After you’ve had a tree removed, what does it cost to get rid of the stump?
The answer is, it depends.
For larger properties where the need is to clear several acres, a bulldozer and an excavator are probably going to be the best tools for the job.
However, for most smaller scale applications, especially around houses and other buildings, we recommend grinding the stump.
Stump grinding involves the use of a specialized machine, a “stump grinder,” which has a large wheel with sharp teeth. This machine essentially nibbles the stump into small wood chips, which can either be removed from the site or left in place as mulch.
The price for stump grinding usually ranges from $300 to $1,600 for a single stump, with a rough average of about $650.
This wide variation in price is due to a range of factors. Understanding these factors can help you make an informed decision, and plan your budget accordingly.
Factors Affecting Stump Grinding Costs
- Species of Wood: The type of wood affects the time required to grind the stump. Harder wood species take longer to grind, while softer wood can be processed more quickly.
- Size of the Stump: The size of the stump directly influences the time it takes to complete the grinding process. Smaller stumps can be processed more quickly, while larger stumps may require additional time and effort.
- Accessibility: Access to the stump plays a crucial role in determining the complexity of the job. Considerations such as narrow entrances, stairs, slopes, or retaining walls can increase the overall cost. Difficult access situations may necessitate the use of specialized equipment or additional labor, which adds to the overall expense.
- A quick aside: I am consistently impressed with the locations that our crew can access with our grinder. They once took the grinder through the interior of a hotel to access the courtyard; another time they used a forklift to get it over a set of steps, and on numerous other occasions they have utilized ramps to get up or down retaining walls. I have, on occasion, had to go back to clients to tell them that we could, in fact, get to their stumps, when I had previously told them we would not be able to. It is truly impressive.
- Underground Utilities: The presence of any buried utilities, or other obstacles, adds complexity to the grinding operations. A utility locate should be called in prior to performing any stump grinding that goes below the surrounding surface level—our typical grinding depth is between 6 and 12 inches.
- As a cautionary note, this requirement should cause one to pause when considering using any spur-of-the-moment “we are in your neighborhood” grinding services. While one can often have a level of confidence of the utility locations without having a locate service performed, we occasionally are surprised to see where some are identified—and some of the services can be shockingly shallow.
- Terrain and Slope: Terrain conditions, including slopes, can significantly impact the difficulty and safety of operating a stump grinder. Steeper slopes pose more challenges and risks, which may require extra precautions and expertise, ultimately affecting the cost.
- Quantity of Stumps: No matter how many stumps we grind, there is a cost to mobilize personnel and equipment to your site. Therefore, grinding multiple stumps in a single day will tend to be more cost-effective than grinding the same number of stumps over two separate days. More stumps in a single visit means a lower cost per stump.
- End Condition of the Site: How do you want the site to look once the stump is ground down? Here are a few options to consider:
- Leaving the Grindings on Site: In this scenario, the grindings are pushed into a mound where the stump was located. Over time, the grindings will decompose and become flat with the ground. However, this option restricts the use of the site for planting grass or other vegetation.
- Removing the Grindings: Removing the grindings allows for future replanting and use of the area. You can choose to remove some of the grindings and mix the remainder with topsoil, remove most of the grindings and leave just a small amount behind, or completely remove all of the grindings and refill the hole with new topsoil. The more extensive the removal and site restoration, the higher the cost will be.
We hope this explanation helps you understand the factors that influence stump removal pricing.
To get an accurate quotation for your project, please reach out to us for an on-site assessment and a detailed proposal. Our team will be glad to assist you.