Popular Stump Removal Tools To Hire

Tree stumps can be one of the trickiest tasks to remove. And we aren’t talking about the small ones…! You can spend hours upon hours trying to dig tree stumps out, only then to realise that there are specific tools out there to help. Therefore, to get you started with any troublesome tree stumps, we are going to share with you the most popular stump removal tools to hire. Let’s get digging!

What is stump removal?

When cut down, tree stumps should be left as low as physically possible to the ground to prevent a trip hazard. However, despite best efforts, it can start to sprout again.

So, how do we avoid this? Well, the best way is to completely remove the rest of the living part of the tree. By removing the stump of a tree, you are able to build on top or reshape the land it once lived on.

There are several stump removal tools and methods that you can try to help. Let’s have a look together at the options.

Popular stump removal methods

Stump removal methods

The first method of stump removal is to dig the roots out by hand. This is the cheapest and most inexpensive option, however, can require a huge amount of effort.

  • To begin, you need to dig around the whole tree stump to expose the roots.
  • Sever the roots as you expose them and work around the whole stump, removing debris as you go. You are aiming to remove the taproot, which is situated underneath the middle of the stump. This will allow you to remove the root ball of the stump.
  • Once removed, the remaining roots will rot away over time.

Popular stump removal tools to hire for digging the roots out by hand

If hand-digging the roots out is not something you haven’t got the time or effort for, then consider using a stump grinder.

Stump grinder

Stump Removal Tools To Hire stump grinders

Stump grinders are specially designed machines to remove tree stumps of all sizes. These machines are mounted on wheels and have a hard-wearing rotating blade. The rotating blade is used to grind the stump away, turning it into fine wood shavings.

Stump grinders are one of the most popular stump removal tools to hire. Overall, these highly productive machines reduce the amount of manual labour and digging a person has to do.

How to use remove a stump with a stump grinder?

A stump grinder is a very easy way to remove stumps of all sizes. They are commonly used by grounds maintenance companies and tree surgeons all year round. The method of removing a stump with a grinder is very simple:

  • Ensure you are wearing the correct PPE to operate the machinery.
  • Expose all roots of the stump with a spade and remove any rocks that are visible.
  • Ensure that the stump is cut to around 1 inch above ground level.
  • Position the machine’s rotating blade on the first root you are going to remove.
  • Engage the handbrake and start the machine engine. (Note: Blade will rotate as soon as the engine starts, therefore keep it off the floor).
  • Once the engine has started and the full throttle is engaged, lower the rotating blade 1 inch onto the root and start making passes left to right over the root. Pass as many times until you have removed the top first inch.
  • Continue to lower inch by inch until the root has been turned into shavings.
  • Replicate this method on all the roots surrounding the tree stump.
  • Once all roots have been removed, then you can begin on the stump. Adopt the same method of grinding passes backwards and forwards an inch at a time.
  • Continue until the whole stump has been turned into shavings and the root ball of the tree has been removed.

Tips for using a stump grinder

Using a stump grinder is quite self-explanatory. However, if you are ever stuck, ask your provider for a demonstration. Nevertheless, there are some easy quick tips for using a stump grinder that can help.

Flying debris

Stump grinders are quite messy machines and as there is a lot of fast rotation of a blade involved, resulting in flying debris. So how do you count act this? Well, first you need to ensure you are wearing the correct PPE to protect yourself. This includes eye protection.

Clearing small stones in and around the roots and stump can help reduce the chance of flying debris occurring. However, it is highly likely that during the process, you will come across some unexpected surprises. Remember that trees have a habit of growing around things, especially rocks or debris. So, you may not even see it coming.

To ensure you protect yourself and the surrounding environment, always remind behind the machine while in operation. If you are working in a built-up area, consider using boarding to contain any flying debris.

Plyboard screening is a very cheap and easy way to prevent any nasty accidents from happening. The velocity of the rotating blade can cause dangerous debris to randomly disperse.

