Trees and Shrubs forum: to hire or rent a stump grinder?

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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Feb 25, 2014 3:19 PM CST
We have several large stumps in our yard, maybe 8 or 10. I would say 4 of them are 3 ft across and have heaved the ground up around them. I had a service quote me $500 for all the stumps. We do have some time on our hands off and on and wondered about renting a grinder and doing it ourselves. We have never used one before. How long does it generally take to grind a stump and what benefit would we get from hiring it done vs doing it ourselves? Can we do the same job using the rental equipment?
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Feb 26, 2014 9:08 AM CST
Personally... I feel like those stump grinders do more harm than good.

They pack the soil when it's most vulnerable... Wet clay should never have heavy equipment on it...

I value those stumps as a support for my containers... And those containers rot the stumps pretty quickly.

I would create a nice perennial garden around or encompassing the stumps... pretty...
Or plant a nice native vine like passionflower, cypress vine, Coral Red honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)... to cover the stump...

Those stumps can add value to the landscape... those stump grinders never do.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Feb 26, 2014 6:42 PM CST
It is in my front yard and my house sits about 50 ft from the black top so they pretty much heave up the whole place and I can't even mow it! I don't plan on doing hardly any gardening in my front yard because of the lack of privacy and all the traffic there. I also have a termite problem around here very badly, and the stumps are infested. With them being so large, rotten and close to my house, I don't want to entertain a termite hotel. I understand that the stump grinders used nowadays are not considered large equipment and some are small enough to fit through a chainlink gate and are not supposed to tear up things. I just wondered if there would be any benefit to hiring it done, when I can rent it and do it myself. Never done that, so I don't want to bite off more than I can chew and thought I'd see what other people have experienced with it.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Feb 26, 2014 6:59 PM CST
If it were me (and if I had the money) I would let the professionals to the job. They should be bonded/insured, they are familiar with their own equipment and have experience in varied situations. My dad always weighed the 'what if' factor into the actual cost. What if I get injured and cannot support my family. What if I break a gas pipe/water main, etc. What if the equipment breaks - am I liable for the repairs.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Feb 26, 2014 7:30 PM CST
I don't know what the going price for stump grinding is down there, but for up here, that is a very excellent price. I would definitely have them do it.

I am not sure how stone would know that you have wet clay, but if you do then yes, waiting until things dry out would be best. It can be normal for such large trees to "raise" the ground around the stump through soil displacement by growth of the root system.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Feb 27, 2014 7:20 PM CST
That is a good question on whether a person is responsible for rental equipment if it breaks down for whatever reason. If we do look into renting, I will definitely ask about that.

Oh, on the cost, I was a little misleading in my first post, I should have worded that differently. I had a $500 quote for the 4 stumps only in the front yard that are really large and humped up. We have a total of 10 stumps probably, but just 4 are in the front. Those are the ones we want out for sure because they heaved the ground up so badly and the front yard is so tiny, they look just awful. The back yard would be nice to have done, but not something we would pay all that much for since we can't afford it. That is why we thought by renting we could do it ourselves and get them all. My husband cut all of the trees in the back yard last summer. Some of them were rather large, but they did not heave the ground up like the front ones. The ones in the front yard were cut several years ago, probably after a really bad ice storm we had in the area, and judging by the roots, they were probably soft wood-silver maples, I think, so they probably were damaged pretty badly. Alot of the trees in the area were damaged badly.
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
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Coppice
Feb 28, 2014 5:26 AM CST
Shop around rental outfits. The last couple times I rented, I could have bought the tool for their price :(
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Feb 28, 2014 8:59 AM CST
The rental agreement, if you choose to rent, will have optional damage insurance. If you buy into that, you will not be held liable if the tool breaks 'during normal use'.

@Coppice has a good point. Buying a grinder might be a good option since you have 10 stumps to grind. It would pay for itself in no time.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Mar 1, 2014 9:56 AM CST
Frillylily said:It is in my front yard and my house sits about 50 ft from the black top so they pretty much heave up the whole place and I can't even mow it!

Why mow?
http://www.planetnatural.com/organic-lawn-care-101/alternati...
I don't plan on doing hardly any gardening in my front yard because of the lack of privacy and all the traffic there. I also have a termite problem around here very badly, and the stumps are infested. With them being so large, rotten and close to my house, I don't want to entertain a termite hotel.

Grinding the stumps won't get rid of the termites...
I've always understood that the termites were there anyway. See this link:
I just found termites in my yard. Does my house need to be treated?

