How much does it cost to remove a stump?
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Stump Removal Cost Guide
Updated: August 17, 2022
If you have a problematic tree stump, removal may be an important step in achieving beauty, safety, landscape planning, and improving access to your home or yard. Unlike grinding, removal involves a heavy machine coming in to pull up the entire stump and some or all of the root structure. Although the process is fairly straightforward, the costs and exact details could vary depending on the difficulty level and geographic region, among other factors.
The national average cost to remove a stump is $200 to $700, with most homeowners paying $380 to remove a tree stump with a 24” diameter, including partial removal of the accessible root structure. On the low end, you could pay as little as $50 for a small stump with no root removal from a company without a minimum charge. At the high end, some people pay up to $1,100 for removal of a large stump in a difficult location with an extensive root structure that is more than 15 feet in length.
Stump Removal Price
|Stump Removal Cost
|National average cost
Tree Stump Removal Cost by Size
The average cost of tree stump removal by size ranges from $50 to $1,100. However, some professionals have a minimum charge of $100 to make it worth their time and the use of their equipment. Most professionals base their price on the diameter, with smaller trees costing less because they require less work to remove. The experts consider around 24” to be average, which costs $200 to $700 to remove. A large tree stump of 72” in diameter can cost up to $1,100. Many professionals add extra charges for location, level of difficulty, root structure, and other factors. In the table and subsections below, you will see the cost when no minimum charge is incurred.
|Removal Cost (Labor Included)
|$50 - $70
|$75 - $100
|$85 - $200
|$200 - $700
|$250 - $750
|$540 - $800
|$500 - $1,100
Stump Removal Cost per Stump
When removing stumps larger than 12 inches, many professionals assess a $100 minimum charge and add to the price to accommodate the size and other factors. In the case of a very small tree or simple removal, you may find arborists and landscapers willing to do the job for as little as $50, but that depends on several factors. If you have more than one to remove, most professionals charge the full price for removing the first unit and less for each additional one. Removing an additional one ranges from $50 to $150.
Tree Stump Removal Prices by Method
The average cost of tree stump removal ranges from $60 to $700, depending on the method used. The size and the method have the biggest impact on cost, but there are other factors to consider. The natural method, or using tools and equipment to dig it out, is preferred by most people, but chemical and burning methods are alternatives. In the table and subsections below, you will see a breakdown of each method, its costs, and other factors.
|Removal Cost (Labor Included)
|$60 - $200
|$100 - $200
|$200 - $700
Chemical Tree Stump Removal
Chemical tree stump removal is a more affordable (but potentially risky) option. People spend between $60 and $200, which includes $10 to $50 on chemicals and $50 to $150 per hour for a landscaper to apply the chemicals properly. Some people choose this option to avoid digging up the yard, but it may not be ideal for every situation. Chemical is not effective for deep-rooted trees or those excessively large in diameter but might be ideal for smaller trees, saplings, bushes, or weed stumps.
Burning Tree Stump Removal
The average cost to have a tree stump removed by burning is $100 to $200. Usually, you will not have to spend a lot to have it burned out if you can find someone to do it. This is generally only allowed in rural areas because of pollution and smoke concerns. However, it can be an effective option for stubborn trees or when you want to save a little money. Always check with your local municipality or fire department about stump burning regulations, permits required, or other factors.
Natural Tree Stump Removal
Natural tree stump removal, which is the most common choice, ranges from $200 to $700, depending on the size, complexity of the roots, and other factors. Most people choose natural methods because they offer the least potential damage. While burning and chemical methods are effective, they can also be dangerous and affect the environment, so they are not usually preferred. The natural method includes using various saws and other equipment to remove it and its root system from the ground.
Tree Stump Removal Labor Prices
A flat rate is often used for average stump removal, ranging from $50 to $400 for a simple service. Some professionals charge by the hour, with hourly rates ranging from $100 to $150, including clearing a piece of land. Others may charge a flat rate of $50 to $150 per unit, based on several factors. The cost estimate is based on the accessibility, extent of the root structure, soil condition, tree type and size, utility lines, and cleanup requirements.
Arborists, landscaping, grinding, tree care, tree maintenance, tree removal, tree services, tree surgeon, and tree trimmer professionals can remove your tree stump. Ask for removal specifically because while grinding is a popular option, it is not the same as removing a tree stump and roots completely. Grinding removes the obvious parts of the stump and allows it to be covered with dirt or otherwise repurposed.
