
Since stump grinders can be extremely dangerous, the operator(s) must wear their respective safety equipment all the time while using the stump grinder. This includes gloves, safety goggles, PPE, ear plugs, sturdy steel-toed work boots and chainsaw safety pants.
Most stump grinders have been equipped with safety features. It’s now common for the grinders to include a cutter wheel guard and safety curtains to help prevent flying debris from hurting the operators. Some also have emergency shutdowns and/or operator presence sensors and devices.
NOTE: Absolutely never go near the cutter wheel.
Clear The Area Around the Base Of The Stump
Before grinding the stumps, clear the area of anything lying around that you found during the inspection. To further increase the visibility, you can also trim grass and plants around the stump.
Next, if the tree stump is higher above the ground level, you can try and cut it down as low as possible to help reduce the amount of grinding needed to get rid of the stump. Using a chainsaw to trim the stump also reduces the stump grinder’s amount and hours of work. This speeds up the stump removal process and makes the job much easier.
A stump grinding pro always uses a shovel to clear all the rocks and sticks around the stump’s base. This is not only an important safety practice, but it also helps protect the wheel teeth from getting damaged.
Make Sure The Grinder Is Well Serviced
Regular maintenance and servicing are essential to keep your stump grinder and the work environment safe and reliable. Lack of maintenance or inadequate servicing can potentially be the cause of nasty accidents and health problems. We recommend both Power King stump grinders and DK2 Power stump grinders.
Using A Stump Grinder: Process
Stump grinding is an intricate process that requires patience.
Once you have prepared the surrounding ground, you are now ready to proceed. Move the grinder and make sure the grinder’s cutting wheel is directly above the stump before turning it on. In some grinders, you have to engage the safety switch first for the stump grinder to turn on.
Slowly lower the wheel until it comes into contact with the stump. The machine will then start the grind, chipping away wood chips. Use the adjustment lever on the machine to make small increments and move the wheel from side to side to ensure that all the tree stump is properly removed.
Take Your Time
Besides making the wheel adjustments throughout the process. to remove stumps completely, you’ll often need to make several passes by moving the machine forward and backwards over the tree stump to bring it down to about 4 inches below the ground level.
Generally, most professionals recommend grinding a minimum of 4-6 inches below the ground. In some instances, you might be required to go deeper, sometimes even up to 10 inches! However, the depth to which a stump grinder is effective is subject to some limitations. These could be things like the type/radius of tree stump you are dealing with and whether your stump grinder is powerful enough.
For small to medium stump removals, the process can take less than 15 minutes, while large stumps can take as much as 2 hours, sometimes more depending on the conditions and type of tree.
Once you are satisfied with the stump removal, turn off the machine and move it away from the stump area.
Disposing The Leftover Wood Chip
You’ve managed to get rid of the tree stump. The next step is to dispose of the grindings that have piled up in your yard. Shovel or rake up as many wood chips as you can. Push the dirt and all the remaining wood chips to fill the hole left by the tree stump. Tamp it down, lightly rake and spread grass or flower seeds, or plant vegetables around the area to restore your lawn.
Do wood chips attract termites?
Yes They Do
Stump Grinding 101 Tips From A Business Owner | For The Homeowner by Kenny’s Tree Removal
The wood chips act as mulching which helps retain moisture. While termites do not smell out or seek the mulch, they are most certainly drawn to the moist and thicker environment once they randomly find them.
A few ways to dispose of the wood chips include:
- Using them as mulch.
- Adding them to your compost the material.
- Spread them on the pathways and walkways.
- Burying them into the stump hole
A stump grinder is a powerful machine that should be handled with care at all times. Here are some important reminders:
- Always wear protective gear to shield yourself from flying debris.
- Ensure there are no bystanders close or entering the area.
- Don’t try to push down or overpower the stump grinder by grinding too deep too fast. Instead, use a side-to-side sweeping motion.
- It’s best to follow a stump grinder pre-start checklist before you start the grinder.
- Always read the operating instructions before use, especially if you are new to the machine.
Vertical stump grinders
The Rotor 3P stump grinders are the ideal equipment for the quick and complete crushing of strains and roots of previously abraded plants, the Rotor 3P is the version of the stump grinder.
vertical stump grinder Speedy 80/100
Rotor Speedy is the ideal tool to clear stumps and fallen trees from forest areas and public and private garden. Technical Data Absorbed power 80/100 HP (59/74 Kw) Power intake 1000 rpm. Dimensions cm
vertical stump grinder Speedy 80/100
Rotor Speedy is the ideal tool to clear stumps and fallen trees from forest areas and public and private garden. Technical Data Absorbed power 80/100 HP (59/74 Kw) Power intake 1000 rpm. Dimensions cm. 230x120x170 Weight.
vertical stump grinder Piranha
Single-acting hydraulics with return required Options Greentec Autopilot automatic control of Greentec Piranha stump grinder controls functions: swivelling from left to right.
vertical stump grinder Shark 8
Options Welding plate (flat plate to weld selected quick change on) Hydraulic swivelhead CW 30 quick change Extra cutting points on side grinding wheel Set hydraulic hoses Features Main shaft beared in oil bath Hydraulic.
vertical stump grinder Shark 6 series
Options Welding plate (flat plate to weld selected quick change on) Hydraulic swivel head CW 10 or CW 30 quick change Extra cutting points on side grinding wheel Features Main shaft beared in oil bath Hydraulic motor separately.
vertical stump cutter SC30TX
With a FOCUS on ease-of-operation, the compact design of the SC30TX offers intuitive controls, minimal service points and the performance of a machine that gets the job done. The modified operator presence handle design is now manufactured.
vertical stump cutter
The stump cutter is suitable for grinding away tree trunks (stumps) and surface-growing roots. The Herder-Fermex stump cutter consists of a grinder.
vertical stump cutter Woodcracker S series
Application Areas Clean cutting of root stock flush to the ground Further processing and chipping of the root stock Additional biomass mobilisation through the harvest of residual trunk wood Usage in loose, sandy and erosion-prone soils Can.
vertical stump grinder SKORPION F400
of the cutter to the right and left direction, and thus grind trunks thoroughly. Stump cutter is driven by a 25 HP gasoline engine with electric start-up. This stump machine proves.
hydraulic drive stump grinder RAC
STUMP HARVESTER EXCAVATOR (RAC) Stump Harvester for pulling out and chopping stumps. It allows a good penetration near the stump and also removes and cuts easily
vertical stump cutter SCH, SCH/GT Series
Stump cutter with a max working depth of 60 cm/20” for tractors between 130 and 350 HP. The SCH stump cutter is the ideal solution for grinding stumps.
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