I understand that the stump grinders used nowadays are not considered large equipment and some are small enough to fit through a chainlink gate and are not supposed to tear up things. I just wondered if there would be any benefit to hiring it done, when I can rent it and do it myself. Never done that, so I don't want to bite off more than I can chew and thought I'd see what other people have experienced with it.

Speaking as a landscaper... My observation of those homeowners that bring in a stump-grinder...
they end up with a mess, and nothing grows where the stump was... Those grinders don't actually grind up that much... there's still the entire root system to support termites...

all the grinder does... is take down the wood to an inch or so below the soil level... Maybe that's enough for you...

I'm always sorry to hear about people who are determined to grow turf...

People forced to grow turf is even worse

Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Mar 1, 2014 12:16 PM CST
As for the statement by @Stone that nothing will grow where the stump was ground, well Shrug! .
Here is a photo of the area where a large tree was removed and the stump was professionally ground down. I call it my 'mini-woodland' garden.
Thumb of 2014-03-01/greene/908f81

Here is my DIY attempt to cover two stumps which had not been ground:
Thumb of 2014-03-01/greene/cc78f5
and the same 2 boxes at one year:
Thumb of 2014-03-01/greene/f1e1dd

As you can see, while I agree with Stone's dislike of turf grass, each person must do what they think is right for their own yard and, in some cases, must adhere to the regulations of their community. The original poster is only trying to decide by which method the stumps will be ground - professional or DIY. Thank you for visiting my front garden.

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dirtdorphins
Mar 1, 2014 1:39 PM CST
'Professional' stump grinding is about $300/per stump in my area, so your quote also sounds like a deal to me too!

I've tried quite a variety of methods over the years, including rental and grinding myself. I found it to be do-able, although kind of hard work, and slow going. Took me a couple hours + for a 4' stump and roots. The one advantage of DIY is that you can go deeper if you want to, than the standard 'pro' grind, and you can also go after all the surface roots that you want to as well. In my experience having someone else do it, they never went deep enough for me and they wouldn't do all the surface roots.

I suppose it depends what you are after in the front yard? If the goal is flat turf, then grinding one way or the other is probably the ticket.

Me--I'm a big fan of stump incorporation into some gardens and complete removal including all the offensive underground supporting structures in other gardens (and for that I use an excavator Smiling )
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Mar 1, 2014 8:46 PM CST
@greene your woodland garden is really nice, I like that alot Smiling

Yes my goal is to get the front yard flat, and maybe even put in a dry bed along the sidewalk, to shed water before it runs over the sidewalk because the front yard slopes toward the house. House was built in '43 so it doesn't have much crawl area and sits almost smack on the ground. This creates moisture problems under the house.

I went to a lawn and garden show a couple weeks ago, and there was a stump grinding/landscaping service that had a photo album with pictures of past jobs they had did. I can tell you from looking at those pictures that it is possible to take a huge humped up stump with large surrounding side roots, and grind it down and work the soil out so that the yard is re-seeded and within a few months I could not even tell there was a stump looking at the "after" photos. I am sure the charges go up depending on how thorough a job you want. But by renting and doing it yourself you could spend more time on those. The best rate for rental is to get a weekend rental.


Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Mar 1, 2014 10:00 PM CST
Oh, drainage issues and a too-low house; that's a whole new thread!!

I'm sure you will make the correct decision when the time comes to grind the stumps.
Please take 'before and after' photos for us, thanks.

(Dang, I keep forgetting we have a Thank You! emoticon.)
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Mar 3, 2014 9:59 AM CST
All I have to add is that I don't envy your decisions. I agreed with all of the suggestions!
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JimmyJames
Nov 5, 2014 7:29 PM CST
..I recently received a 27hp Rayco that I can't operate very well so I'm going to hire my son in law to grind about 50 stumps from 4", to 25'', maybe 2-3 36", on my property because he can handle it really well..He lives only 15 mins. away..
What should I pay him..we both agree by the hour..he may be able to work 4-5 hrs a day, 2-3 days a week..thanks
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
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lovemyhouse
Nov 6, 2014 1:16 PM CST
JimmyJames, welcome. Smiling I can only speak for the landscape/yard work labor rates in my area, and don't know if the information will help, but it ranges from $10-$15 an hour for the youngsters (meaning those who haven't been doing such work for very long) and $20-$25 an hour for those with more experience.
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Nov 6, 2014 9:15 PM CST
We hired someone to remove and grind the stumps of 4 large crepe myrtles that were too close to the house and because, as you probably know, the trees will spout right back up again from the stump. They charged us $200 for 4 trees.
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Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Nov 6, 2014 9:17 PM CST
Good price!
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'

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