How Much Does Tree Stump Removal Cost?

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Machine crushes the stump

As much as we wish removing a tree stump was as easy as sticking a shovel in the ground and heaving, it’s not. This isn’t a DIY project. We’d recommend tackling yourself unless you have plenty of prior experience and training.

Whether you recently chopped down a tree or you’ve always had a stump to deal with, you’ll need to tackle the removal process with care. In most cases, you’ll need a professional to help determine how far the roots go, how to remove the stump best, and how much the process will cost.

The goal of this post is to help you understand all the ins and outs of stump eradication – especially what goes into the cost of tree stump removal. Let’s take a look at what makes tree stump removal expensive – and how you can soften the financial blow.

Here are 6 Reasons Why Would You Need to Remove a Tree Stump

Before we dive into the deep end, let’s talk about why you might even need to remove a tree stump from your property. After all, you don’t want to pay for a service until you actually need to. What’s wrong with leaving a stump in the yard?

Some common reasons for stump removal we’ve encountered include:

1. Ugly Tree Stumps

Sometimes, a tree gets damaged, and all that remains after chopping it down is an unsightly stump, harkening to a once beautiful tree. In that case, you might choose to erase the tree’s memory altogether by removing the stump.

2. Stumps That Are in the Way

Planning on doing some landscaping or construction on your property? You may need to start the process by clearing the area, and that includes pulling out stumps in the way.

3. Yard Aesthetic Projects

Looking to improve the overall “feel” of your property? Cleaning up random stumps is a good way to start and give your yard a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

4. Curbside Appeal

Although you might not mind that stump in the front yard, potential buyers might. So, if you’re trying to sell a home, it’s not a bad idea to remove eye-catching stumps that detract from your curbside appeal.

Did you know that homes with high-curb appeal sell for an average of seven percent more than similar houses? This makes the cost of stump removal pale in comparison to what you could earn during a resale.

5. Invasive Roots

Invasive roots are actually a more common problem for homeowners than you might realize. Even if the tree is dead and gone, the stump can still cause foundational issues with long, gnarly roots.

6. Pesky Critters

When left alone, stumps can start to rot. They then attract beetles, ants, termites, and other wood-boring pests you definitely don’t want on your property. You’ll need to remove the stump before these bugs move from the stump into your house.

Regardless of why you’re removing the tree stump, it’s important to consider how the process will impact the existing flora and fauna in your yard, as well as the safety of those living on the property.

To protect your property, the best method is to hire a professional for removal. Many DIYers have attempted to remove stumps themselves, only to damage their beautiful lawns, injure themselves, or leave behind bits and pieces of the tree.

A trained specialist will know the stump removal trade tricks, including when to burn, rot, or grind stumps. They will also come equipped with the proper tools to get the job done right the first time.

Factors That Impact the Cost of Removal

Man with chainsaw cutting the tree

You want to know how much tree stump removal costs, but unfortunately, we don’t have a black and white answer for you. There are various factors that affect the total price of professional removal.

Typically, it will cost between $170 and $522 to remove a stump (the national average is $345, according to HomeAdvisor).

Most professionals charge between $2 and $5 per diameter inch with a minimum cost of $100 for removal.

However, stump removal costs typically fluctuate with:

  • Stump size
  • Property and stump accessibility
  • Your location
  • Amount of root removal
  • Extra tool expenses
  • Cleanup procedures

You’ll also want to consider the cost of stump grinding – which is usually around $200 or so. This is the most popular (and effective) method of stump removal – and one that many customers opt for if they’re in a hurry.

How Does Tree Stump Grinding Work?

When professionals come in with a commercial grinder, it usually costs about $3 per diameter inch of the stump. If you’re clearing large areas (multiple stumps), you could face an hourly rate of $150.

Even though the actual stump grinding is quick and relatively easy, it’s a trade that requires expertise and plenty of previous experience. The large spinning blades at the front can wreak havoc on your yard if you’re not careful.

In reality, you’re not just paying for stump removal. You’re also paying for the time and effort of a highly trained professional. Unless you have prior experience, tackling a pesky stump with a grinder on your own is a bad idea.

What Happens When You Don’t Use a Grinder?

If you’re wondering if you could save money by avoiding stump grinding, you might be right. There are other, sometimes cheaper (less effective) ways to remove stumps.