Faster grinding hacks

There are a few ways that you speed up your stump grinding, such as:

  • Don’t try to grind too much at one time. This may only result in the machine stalling and causing damage to it.
  • Work in a circular motion. Sometimes you won’t be able to grind the whole stump from one position. Therefore, work around the stump, working closer and closer to the centre.
  • Clear the shavings that are produced. The shavings that are produced from the stump grinder will start to gather quickly under the machine. These can be difficult to navigate around, especially if you are tackling a larger tree stump. Try to keep your working area clear so you can manoeuvre the machine easier.
  • Let the stump rot for a period before grinding. Freshly cut-down hardwood trees can be tough to grind out. If you or the customer is in no rush, leave the stump to rot for a period of tip to remove it quickly. Softwood trees such as pine or conifer should be easy to immediately grind.

Mini digger

mini digger Stump Removal Tools To Hire

Another very popular way to remove tree stumps is with a mini digger or excavator. These machines are designed to excavate all types of materials and are available with a large lifting force. Unlike grinding, this method requires a bit more brute force.

Mini diggers are used to expose, sever, and remove stumps relatively quickly. This is providing that you can get an excavator close enough to the stump. Using a mini digger is very popular for the removal of small tree stumps. However, unlike using a stump grinder, using a mini digger can be far messier. Let’s have a little look at the method or removing a tree stump with a mini digger.

Method of removing a tree stump with an excavator.

  • Prepare the machine with a toothed bucket attachment.
  • Position the machine within reach of the tree stump.
  • Begin to work around the base of the stump approx. 1ft from its side.
  • Expose any lateral roots and use the machine to sever them by plucking and pulling.
  • Once you have severed all lateral roots, begin pulling the stump with the excavator to break the tree’s tap root. If you struggle, you may need to expose parts of the tap root before the stump can be fully removed.

Always make sure that you have the power and lifting capability within the excavator to do so. Mini excavators are ideal for small tree plants and bushes. Large machines will be required for bigger tree stumps.

Conclusion: Popular stump removal tools to hire

As we have revealed, there are multiple different tools to use to help you remove a tree stump. However, to choose the right piece of equipment for your stump removal you should consider these factors:

  • Size or number of stumps you wish to remove.
  • Age of and type of stump it is. (Species)
  • Access to the stump/s you wish to remove.
  • The time frame you wish to complete it in.
  • Your experience of using various equipment.
  • Budget

Size or number you need to remove

Knowing the size of the stumps that you wish to remove will help in choosing the right size of machinery you require to successfully complete the task.

Ages and type (Species)

Remember, the older the stump, the easier it will be to remove as it many have naturally started to decompose. Fresher stumps may take longer or require larger equipment to complete in an allocated time.

Access to stump/s you wish to remove

Knowing your entrance and exit points is vital to any type of project. Large open spaces allows you to use all the equipment we have highlighted in this resource. Smaller access may require you to choose either a small stump grinder or will have to be extracted by hand.

The time frame you wish to complete it in

If you have a time frame to work within, then it is important you choose your equipment carefully. Stump removal can take minutes to hours. However, we are confident if you follow the methods for the equipment we have highlighted, then you have every chance to maximise your productivity.

Experience with equipment

If you are inexperienced with the equipment, the likelihood is that the project may take longer than sticking to a method your are familiar with. However, do not be afraid to use more condition-suitable equipment to remove tree stumps.


With multiple different options out there on the market, you can find a stump removal tool to suit your budget. Just think along the lines that the more manual labour you wish to use, the cheaper it will be.

Where to hire stump removal tools to hire in Tewkesbury

WHC Hire Tewkesbury

WHC Hire Services has been a local supplier of ground maintenance, tree surgery and gardening equipment for over 25 years. Our Tewkesbury depot offers a wide range of stump grinders, reciprocating saws, excavators, and other gardening equipment to businesses and the public across the Gloucestershire region.

To find out more about the grounds equipment we offer, click here. Alternatively, give your local Tewkesbury depot a call on 01684377977 to arrange hire.

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