While healthy trees add value to your home, stumps do the exact opposite by reducing curb appeal and causing potential problems in your yard. Fortunately, manually hacking your stump out of the ground with an axe and shovel isn’t your only option for removal. In this guide, we’ll go over common methods of tree stump removal and what they tend to cost.
Tree removal typically costs $341—$1,523.Get Free Estimates
Removing a tree stump will range from $150–$500.Get Free Estimates
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Cost of Stump Removal
The national average cost of stump removal is about $340, though typical jobs may range from $75–$500 based on the following factors:
- Size: Larger stumps will cost more to remove.
- Method of removal: Some processes are more labor-intensive than others.
- Location: The cost of stump removal is often relative to the location’s cost of living.
- Tree type: Some tree species have stumps that are harder to remove than others.
Stump Removal Cost by Size
The most significant factor in the cost of stump removal is the size of the stump in terms of diameter. Smaller trees take less work to remove, so they cost less. You can usually expect to pay $2–$5 per diameter inch. However, most stump removal companies will have a set minimum price—usually $75–$100—to make it profitable to haul the equipment to your house.
|Up to 12”||$30–$60|
Stump Removal Cost by Method
Here are the major methods of stump removal and what they typically cost:
|Method of Removal||Cost|
|Root removal||$130–$150 per hour|
Stump Removal Cost by Location
To some extent, the cost of living in your area will contribute to stump removal prices. The distance the company must travel to your home may also play a role. You may be charged an extra per-mile cost, particularly if the removal process involves heavy machinery.
Stump Removal Cost by Tree Type
Most machinery and chemicals can take care of all tree species. However, if you opt for manual removal or burning, the hardness of the tree stump may affect the removal process. There’s no exact price breakdown by type of tree, but the following trees have harder wood and may be more expensive to remove:
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Stump Removal Cost Factors
Here are some other factors that go into tree stump removal costs:
- Number of stumps
- Stump condition
- Preparation and cleanup
- Tree removal
Stump removal may require a permit due to buried power lines or other utilities. Make sure to check local regulations, particularly if you’re doing the job yourself.
Number of Stumps
While most stump removal services have minimum prices, they also tend to offer discounts for additional stumps. You may have to pay $75–$100 for the first stump no matter the size, but the price for any stumps after that will likely go down. You may even be charged a flat rate for each extra stump.
Most professional services charge by the diameter of the stump rather than by the hour, but stumps that are labor-intensive to remove will cost more.
Stumps that are hard to get to, particularly if they require heavy machinery to remove, will cost more. Accessibility can be affected by placement, fencing, gradient, soil condition, root complexity, and other factors.
Stumps that have been dead for longer are drier and softer and thus easier to remove. If a living tree was only recently cut down, the stump might still be “green” and alive. You may need to make sure the stump is dead before it can be removed.
Preparation and Cleanup
If the stump still has part of the trunk attached, or if there’s foliage or rocks around the stump, the technician will need to clear this away. Also, depending on the removal method, you may be left with mulch, sawdust, or wood chips. The tree service may charge extra to bag and haul these away.
Tree removal service is distinct from stump removal. Typically, paying to have a tree taken down won’t include removing the stump. These processes require different types of equipment, and while some companies do both, you may need to hire separate professionals. Tree removal itself usually costs $400–$1,000 depending on the size of the tree.
Types of Stump Removal
There’s more than one way to get rid of a stump, and the location and condition of the stump can determine the best removal method. Here are the most common methods used by professionals and DIYers.
Manual removal, also called natural removal, uses axes, chainsaws, shovels, and other tools to break the stump apart and pull it out of the ground, roots and all. While this is the most thorough method, it’s also the most labor-intensive, which means it tends to cost the most.
Most professional stump removal services offer stump grinding. Stump grinder technicians use a machine with a large, bladed cylinder to grind the stump from the top down. Stump grinding usually takes between 30 minutes and two hours, depending on the size of the stump, making it the most efficient removal process. The biggest drawback is that the machinery is difficult to use in rocky soil or on hard-to-access stumps. Grinding also typically removes material 4”–6” below ground level, which must then be filled in.
