Why DIY Tree Stump Removal is a Bad Idea – Expert Opinion

Table of Contents

When you’re used to handling projects around your home, you might not think twice about a stump or two in the way of your landscaping plans. You may assume you’ll devote a few hours to research and some heavy work to take care of the job. While a DIY tree stump removal approach may be tempting, it’s important to keep two key points in mind: i) removing a stump and roots from the ground often requires more work than removing the tree in the first place and ii) stump removal comes with several inherent risks.

Here, we’ll look at some of the ways people try to DIY a stump removal project—and why the methods are often risky. But first, let’s ask the obvious question: is stump removal even necessary?

Why Does Stump Removal Matter?

You may wonder — if you don’t mind the look of a stump — why it needs to be removed. There are several reasons to properly get rid of a stump, rather than letting it decay in place. Here are just a few:

  • Visual appeal — As a stump decays, over time, it can act as an eye sore in your yard. When stump removal is left undone, property values can be compromised. If you are planning to sell your home, it’s important to remove any possible objections a buyer might have.
  • Fungi and pests — A tree stump, left to decay, naturally attracts fungi, bugs, and pests, none of which you want near your home.
  • A chance to use the space — Another good reason to use stump removal or stump grinding is to create space for garden features or new growth. A stump takes up valuable space, both above ground and below. Unless it is removed, it will be more difficult to use the space for hardscaping or plant growth.

In short, you very likely need to remove that stump in your yard. Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the ways people try a DIY approach to stump removal.

Manual (and Heavy) Labor

DIY Tree Stump Removal

Using physical labor for stump removal rarely works out. Once you start digging, you’ll see the extent of the work involved. A larger tree has a significant root ball that spreads widely underground. You may only discover, once you start digging, how wide and deep you’ll need to dig to loosen the root ball.  

Even if you invite a friend or two over to help, you might regret asking for the favor. The amount of work involved can test your physical stamina, your patience, and even your friendships.  

If you decide to use manual labor, you’ll need to think beyond the digging itself. Even when you’ve loosened enough of the root ball — you’ll still need a way to extract the stump from the ground. This is where DIY can get highly risky.

DIY lifting and hauling with a car or truck is notoriously dangerous. Not only is your vehicle at risk of serious damage, but so too, are you at risk of great personal injury. YouTube is filled with cautionary tales of this very mistake — people trying to DIY a stump removal project. To stay safe, it’s best to avoid using manual labor to attempt stump removal on your own.   

Rent the Equipment Yourself

In some cases, you may be able to rent equipment for stump grinding on your own. Given that you will not have the insurance or permits for a commercial-grade stumper grinder, you will only be able to rent a smaller machine with a lower capacity.

It will likely take you much longer than professionals would take, but you may be able to grind the stump to your level of satisfaction. The risks with this option are two-fold: i) unless you wear proper safety equipment and know how to manage the stump grinder, you may risk personal injury and ii) depending on the type of tree and how hard the wood is, you may not be satisfied with the result.

Use Epsom Salts or Other Chemicals

It may be tempting to use a chemical solution to help accelerate the decay of your stump. Some people use Epsom salts or other chemicals to diminish the stump over the course of many months to a year.

The risks of this method are clear — chemicals can be harmful to both you and your yard’s ecosystem. In addition, the goal is to make the stump more brittle, but you still need to chip away at the residual stump, making this a long-term and labor-intensive solution. 

Let Professionals Handle It

Of course, the safest and most efficient method of stump removal is to call in professionals. An experienced team will assess the area where your stump sits and use heavy equipment for the job. If you only need the stump ground flat, so you can cover it with soil and lay grass seed or use small plants, professional arborists will use a heavy-duty stump grinder to reduce your stump to a pile of woodchips.

If you plan to repurpose the area or plant another tree, you will want to use stump removal to extract the entire stump and its roots. Using heavy machinery, professionals will dig deep enough to properly remove the root ball from the ground.

If you’re not sure which solution is best for your yard, professionals can help. They will ask about your plans for the area and advise on the best solution, given any yard restrictions.

Find the Right Team

Like any home service, you want to find the right team for your stump grinding or stump removal project. As you search, look for a local company with plenty of experience and a strong reputation. Chances are, you want the job done as quickly as possible with excellent communication and clear expectations.

Check reviews and be sure to ask for referrals, so you can have a good idea of what to expect with your stump removal project. Both stump grinding and stump removal take several hours to complete. Be sure to ask all the questions you have about noise levels and clean-up protocols.

At Stump Demolition, we stand by our commitment to you. We serve Southeast Michigan with a high work ethic, clear communication, and the highest quality work standards. We ensure our jobs are done on schedule and budget. We aim to leave as little residual evidence of our stump grinding or stump removal services as possible.

To get started, simply contact us. We will arrange a time to assess your project. Let us help with your fresh start.


Subscribe to our blog for more updates.

Get Your Free Quote

Post Categories

Related Articles