You recently had a tree removed, and now you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of this giant stump and exposed roots. 

Is it better to get a stump grinder? Or should you have the roots and stump removed altogether?

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Stump Grinder vs Stump Removal

stump grinder (left) vs stump removal (right)

A stump grinder is this heavy-duty machinery that you can get at places like Home Depot (like this one).

It’s like a lawn mower, except it has a giant grinding wheel that can cut into a tree stump that is sticking 10 inches above ground all the way to 9 or so inches below ground.

Stump removal, on the other hand, involves a lot more elbow grease—that’s why it’s usually a service provided by an arborist or landscaping company.

The stump removal process involves multiple steps, like:

  • Stump grinding
  • Cutting the roots with an axe, chainsaw, splitting maul, or adze
  • Chemicals like potassium nitrate to rot the stump

You can buy or rent a stump grinder to DIY. But if you want the entire stump and roots removed so you can change your landscaping, we recommend calling the professionals.

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Does grinding a tree stump kill the roots?

does stump grinding kill tree roots?

Photo Credit: Reddit

A stump grinder will not kill the roots, but they will eventually decay.

Depending on how deep your tree roots go, it can take anywhere from 5-10 years for your tree roots to fully decompose. 

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Stump Grinder Options & Price

stump and root grinder

If you click on the Home Depot link above, you’ll see that a stump grinder can cost you a pretty penny.

That was actually the lowest-priced option, at $1,500 for 20 inches of cutting. 

The highest-priced stump grinder is over $2,000!

You can always rent a stump grinder. Home Depot’s prices range from $100 for 4 hours to $143 per day

The cons to renting is that you might not be able to go as deep (the one linked above only cuts 17 inches). 

And, of course, it’s a lot of work!

Things to Do Before Using a Stump Grinder:

  1. Get in contact with your local “Call Before You Dig” company to have all potential utilities marked. Stump grinders go deep and can easily tear up any utility line buried nearby. 
  2. Consider drilling holes into the stump and pouring potassium nitrate (like these) into the stump and roots before grinding. This will help it rot quicker, making the process much more efficient.
  3. Start with an axe or even a crowbar to get the bulky roots out before grinding. This can make sure you don’t leave a giant hole in your yard. 

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Stump Removal Cost

stump grinding and tree removal

Naturally, this depends entirely on where you live and the overall cost of living. 

While the average stump removal cost is $300 nationwide, it can easily get into to $600 based on your tree type and the stump side. 

Our recommendation is to:

  1. Take a picture of your stump
  2. Call or email the picture to a few local stump removal companies
  3. Get the best quote!

While renting a stump grinder is cheaper than paying for stump removal, consider whether you really want to spend your Saturday sweating over a pile of tree roots. 

Need some yard help? That’s our job! And we make it safe for your kids and pets with organic materials. Talk to us about your landscape woes!