Several factors increase the cost of removal. The type, size, location, and accessibility are most notable. For example, trees like oak, aspen, elm, birch, and hickory are more difficult (and expensive) due to the density of their wood and root systems. The age of the wood also impacts the cost because a rotted stump is much easier to remove. Soil conditions can make things more difficult and costly, as can the root structure and location. For example, a stump from a large tree with many large roots growing between two closely spaced homes requires a professional. Tree roots share a subterranean environment with utility lines, rocks, and sprinkler lines. Utility lines, such as electric and gas, introduce safety hazards that factor into the cost. Roots frequently grow under foundations, streets, driveways, retaining walls, storage sheds, and flower beds. This requires coordination, specialized techniques, and additional time to remove, and costs are billed to the customer.
Tree Stump Removal Process
Professionals dig to remove the stump, which involves large tools or heavy equipment. Removing an average 24” unit takes about 3-4 hours from start to finish. Chainsaws or cutting tools can cut it into several pieces for easier removal as well. The process could include removing a larger root system, especially if it was a mature tree. Identify future plans for the area where the stump is located so that the professional can determine the right amount to remove. For example, when installing a sprinkler system or pouring a concrete foundation for a sidewalk, you need clear paths for the water lines or concrete forms. Rebar for a planned retaining wall could require a more extensive cleanup of the tree stump and root system. A new lawn area with an automated sprinkler system could require a 15-28” deep area to be root-free. Ensure that any remaining root system will not disturb the concrete poured for a sidewalk, driveway, or handicap ramp.
You should not plant a new tree in the hole due to the lack of nutrients. Planting a new tree or plants at least five feet away gives them a better chance of survival. Rocks and dirt are poured into the hole with grass over it, preferably the same as the surrounding lawn. If you pour concrete over the removal site, the dirt and rocks below need compaction and leveling. Ask a professional to include this remediation and follow-up activities as part of the service, but the cost will increase.
Tree and Stump Removal Cost
If you need to remove a tree before removing the stump, you can expect to spend an additional $400 to $1,100 on tree removal, with total costs increasing to $600 to $1,800. A dead tree needs to be cut down and removed. You may also want to remove the stump to reduce the risk of attracting pests or increase your curb appeal. In some cases, a tree and its entire root structure are too close to a building or other structure and need to be removed before damage is caused. In any case, many professionals will create a total project and offer a slightly discounted rate when you have them perform both removal services at the same time.
Tree Root Removal Cost
The cost of tree root removal ranges from $70 to $500, with most people spending around $125 per root ball or tree. If you have troublesome roots and need to remove some of them to allow the tree to continue to grow without causing damage to your home or property, this is an option that professionals will recommend. The same professionals that do stump removal can handle this process. It is not as common for people to have roots removed without the tree itself because that impacts the quality of life of the tree and causes other issues. However, when done properly, it can be an effective solution for several situations involving bothersome tree roots. Some people choose to have uprooting done after removing a stump, which is also an option.
Bush Stump Removal Cost
Regardless of the size, most professionals charge at least $50 for removing a bush stump. Many professionals charge a $100 minimum to perform removal services of any kind. Bushes are like small trees, with a woody growth habit and a single trunk. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) classifies these as shrubs, but professionals use the terms bush and shrub interchangeably. Bushes less than 16 feet in height leave a small stump when cut down that does not require heavy machinery to remove. Many homeowners remove them with a shovel and gardening tools. Hire a professional to ensure that all roots are removed, preventing new growth from still-living root material.
Why Should I Remove Stumps?
Stump removal is something to consider for several different reasons. Some people remove them simply because they are creating an eyesore after a tree has been removed, and they want to use the land for something else. Others may remove them to reduce the risk of a tripping hazard in the yard or to make the yard easier to mow and maintain. If the stump and/or its root system are encroaching on the foundation of your home, your driveway, or other areas, you may also want to remove them to prevent damage from occurring. And finally, they prevent the growth of other plants or greenery and can attract pests like termites, mice, and so forth.
Stump Grinding vs Removal
Clearing your land of one or more tree stumps can be completed by grinding or removal. Grinding an average-sized unit costs about $150 to $300 while removing it costs $200 to $700. Grinding uses machinery to break a tree stump into mulch without removing the roots. Removal requires heavy equipment to pull the stump and root structure out of the ground. Grinding is usually preferred because it is less expensive, labor-intensive, and destructive. Grinding does not leave a gaping hole in the ground or disturb the surrounding soil. However, fertile plant material is not left behind if you remove it.
You can customize the depth by opting to grind it anywhere from 1” to 12” below the surface. The resulting mulch, a byproduct of grinding, can enhance your existing landscape. However, grinding is not a good choice if the wood of the tree is diseased because grinding the wood with the wood chips and splinters flying about only serves to spread the pathogens.