In order for a stump to thoroughly burn, holes must be drilled into it and filled with potassium nitrate. The stump is then set on fire and allowed to burn for several hours slowly. While this produces a smoldering pit instead of large open flames, the technician must make sure all sparks and embers stay contained to avoid spreading the fire. Remember that burning may not be allowed in urban and suburban areas because of smoke and fire concerns.
The least labor-intensive method of stump removal is chemical rotting. It involves drilling holes into the stump and pouring potassium nitrate, sulfuric acid, or another substance into the holes and letting the chemicals eat away at the stump. Even without burning, the stump will slowly rot away over about four to six weeks. This is the slowest method, but it also tends to be the least expensive.
Tree Root Removal
Most of the listed stump removal methods leave the tree’s root system intact. Full root removal usually requires an excavator to dig up the entire root ball. The job becomes even more complicated if tree roots have gone under driveways, around pipes, or into foundations.
Reasons to Remove a Tree Stump
Even if a stump doesn’t appear to be causing problems, here’s why you ought to consider getting rid of it:
- Stumps can be a safety hazard for children and pets playing in your yard.
- As stumps rot, they provide food and shelter for pests such as termites and ants, which can then infect healthy trees.
- Living root systems can continue to grow beneath the ground, causing problems with home foundations and water or sewer lines.
- Stumps and roots can sprout new growth that may interfere with the look of the landscaping, steal resources from other trees, and damage buried pipes.
- Large stumps take up valuable yard space.
- Most homeowners don’t like the look of a rotting stump, particularly in the front yard.
Removing a Stump Yourself
You can remove a stump yourself as long as you comply with local regulations and understand safety hazards. At the very least, you’ll need to call your state’s 811 Before You Dig hotline and your local fire department, particularly if you plan to burn the stump. Prices for rental stump grinders typically start at around $150 a day, though larger and more powerful equipment will cost more. Potassium nitrate granules for burning or rotting are much cheaper, usually costing less than $10.
DIY vs. Professional Stump Removal
Although it is possible, you may not want to remove a stump yourself. DIY removal is certainly cheaper, but there are drawbacks to every method. Manual removal is extremely strenuous work, and most rental stump grinders are effective only on small stumps. Chemical rotting is inexpensive and requires little time and effort, but it does take much longer.
On the other hand, professional stump removal services have commercial-grade equipment that can take on large stumps much faster. Depending on the condition of the stump, you may actually save money by hiring a professional, particularly if you’re dealing with large trees or multiple stumps. Fees for rental equipment add up. Professionals also deal with preparation and cleanup themselves, saving you time and labor.
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How to Save Money on Stump Removal
Even if you decide to hire a stump removal service, there are ways you can keep costs to a minimum. The following tips will help you save money on stump removal:
- Do as much preparation and cleanup as possible, particularly if the service charges by the hour.
- If possible, wait until the winter when tree trimming and other arborist services are at lower demand.
- For manual removal, use the debris as firewood. For grinding, hang on to the resulting mulch or sawdust. You’ll often save on cleanup and haul-away fees.
- Ask for a discount if there are multiple stumps to remove.
- Opt for companies that offer stump removal only, as they often have lower prices than companies that offer many kinds of tree care.
While you may be able to remove a stump from a small tree, you should contact the pros to remove large or stubborn stumps. Professionals will work more quickly and thoroughly than the average homeowner. They also have proper training and equipment, including safety gear. However, if you are capable of the labor required to remove a stump and have received permission from your local authorities, you can save a bit of money by doing the job yourself.
How to Hire a Professional
When evaluating professional stump removal companies, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Ask for cost estimates from at least three different businesses to get a good picture of your options.
- When asking about prices, discuss whether the cost is determined by stump diameter or an hourly rate.
- Find out what preparation and cleanup services are included in the service. Ask whether you can save money by doing some of those things yourself.
- Check the company’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating and customer reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tree Stump Removal
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