What To Consider Before Removing A Tree Stump From Your Yard

Even though most people try to avoid having to cut down a tree, sometimes there is no other option. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, cutting it down requires cleaning up the tree afterward, including creating a stack of firewood or mulch. You also need to think about what to do with the stump that's left behind. Before deciding to remove it, you need to weigh the pros and cons of this process.

Cost is a primary consideration when it comes to removing an existing stump. The cost of removing a tree from your yard can range from $200 to $2,000 or more, depending on the size, location, and type of tree involved. You can expect to pay in a range of about $175 to $525 for stump removal, depending on its size, the thickness of roots involved, and the location. Generally, you can save about $100 to $200 by grinding instead of having to perform a full removal, depending on the overall size and species. 

One potential downside to grinding is that the machine leaves the roots intact, while a full removal also includes taking out the roots. If you leave the roots, they eventually will decompose, which could cause uneven parts in your yard as the grass may sink. Leaving roots in place can complicate lawn maintenance at times, too.

Benefits of performing a full tree stump removal

The primary reason for taking out the full stump is for safety. If it remains in place, it could create a trip hazard, or if the stump is particularly large, small children could fall and injure themselves after climbing on it. Additionally, the stump could damage your lawn mower or other garden tools if you hit it. Moreover, tree stumps can draw unwanted insects, like termites. And once you have a nest of termites inside a stump, they may migrate toward your home, causing significant damage in very little time. Many other types of unwanted insects may also try to make a home inside the leftover part of the tree, including ants, wasps, and bees. Once they're established, these insects can cause further problems for your family and your home.

As another benefit, failing to take out stumps can eventually drive down the value of your property, especially when it's time to sell your home. Having clean sightlines across the lawn and in your garden beds makes the property more desirable for potential buyers. They don't have to worry about taking out the remaining stump, instead, they can spend their time dreaming about the way they will plant their own gardens and flower beds.

Challenges of removing a tree stump from your yard

Most people choose to hire a professional to do the entire tree removal. However, if the cost of removing the stump doesn't fit your budget, you may try to rent a grinder and do the work yourself. Understand that using a stump grinder can be dangerous for a novice. The grinder has sharp, fast-moving parts that could severely injure you or a bystander. They also are extremely loud and create quite a bit of flying debris, so you should wear eye and ear protection.

Renting a stump grinder is pricey as well. At Home Depot, you can expect to pay a little more than $100 for a four-hour rental and about $150 for a full-day rental. Trees more than 14 inches in diameter require a larger, heavier, mid-sized unit that has at least 13 horsepower. Novices may struggle to control these machines and may need a truck and trailer to transport them. If you don't want to use a grinder, you could rent a mini excavator or skid steer to pull the stump and roots out of the ground together. This is a fast option for stump elimination, but it also is more expensive than the grinder. You can expect to pay at least $250 per day at certain Home Depot stores.