Although a more expensive option, it has many benefits. Eliminating the heavy and extensive plant material allows you to start fresh with your landscape. Remediation fills the holes with compost to encourage a smooth lawn to grow over it or a starting point for other landscaping projects. Without a buried stump and roots, you can build a solid and durable foundation for other outdoor structures like a deck, concrete patio, or asphalt driveway. Some property owners upcycle the removed stump for gardening and woodcraft projects.
|Type of Service
|Average Cost (Labor Included)
|$150 - $300
|$200 - $700
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
The average cost of yard clean-up ranges from $200 to $500. You could pay as little as $150 for basic debris removal, but you could pay more for more significant clean-up and landscaping work. Once a stump is removed, you will want to spruce up the yard and get things looking good again. You do not want to leave a hole where the thing used to be. This will be in addition to any clean-up costs associated with the removal, unless, of course, your professional offers to do the yard clean-up, as well.
Once the stump is gone, you will spend around $0.87 to $1.76 per square foot to have sod installed on the ground where the new hole is. Otherwise, you could be left with an unsightly patch of dead grass, dirt, and debris, or another ugly reminder of a tree that once was. Sod is an ideal choice, as opposed to seeding, because it installs quickly and offers instant coverage, not requiring any time or maintenance for growth like grass seed. Sodding is usually done by landscapers or sod or lawn care experts.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Before hiring. Contact several companies and review the contract or proposal carefully before signing. Get proof of insurance for liability and workers' compensation and ask what local licenses and permits are required.
- Yard maintenance. Yard maintenance may be simpler if the ground is level or slightly sloped. Removing the stumps makes it easier for mowing, maintenance, and yard care. Regular yard maintenance can include plans to improve the areas outside of a home with beautification, ground leveling, safety checks, and seasonal cleanup. Landscape planning can improve home value.
- DIY. Removal can be a DIY project but may require rental equipment or professional advice. One DIY method uses a chemical solution like potassium nitrate to decompose it and its roots. After that, create a teepee of scrap wood around your stump, and with the correct safety precautions, light it on fire. If you have the tools, you can wrap a chain or strap around the thing while the come-along is attached to a sturdy, stable object like a vehicle tow hitch or another tree. Then raise and lower the arm on the come-along to steadily ratchet the stump out of the ground.
- Chemical treatment. Sprout growth on or around a tree stump could be replanted. Consider this before you decide to use chemicals or treatments to remove it.
- Disposal. Cleanup may include additional costs for disposal of the stump and root system. The average cost is $25 to $50, or it could be part of a flat rate for the cleanup.
- Inspections. A tree’s root structure may extend underneath your home. Regular checks are suggested to ensure a slight downward slope of grading around the home’s exterior. A professional can also check the type of trees close to the exterior and examine the root structure. Any recommendations for tree or stump removal could include an understanding of how a root structure is growing.
- Ground compaction. Ground compaction can be done in many ways with basic tools, equipment, or natural rainfall. Ground leveling and monitoring are recommended for safety and planning reasons. Regular checks with rainfall and seasonal changes can be part of property maintenance plans.
- Uses for the remains. Resources and possibly local providers use stumps for art decor. Using it for furniture assembly, table supplies, or painting or artistic presentations are good environmentally friendly solutions. Additional costs may apply.
- Accessibility. Any needs for large equipment may require land access with reviews of accessibility through fencing, ease of maneuverability, neighborhood entry, safety checks, and protection of other landscaping areas. Before they arrive, give your stump removal pro as much information as possible about the unit and any access concerns.
- Travel fees. Some arborists charge fees for mileage and/or fuel if they travel a certain distance. This is rare, but it is something to consider because you do not want to be surprised when you see it on your bill. Travel fees cover expenses related to traveling to and from the job site (your property), disposing of their waste, and returning to their hub.
- Is it better to grind a stump or to remove it?
The landscape or other future plans will determine the best method to use when deciding to either grind a stump or remove it. Keep in mind that grinding may leave more of the root structure behind than excavation-style removal.
- Is it necessary to remove tree stump?
Considerations for tree stump removal include unimpeded access to walkways, safety, aesthetics, and planning for the area. It is not always necessary to remove it, but a review of some considerations should include safety checks, plans for access, and beautification planning.
- How do you remove a stump without a grinder?
The pieces of a stump can be chopped or sawed. The root structure that is seen may be able to be removed with this method if it is visible or accessible. Pros usually use a backhoe or similar heavy equipment to dig it out of the ground.
- What is the fastest way to get rid of a tree stump?
The fastest way to get rid of a tree stump is to use equipment and machinery to remove it and its root system from the ground manually. Chemicals and burning take much longer and may not produce an effective result.