Ask your tree removal specialist what they think. Do your stump’s size and depth require a grinder – or could you use a chemical solution or burning instead? Where could you save money, and what does your situation really call for?

Should I Have a Professional Burn the Stump?

Let’s say you decide to go the burning route rather than grinding. At Christianson Tree Experts, we still recommend that you work with a professional to ensure everything is done properly. You’ll need the right power drill, as well as potassium nitrate.

Going to try to burn the stump on your own? At a minimum, talk to the local fire department. The last thing you want to do is miss safety precautions that lead to an out-of-control blaze.

What About Chemical Rotting?

In terms of labor, chemical rotting is certainly the easiest method of stump removal. All you have to do is let the potassium nitrate soften the wood for a few weeks until you can remove the stump on your own.

Typically, professional chemical rotting costs under $100. You can do it for cheaper on your own, for as low as $6, but there’s still quite a bit of risk whenever you’re doing big property projects on your own.

Remember: keep all children and pets away from any chemicals used during stump removal.

Does the Type of Tree Matter?

When it comes to stump removal, the type of tree generally doesn’t affect pricing much – especially if you’re going the grinding route. The sharp blades can cut through pretty much any type of wood.

Still, check with your tree removal team in advance. Some professionals will charge extra to handle difficult-to-remove tree species, including:

  • Aspen
  • Birch
  • Elm
  • Hickory
  • Oak

Why are these species sometimes more expensive to remove?

The short answer is that they have dense wood, which means it takes longer for a saw to eat through the stump. Tree species like pine are softer and, therefore, easier to remove quickly.

Another thing to consider is the type of terrain around the stump. Rocky soil can damage some machine blades, which means your professional might need to take extra precautions and charge more to remove a stump in the area.

What Goes Into Cleanup Costs?

Shredder for sawn wood

If a tree removal professional cleanup costs at the end of your bill, they likely include removing piles of sawdust and other debris caused by the process. Unless you’re okay with those unsightly remnants hanging around, you’ll have to pay for their transportation and disposal.

As you can see, it’s difficult to provide a one-and-done pricing estimate for your stump removal. You’ll need to schedule an evaluation with a professional to understand what property elements affect the cost and how much you can expect to pay.

How to Find a Stump Removal Company?

Now that you hopefully have a rough idea of how much you’ll pay to remove a stump, it’s time to think about how you’ll find the right professional for the job.

Not just any landscaper or arborist will do. They need to be trustworthy and have the tools to get the job done right (with minimal risk to your family and damage to your yard).

Fortunately, we’ve got a few suggestions for researching and selecting a stump service near you.

  • Ask for references from landscapers: Chances are, local arborists and yard maintenance teams will be able to connect you with a stump grinder/remover. It’s always a good idea to obtain real recommendations from people you know, not just search results on Google.
  • Turn to social media: When in doubt, Facebook and other social media platforms offer a great resource for recommendation seeking, especially on a local scale.
  • Ask local parks: If you really haven’t had any luck finding a stump removal professional, try talking to local, state, or national parks nearby. They’ll have connections they might be able to recommend.

As you consider the various candidates you find, remember to ask them all of the important questions. Get the cost in writing, learn the turn-around time’s specifics, and inquire about their safety procedures.

If you have children or pets on the property, it’s especially important to clarify the team’s procedures. Will they be using dangerous chemicals that should be avoided? When will it be safe for everyone to be outside in the yard again?

Another word of wisdom: if you have multiple stumps to remove, try to lump them all together in one project. Many professionals will offer you a discount if they’re removing several stumps at once, rather than on separate trips.

In Conclusion

It doesn’t matter how big, or small your stump is – professional removal is always the way to go. You might save money doing it yourself, but the savings come at the price of your property’s beauty, safety, and long-term health.

To learn more about tree and stump removal cost, talk to our experts at Christiansen Tree Experts. We’ve been conducting commercial and municipal tree care in Northern California since 1973.

From stump grinding to tree trimming, we know our stuff. Our team will give you a free estimate for your stump removal needs today. Just give us a call at 831-338-6984. You can also reach out via our website.

We look forward to working with you and making your property a safer, prettier place.

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Edward Christianson

Operator/ ISA Certified Arborist/ Licensed Timber Operator.