Stump Removal Costs and Considerations

What Does it Cost to Remove a Tree Stump?

Removing a tree stump requires the right tools, labor, and time. While budget conscious homeowners might be drawn to a DIY approach, many do not have the necessary tools on-hand to complete the job. Even with chemical “stump killers” a homeowner will need an axe and a power drill, at the least.

The average cost to hire a professional to remove a medium size tree stump is about $200 to $250. DIY methods, with necessary tools calculated in, will cost $200 or more. In terms of labor and time, a professional arborist can remove a tree stump in less than 30 minutes. The average homeowner can expect to spend several hours of intense labor, at the minimum.

MethodTools You Need to Speed Up RemovalEst. CostEst. Time
Chemicalchainsaw, power drill, felling axe$250+Several months to 1 year
Manualchainsaw, digging bar, bow saw, felling axe, pick mattock$300+4 hrs to several days
DIY Stump Grindcommercial stump grinder rental$200/daySeveral hours
Hire a ProNone$20030 minutes
Prices for tools are based on new purchases.

DIY and Professional Removal Methods

Tree stump removal methods can be placed into three categories:

  • Chemical
  • Manual
  • Machine

Depending on the size of your tree stump, some methods are more feasible than others. For example, a small tree—less than 5 inches in diameter—might be easily removed manually. The use of chemicals to remove a small tree would unnecessarily elongate the process.

DIY Tree Removal Methods

The internet is full of DIY methods to remove a tree stump. They range from labor-intensive digging to “apply and wait” methods, such as Epsom Salts and chemical “stump killers.”

While DIY methods might seem less expensive than paying for a professional tree removal service, they can pose several problems:

  • They can be dangerous
  • They can take months to complete
  • They can be physically exhausting
  • They can end up being just as expensive as a hiring a professional

Chemical Methods of Stump Removal

While the use of chemicals might be the least labor-intensive of the methods, it is the slowest of the methods. Commercial chemical “stump killers” or Epsom salts can take over a year to breakdown a stump.

In addition to the chemicals, you will need other tools to complete the job, or at least, accelerate the removal process. A chainsaw can be used to lower the stump further, reducing the amount of materials needed to be decomposed. A power drill allows you to make holes in the stump into which the chemicals can be poured. An axe is helpful in breaking up any part of the stump below the surface that has not yet decomposed.

If you don’t already have a chainsaw, a power drill, and an axe, you will need to keep the added price in mind when considering this method:

  • Chainsaw ($150 +)
  • Power drill ($75 +)
  • Felling Axe ($30 +)

For an example of how to use Epsom Salts to remove a stump, check out Trees.com’s post: “How to Remove a Tree Stump with Epsom Salt.”

Manual Methods of Stump Removal

Manually removing a stump is labor-intensive, no matter what size the stump. Look at spending at least four hours for a small tree. Larger trees could take you in excess of 12 hours. And very large stumps might be next to impossible to remove manually. Whatever size the stump, this method is not easy on the back. Check out this demonstration on This Old House to see the effort required.

Again, while manual methods might seem like budget savers, they require the use of tools that you might not already have in your shed.

Here is a list of tools required to complete a stump removal manually:

  • Digging bar ($70 +)
  • Bow saw ($15 +)
  • Felling Axe ($30 +)
  • Pick mattock ($35 +)

Check out our Gear page for recommendations on tools and chainsaws.

Depending on the weight of the stump, you might also need a truck or a car with a tow hitch and rope to completely remove it from the ground. 

Burn-It-Out Method

While the burn-it-out method is fairly inexpensive, in order for the stump to burn well and efficiently it must be dry. Because a stump is in the ground, it is not usually dry. Therefore, to burn out a stump you will need the help of chemicals—kerosine or the like—to keep the fire going. However, such chemicals are not good for the lawn or the environment. If you get the chemicals on your grass, you very well might kill it.

If the stump is from a tree that was cut down while still green, it might need some time—possibly months or a year—to dry out. As with all wood, the drier the wood the faster it will catch fire.

Buy or Rent a Stump Grinder

Stump grinders are by far the fastest and most efficient means of removing a stump. Small commercial-grade stump grinders can purchased or rented from stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. Commercial-grade stump grinders cost about $2,000. Daily rental rates start at $150.

Commercial-grade stump grinders do not have the power of a professional-grade stump grinder. While they might be sufficient for small stumps, they will still require some manual labor, and extra tools, such as:

  • Pick mattock
  • Shovel
  • Rake

A chainsaw might also be required, if the stump is too high. The stump should be as low to the ground as possible when starting this process.

Operating a commercial-grade stump grinder requires some practice. It’s not like running a lawnmower. It’s a dangerous piece of equipment that should be used with great caution. The area around the stump needs to cleared of all possible rocks or other debris before beginning. Because of the danger involved, the following safety gear should be worn at all times during the operation:

  • safety gloves
  • goggles or protective glasses
  • protective clothing and work boots

Check out our Gear page for recommendations on tools, equipment, and arborist gear.

Hire a Professional

An arborist, operating a professional-grade stump grinder, can remove a medium to large stump in less than 30 minutes. Stump removal costs are dependent upon accessibility, stump size, stump species. The average stump grind costs around $150 to $250.

Watch the video below, to see an example of a professional stump grind by an arborist with Tree Shepherds:

Tree Shepherds has been removing tree stumps in Denton County, Texas, for over ten years. Our trained arborists use professional-grade stump grinders to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Contact Tree Shepherds to set up an appointment for a free stump removal estimate.

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Krista White
Krista is a member of the marketing and education team at Tree Shepherds. A lifelong learner, she loves writing about anything from Hemingway to Quercus macrocarpa.