Gardening and Landscaping

 All you need to know about stump grinders

All you need to know about stump grinders

November 28th 2018

Do you have a pesky tree stump in your garden? Pulling it out of the ground or trying to remove it might seem impossible, but with a stump grinder, it can be easy. 

Hiring professional stump removal can come at a costly price, whereas hiring the equipment yourself can save you money. Stump grinding is a satisfying job, and with the right help, you could be making landscaping improvements in no time. 

If you want to know how to use stump grinders in the most efficient, safest and hassle-free way, we've put together our top tips for tree root removal.

Looking to get the job done ASAP? Hire your DIY tools and equipment from HSS now for delivery as early as tomorrow!

What is a stump grinder, and how does this tool work?

A stump grinder is a power tool designed to eradicate an entire tree stump. With its rotating cutting disc, the wood is carefully chipped away, turning it into a mulch-like substance.

There are various sizes of grinders, and which one you choose to use will depend on various factors:

  • How big the stump is: Larger stumps will require heavy-duty stump grinders to remove them. In contrast, medium-sized stumps may only require smaller equipment.
  • The complexity of the task: Placement and quantity should also be taken into consideration before choosing the right-sized stump grinder. 

Small-sized stump grinders are compact and very mobile, meaning that they are easy to hire and move around your garden. This is also beneficial for those that might need to travel to multiple locations. Smaller stump grinders are also easier to manoeuvre and work with, so they are a good fit for homeowners and do-it-yourself projects.

In essence, the stump grinder removes a stump by cutting the wood down until the stump is gone. As it cuts, the stump is turned into sawdust or mulch material that is easy to remove from your garden or yard. Some people even use mulch in their garden as it’s very effective for weed control.

Why might tree stump removal be a good idea?

Stump Grinder
Stump Grinder / HSS Hire

You might be wondering why you should even bother removing a tree stump.

There are a few reasons why getting rid of the old wood is beneficial for your yard and garden. The most obvious reason is aesthetics. An ugly stump can detract from the beauty of your garden, so getting rid of it will enhance your landscaping.

Secondly, if the stump is in the middle of your garden or is preventing you from installing a walkway, driveway or patio - or otherwise making a space unusable - getting rid of it is usually the only option.

Old tree stumps that have been in your garden for years can rot and start to attract mould and fungi, which can contaminate the rest of your garden, harming or even killing other plant life. Of course, removing a tree stump will also prevent an unwanted tree from growing back.

How to use a stump grinder in 4 easy steps

If you want to free up some space in your garden, or even just make it look neat and tidy, removing tree stumps is a great way to do it. The best way to remove these pesky stumps is by using a stump grinder. 

Different kinds of stump grinders are used differently, so be sure to refer to the instructions that came with your model for specific directions.

Most stump grinders are moderate-sized machines that are mounted on heavy-duty wheels and have a long handle for pushing and pulling it. The handle can usually be adjusted so you can set the machine up for your height so it’s more easy to use. The best models also have wheels so that you can more easily control the grinder and grind a stump in side-to-side movements.

They have a very sharp blade underneath the machine, which is powered by an engine. Most are labelled with a cutting capacity number for both above and below ground. If you aren’t sure what kind of stump grinder you need, talk to a professional before you hire one. You may also want to consider other garden clearance tools.

However, there are some general steps you’ll follow as you remove a tree stump: 

1. Safety first

Stump grinders can be highly dangerous tools if they are used incorrectly and if the user does not prepare themselves properly. You should wear protective equipment such as sturdy work boots, long pants, gloves and safety goggles. Safety equipment is available from HSS when hiring online or in branch. 

Before you start working, make sure the area is clear of yard decorations, toys and other tools. It can be helpful to trim the grass or plants around the stump so it’s easier to see and remove. Carefully inspect the area around the stump and remove rocks and sticks that could fly up from under the blades or even damage the machine.

When the stump grinder is on, do not go near the base or blades.

Machine safety is a priority and should be taken seriously. Always keep out of reach from children and ensure you follow the manual closely.

2. Use a chainsaw first

First, use a chainsaw to cut the stump as low as you can while staying safe. This will make less work for the stump grinder and make the rest of the removal process much easier. Do not attempt to cut the stump level with the ground with the chainsaw, as this can be dangerous. 

When ordering a chainsaw from HSS, you will be taken through safety training in the branch you purchase from. Only certain branches can offer this service so please check when making your booking.

3. Use the stump grinder

Now, follow the instructions that came with your model to raise the cutting wheel just above the top of the stump and begin to cut into the stump. Move the cutter from side to side to cut through the wood. Then, reposition the wheel and grind through the next section of the stump. You will need to repeat this process several times until you have cut all the way through the stump.

Then, move the grinder away from the stump and turn it off. Examine the area where the stump was and check to make sure you have cut the entire stump at least 10 centimetres below the surface of the ground.

Once you are sure you have removed the entire stump, you can use a rake and shovel to remove all the wood chips. You can use this as mulch in your garden or add it to your compost pile.

4. Cover up what’s left behind

Now, you are probably left with an ugly hole in the middle of your garden, but don’t worry! You can easily fill the hole and make it blend in with the rest of your yard. If it is in the lawn, fill the hole with sod or soil and grass seeds. If it is in your garden, you can simply add some good soil and plant flowers or vegetables in it as you normally would.

After the entire root of the tree is removed, it won’t distract from the beauty of your garden and won’t get in the way when you try to mow your lawn, host a party or install new features.

The basic safety precautions you need to know

When you choose to hire equipment, it is paramount that you follow all the necessary safety precautions. Once you've thoroughly read and understood the manual, you should also:

  • Complete the job in good lighting conditions. You need sufficient lighting in order to maintain full visibility of the task at hand. As such, you should not use cutting tools in bad weather nor bad lighting conditions.
  • Stay well away from any irregularities in the ground. You should work from a flat surface that is free of rubble, holes and any trip hazards.
  • Stay focussed. When using potentially dangerous machines, you should perform the grinding process without any distractions.
  • Dress appropriately. Remove any jewellery, tie hair up and wear appropriate clothing to avoid being snagged by cutter wheel movements.

Hiring a tree stump grinder with HSS

Minimise the physical effort of removing tree stumps with easy-to-use stump grinders from HSS. 

We have a wide collection of powerful garden stump grinders in various sizes available to hire. With fast delivery, great availability and a team of friendly experts ready to help you complete the job, hiring stump grinders couldn't be easier. 

For reliable and robust landscaping equipment, turn to HSS.

About the Author

Lauren King

Lauren works in our Ecommerce Team, with over 6 years of experience at HSS. She brings product knowledge and is able to give her advice on the right tool for the job no matter how big or small.

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