Stump Grinding vs Removal

Stump Grinding

   PROS
  • Faster to remove
  • Not labor-intensive
  • No gaping-hole after construction
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Stump can be used for mulching
  CONS
  • Possibility of eventual sprout
  • Root decay
  • Potentially harmful to children
$100 - $400

(1 stump, 20-inches diameter)

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Stump Removal

   PROS
  • Complete elimination of stump and roots
  • Replanting is easy
  • No health hazards
  CONS
  • Time-intensive
  • More difficult to remove
  • Gaping hole after removal
  • Not environmentally friendly
$370 - $675

(1 stump, 20-inches diameter)

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There are many reasons for choosing to eliminate tree stumps in your yard. Apart from improving the aesthetics and sanitation concerns, it also ensures the safety of family members and neighbors. However, the challenge is deciding which method to adopt. Stump removal and stump grinding are two common techniques, and yet they are quite different in terms of removal. We describe the two forms of eliminating stumps to help you decide which option is best for you.

Importance of Excavating Tree Stumps

Eliminating the stumps in your yard is one of the most important aspects of tree maintenance and should be executed carefully. If you have second thoughts about eliminating stumps, here are some advantages for carrying out this task:

  • Tree growth: Leaving the stump unattended will generate the growth of other smaller trees around it. These trees will then prove costly to eliminate if left for too long. Also, the trees strip other surrounding plants of their nutrients, causing the plants to wither or die.
  • Safety: It is important to note that these stumps are hazardous and accidents can occur when children or others stumble over them. Stumps can also damage certain appliances, such as the mower.
  • Pests and diseases: Insects like carpenter ants, beetles, and termites are attracted to decaying tree stumps, and these pests can pose an environmental concern for other trees and your home. In addition, the untreated stump may harbor diseases or fungi, and this puts other plants at risk.
  • Aesthetics: While a tree is a perfect enhancement for your home, a stump creates the opposite effect. Tree stumps with weeds or molds growing on or near them can be an eyesore.

Process

Stump grinding is an intricate process that excavates the stump of the tree without removing the root. In this situation, a stump grinder is employed to mechanically grind out the stump, leaving fine sawdust as a residue. The advantage of tree stump grinding is that the stump is ground down to your desired height. The grinding can be just 1 inch below the soil level or as low as 12 inches underground.

Since the stump is ground, it eventually mixes with the soil. This levels the ground and eliminates the need for extra filling. If, however, the stump is infected with honey fungus, which can kill the roots of perennial plants, it is advisable to dispose of the mulch 1 and the residual sawdust.

On the other hand, stump removal involves pulling the stump from the ground. Normally, it requires the heavy use of force, and the machines employed have high-power requirements.

In essence, the process of stump grinding is preferred for many reasons. It is far easier to execute and uses efficient tools to get the job done. Unlike stump removal, which leaves the environment in a messy state, stump grinding provides a greater level of neatness and environmental friendliness.

On the other hand, stump removal eliminates both the root and stump. So, you are sure that there’s no chance of regrowth or sprout. You should bear in mind, however, that the process of disposing of the stump and root is more extensive and expensive.

Costs

Factors such as the diameter of the stump, age of the tree, soil type, root system, and number of stumps determine the cost of stump excavation. Some tree removal services stipulate a minimum service charge for the process and often, there is a discount on additional stumps.

For stump removal, the price ranges between $370 and $675​ per stump. Normally, a more difficult stump, which takes more time to remove, costs considerably more. The cost of disposing of the stump and root may cost an additional $25. However, some companies charge by the hour.

For stump grinding, the average price range is from $75 to $400 per stump. The price can exceed $600 if it takes more time to grind the stump due to the topology of the area, age of the tree, or root system.

Roots

One major difference between both processes is that tree stump removal removes the root as well as the stump. This is what creates the large hole after removal. However, with tree stump grinding, the stump is ground, and the root is left to decay.

It is not unusual to see sprouts from the root with stump grinding, especially if the roots take time to disintegrate.

Possibility of Replanting

If the process of replanting a tree on that spot appeals to you, the best option is to remove the stump and root completely. Tree removal clears the surface and ensures that subsequent plantings are free to grow.

Chemicals

For stump removal, chemicals with a high concentration of potassium nitrate can be used to soften the soil. However, stump grinding requires no chemicals to decompose the stump.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Mulch: A natural substance derived from plant, animal, or mineral matter that is added to soil in order to make it more fertile

Cost to grind or remove a stump. varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Aston, PA
+26%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Brentwood, TN
+41%
Carteret, NJ
+39%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Gilbert, AZ
-2%
Greensboro, NC
-9%
Henderson, NV
+10%
Houston, TX
+24%
Kailua, HI
+36%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lithonia, GA
+9%
Livermore, CA
+35%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Mamaroneck, NY
+40%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Midlothian, VA
-3%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Racine, WI
-7%
Raleigh, NC
-3%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Scottsdale, AZ
-1%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Sunnyvale, CA
+31%
Tampa, FL
-2%
Troutdale, OR
+8%
Tucson, AZ
-19%
Virginia Beach, VA
-8%

Labor cost in your zip code

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