Tree stump removal can take hours manually. It is difficult, it is tedious and it is extremely hard work. The Guardian's Alys Fowler recommends using a tree stump grinder to remove a tree stump - so we are going to tell you all about how you can use one of these machines yourself to get rid of tree stumps.
Why remove tree stumps?
Firstly, let's talk about why you should remove a tree stump after you have cut down a tree.
Leaving tree stumps in the ground after a tree has been felled can lead to problems with 'suckering' - where new shoots sprout from the trunk and roots. So whilst you may have cut the tree down, it is still very much alive and still growing in your garden.
If a stump is dead, it won't form suckers, but the stump can look very unattractive and out of place. The dead stump could also play host to root diseases such as honey fungus, so it is not really worth taking that risk.
What is a tree stump grinder?
Tree stump grinders are powerful machines, mounted on wheels, with a petrol engine and a hard-wearing rotating chizel blade. The blade rotates extremely quickly to grind away at the tree stump and turn it into fine wood chippings.
Stump grinders can make easy work of removing even extremely large and stubborn tree stumps, so they provide a much more efficient and less laborious way of removing a tree stump than trying to do it manually.
How to use a tree stump grinder to remove tree stumps
When using a tree stump grinder to remove tree stumps from the ground, you should first tackle the roots.
Wheel the machine in place so that the blade is in position over an exposed root, start up the engine and begin by grinding across the roots in a steady sweeping action from left to right and back again. You should angle the machine so that it grinds 1” down from the top of the roots on each pass, each time sweeping back across the root at 1” lower than the previous pass.
Once the roots have been cleared, you can then tackle the stump.
Approach the stump the same way you approached the roots. Sweeping across the trunk, you should grind around 1.5” down on each pass. As the stump is chipped down, you can wheel the machine forward to tackle further into the stump. Once the stump has been chipped down to ground level, you can even tilt the machine downwards to grind down below ground level and completely remove the stump.
As you remove a tree stump, a lot of wood chippings will be created by the machine. Stump grinders feature chip deflectors which help to prevent the wood chips from flying everywhere - so you will be left with a pile of wood chippings to deal with afterwards.
What to do with the wood chippings
Once you have removed the tree stump, you can use the chips left behind to fill in the hole. Or you can use them as mulch in other areas of the garden, you can clear them up using a vacuum/blower machine, or you can compost them.
Stump grinder safety
Our tree stump grinders are fitted with chip deflectors which prevent the wood chips flying around and causing injury.
However, you must wear full safety equipment whilst using a tree stump grinder in order to minimise the risk of injury whilst using the machine. This includes a hard hat and face visor, heavy-duty gloves, work boots and ear defenders.
Tree stump grinders are powerful pieces of equipment - you must take in all advice given, read the instruction manual carefully and only use the stump grinder if you feel confident enough to do so.
Take a look at our tree stump grinders on our website for more information on these machines. You can contact our hire team via online live chat or telephone to further discuss our stump grinders, to get a stump grinder hire quote and to arrange a hire.