If you don’t have ideas to transform your stump or you simply don’t want it, you should remove the stump. One of the ways of getting rid of the stump is grinding it down to the ground.
In addition to this eliminating the danger of you or family member tripping on the stump, it also gets rid of insects and bugs as they have nothing to be attracted to.
When homeowners hear about stump grinding, the most common question they ask is, how long does it take to grind a stump?
It’s hard to give the exact time it will take as it depends on plenty of factors such as tree species, location of the stump, size of the stump, condition of the stump, type of grinder you are using, among many other things.
Despite all of these factors, in most cases, it takes between 15 minutes and 2 hours to grind most stumps.
Of course, it takes you a shorter time when the stump is small, and you are using a powerful machine.
Stump grinding tips and tricks
To effectively grind the tree fast and with minimal effort, you should consider some tips. These tips include:
Use the right grinder
There is no way you are going to grind the tree effectively when you use the wrong grinder. If doing the work yourself, you don’t need to buy a grinder—just rent it.
When renting, be cautious of its size and specifications as no two grinders are the same.
If you have a big and tough stump, go for a large stump grinder with more power and size.
While renting the right grinder is vital, it’s not enough—you need to follow the right tree grinding procedure. These procedures include:
Use the lever to place the wheel a few inches above the stump then move the grinder, so the wheel is directly above the front of the stump. You should then turn the wheel and lower it so its 3 inches into the stump.
Using the lever to move the wheel from one side to the other, grind the stump until you are 4 inches into the ground. When doing it, don’t force the grinder into the stump. Instead, gently grind the top layer.
It’s recommended you follow the rule of “little” and “often,” where you should avoid removing too much tree stump at once. You should note doing so will jam the cutter wheel and put a lot of strain on the clutch and drive belts.
To ensure the machine is working at high efficiency, work the cutter wheel in an arc across the stump. You also should keep the working edge of the stump vertical.
Once satisfied, move to the exposed roots and follow the above steps and remove the entire tree. After removing the stump, inspect the area and ensure you didn’t miss any section, and you attained your desired depth.
You should then fill the hole and compact it to reduce trip hazards and minimize future erosion problems.
Would you like the area to have a lawn growing over it? Put down grass seed and rake to get the seeds into the soil. You should then water the area and wait for the grass to grow.
Operate the grinder properly
It’s one thing to have the right grinder and an entire ball game to use the grinder properly. To get the most from the grinder, consider these tips:
When loading and unloading the machine after renting, ensure the ramps are of the right load-bearing capacity and of sufficient length to provide an acceptable angle for loading and unloading.
Also, ensure the ramps are securely attached to the truck or trailer.
As you are grinding, pay attention to the direction of chip discharge and reposition your machine or move the screens and any barriers.
If there are any excess chips under the machine, clear them as excessive chip build-up will significantly reduce the efficiency of the machine.
While the grinder is noisy, you should always be on the lookout for any extra vibration or noise.
If you notice it, shut down the machine immediately and once all the moving parts have come to a halt, remove the key and find out the source of the noise.
Once you are done, carefully inspect the grinder for signs of damage. Check the condition of the cutter and replace it if blunt, broken, or damaged.
If it’s in good condition, clean off the loose debris, load the machine, and secure it for transport.
Prepare the worksite
You don’t want to spend an eternity grinding your stump, do you? To minimize the time, carefully, and adequately prepare the working site.
Begin with sectioning off the site and create a clear boundary or barrier around it. This prevents family and pets from walking in while you are grinding.
You should then prepare the stump for grinding by getting rid of stones, rocks, and debris around it. This protects the grinder blades from getting damaged.
Follow the correct stump removal procedure
For ideal results, you should follow the right stump removal steps. They include:
Step 1: Prepare the work area
Having plenty of debris and rocks on the site not only makes the process complex, but it also puts you at the risk of getting hurt. So to be safe, before you begin grinding, get rid of any rocks and debris on the site.
Step 2: Move the stump grinder in position
Once the area is clean, move the grinder in position and begin working. For easy time, ensure the angle is comfortable. If you have to change the position of the handle, don’t do it while the grinder is on—first switch it off.
Step 3: Grind the stump.
You should now start grinding the stump. For increased efficiency, reposition the grinder. Also, change the angle every time you drop down 80-100 millimeters on the stump.
Step 4: Reposition the machine.
Once you have reduced the stump to ground level, push the equipment towards the center of the trunk and lock its wheels in place. You should then set the handle at an ideal height and grind it until you end up with a cleared space.
Step 5: Cover the area with soil
After grinding the entire stump, turn off the grinder then fill the hole with fresh soil and wood chips. If you love having a green lawn, sow grass seed on the area.
Should you hire a stump grinding professional?
Some homeowners opt to rent a stump grinder and grind the stump themselves. While this sounds like an economical way, it can be risky, especially when you mishandle the machine.
The process is also time consuming, so you need to have the time to do the work.
If you don’t have the time or you don’t want to risk it, hire a professional to help you out. Other benefits you get from hiring an expert include:
Experts in stump grinding are properly trained on how to keep the process safe for them and other people in the area.
In addition to wearing the right protective equipment, they also know how to prepare the site properly, so no one is hurt.
Using the grinder has a learning curve, so if you are using it for the first time, it will take you sometime before you get used to using it. This results in you wasting a lot of time on the project.
Expert stump grinders are used to using the machine so they will remove the stump fast.
It might sound crazy to say it’s cheaper to hire a professional to remove the stump instead of doing the work yourself but if you consider the cost of renting the grinder, safety gear, grinding tools, and the time you spend on the project, you might be better off hiring a professional to get the work done professionally and at the right time.
Exercise caution when grinding
Like any other machine, the grinder is dangerous, and you can easily hurt yourself when you improperly use it. Thankfully, there are plenty of tips you can use to keep yourself safe. These tips include:
Before you start working with the grinder, ensure all the guards, shields, and curtains are in place and good condition. You also should inspect the cutting wheel for damaged or missing teeth and replace them if necessary.
Check the stumps you are looking to remove for embedded wire, metal fence posts, rocks, metallic objects, and other buried impediments that might be thrown dangerously and hurt you and other people in the area or even cause the machine to move unexpected putting you at risk.
Don’t make any alterations or modifications to the machine you rent or buy as you might make it riskier to operate.
Ensure your clothing, long hair, or jewelry isn’t hanging loosely as it can easily get entangled into the moving parts putting you at risk.
When cutting stumps on slopes, exercise great caution as the machine can slide or shift unpredictably. To be safe, never cut on a slope exceeding 15 degrees.
Wear protective equipment at all times. This includes: face shield, eyeglasses, protective footwear, gloves, and any other protective gear you might find sensible to have.
Keep a close eye on the cutting wheel. When grinding, use only the front lower part of the wheel below the shaft. Never undercut the stump or use the upper portion for cutting purposes.