Best way to remove a tree stump

So how do you remove a tree stump

Roots and tree stumps can be as much of a problem as the actual tree when it comes to removing. A mature tree can have a significant stump and root system that can cause damage to building structures and surfaces. They can cause damage to foundations, patios, and many other structural items.

Why should you remove a tree stump and root system

Why should you remove a tree stump and root system?

The tree stump left in situ can be a tripping hazard, that may cause serious injury

To make lawn cutting easier

To allow installation of new fencing

If the tree that has been removed had been suffering from a disease, then this may also apply to the stump that is left in the ground, and even if it wasn’t then the stump can still develop Honey Fungus which will feeds off the tree stump and is likely to spread to nearby plants, trees, and foliage.

The trees that are susceptible to this disease are

Leylandii (Cupressaceae family)

Cupressaceae is a conifer family, they are monoecious, or dioecious trees and shrubs which can grow up to 120 meters tall.

Birch (Genus Betula family) Birch trees belong to the Betula family and are classified as part of the Betulaceae family of plants

Willow The willow is from the Salicaceae family of plants.

Walnut Walnut trees belong to The Juglandaceae family.

Eucalyptus Eucalyptus belongs to the Myrtaceae family. Features of eucalyptus are stringybark, which can shed either all year-round or seasonally. 

Apple Apple trees belong to the Malus Domastica family, these trees and fruit are prone to a number of fungal bacterial, and pest problems, which can be controlled by a number of organic and non-organic means

The trunk and root system may become in the way of future landscaping projects of extensions.

Types of tree root systems

Generally are 3 types of tree root systems:

Tap root (Walnut, Hickory, Conifer, Oak (white), Pine.  

Heart root (Larch, Sycamore, Oak (red), Lime, Birch)

Flat root (Fir, Maple)

Current practises for removing tree stumps and roots systems

By far the best way to remove a tree stump and roots is by mechanical grinding by a professional. This method causes the least disruption to surrounding structures and surfaces, leaving only a waste product of wood mulch and soil, which can be taken away, or used around the garden.

Tree stumps can also be removed by excavation; however, this method is both invasive and costly, and may result in damage to surrounding structures, access for machinery mat also be an issue.

Tree stumps can be burnt out, but this obviously has its inherent risks, and is not always successful.

Chemical stump and root killers on the market are Roundup Stump Killer, Doff Tree Stump & Tough Weedkiller and Westland Resolva Pro Tree Stump killer, these contain glyphosate. Always follow the manufactures instructions using these products. This may involve treating the entire surface of the stump, and drilling holes in the stump to allow the product to penetrate.

The best time to apply stump killers is during autumn and winter. Avoid treatment in spring and early summer when the sap is rising. Weedkiller is best applied to fresh stumps, as live tissue is needed for its absorption. If the stump is only a few weeks old, you may be able to expose live tissue by cutting the top off to expose a fresh-cut surface. Apply a weedkiller directly to the stump, concentrating it in the outer ring of live tissue just beneath the bark


Pulled out with a winch. This method would only be applicable to smaller trees Winches can be hired but instruction must be followed to use them safely. For leverage it is necessary to leave a substantial amount of trunk left on the stump (up to 1.2m (4ft) high) rather than cutting it off at ground level.


How much does it cost to remove a tree stump by grinding

So how much does is cost, this is determined by several factors

Access to stump, i.e.  gate and path restrictions, the diameter, and species (hardwood or softwood) of the tree trunk.

Distance from where the grinding company is based.

Number of tree stumps requiring removal.

Whether there is much of the trunk still attached to the stump.

Whether the mulch and debris is to be removed upon completion of stump removal.

Costs can vary from as little as £60, into the thousands of pounds, depending on the above factors.

Whilst it is possible to hire stump grinding machinery, this is not to be recommended, as this is a dangerous procedure if not carried out correctly and with the right ancillary equipment. In order to carry out tree stump grinding correctly, safety screens must be erected and the area to be ground checked for cables, pipes and obstructions. The operator must wear the correct clothing and protection, such as steel toecap boots, chainsaw gloves, eye, and face protection.

Frequently asked questions by stump grinding companies

Once you have decided to hire the services of a professional stump grinder you can be expected to be asked the following questions

Location geographically

Number of stumps requiring removal

Size of stumps and species

Width of any access points, gates alleyways etc.

Known obstacles, i.e., steps. Walls corners to negotiate.

Height that stump has been left above ground.

Is the stump up against any pathways, fencing or structure.

Can the grinding be carried out during normal working hours.

It is worth specifying how deep you would like the stump ground to. Shallow grinding, 20-25cm (8-10in), is normally sufficient for laying turf, but you should allow for deeper, 30cm (1ft), or more if replanting or landscaping. Also think about what you want to do with the spoils. It can be left to fill in the hole, used as mulch in other areas of the garden, or taken away (usually at an additional cost) Specify which of these you would prefer before the work is started and be sure to have any diseased wood removed completely.