While there’s a scenic charm to having a tree stump in your yard, stumps can pose serious problems, like attracting pests. They’re also a major pain to tackle on your own, but by hiring a tree servicing company you can have them removed correctly and quickly. In this article, we’ll go over how much tree stump removal costs and all the information about hiring a stump removal company.
- Tree stump removal costs between $35 to over $500 per stump, with the national average price being $250 to $400.
- Stump grinding is less expensive than standard removal, costing $150 to $400.
- Homeowners can save on tree stump removal costs by disposing of the stump and debris themselves.
How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Stump?
Stump removal costs anywhere from $35 to more than $500, but the national average price is between $250 and $400. Stump removal prices have such a wide range because of the many factors that can affect removal. Everything from stump width to tree type and soil quality can all inflate your project’s final price tag.
We retrieved cost data from RSMeans, a project estimator for contractors and home improvement experts. The average costs listed in this article include materials and labor fees.
How Do Stump Removal Costs Differ by Tree Size?
The diameter of a tree stump between its two widest points is the primary factor in determining its removal cost. On average, a tree trimming or stump removal company charges between $3 to $5 per inch for stump removal. Small stumps cost anywhere from $30 to $120, while the price to remove larger ones can exceed $500.
We can use this pricing model to break down the average expected cost for stumps of different sizes. Check out the following table to see how much it might cost to remove your stump by its diameter.
|Stump Size||Average Cost|
How Do Stump Removal Costs Differ by Species of Tree?
Most stump removal methods are universally effective for all species of trees. Because of this, most stump removal and tree service companies don’t charge different rates for specific tree species. However, some trees like maples, oaks, and elms, have wide, dense, and deep root systems. That does make stump removal of these tree stumps more expensive.
How Do Extra Services and Removal Methods Impact the Pricing of Stump Removal?
Stump removal companies offer multiple options for getting rid of stumps, along with numerous additional services. Each removal method and add-on service carries a different price point, affecting your project’s total cost. Below we outline the costs of each stump removal method and add-on service.
|Stump Removal Method||Average Cost|
|Additional Service||Average Cost|
|Removing Roots||$100–$200 per hour|
Manual removal is extracting the stump from the ground by digging it out or pulling it physically from the soil. Manual removal is one of the most expensive methods of removing a stump. It takes the most time, labor hours, and tools. Manual removal is often needed for larger stumps with deep or complex root structures — in these situations, grinding, burning, or chemical removal may not remove the root.
Stump Grinding Services
Grinding is one of the fastest ways to remove tree stumps from the ground. The tree specialist uses a large, cylindrical grinder designed to chew stumps into mulch. Grinding takes only a few hours and makes quick work of even large tree stumps.
While stump grinding costs less than other removal methods, it has a few downsides. Mainly, it doesn’t remove every root. While it gets rid of the largest roots, longer and smaller roots are often left behind. And it leaves a large hole where the stump was, which will need to be filled.
If you’re interested in how stump grinding works, check out this helpful video from Home Depot.
Chemical removal is the slowest but most cost-effective way to get rid of a stump. Chemical removal starts with holes that get drilled into the major structure of the stump, followed by an insertion of a chemical mixture that promotes rapid rotting. This chemical mixture contains elements like potassium nitrate, sulphuric acid, nitric acid, and other natural products. Within a few weeks of being treated, the stump rots away.
Homeowners turn to chemical rotting when they’re not in a rush to remove the stump. This method is especially effective on stumps next to structures, like barns or sheds, where manual removal would be difficult.
Stump burning works similarly to chemical rotting. To burn out a stump, the removal company drills holes and fills them with a nitrogen mixture. Instead of using nitrogen to rot a stump from the inside out, this method uses chemicals as a fuel source. After being ignited, a stump slow-burns over a few hours.
Burning can be an effective method for removing large or deeply set stumps, but it doesn’t touch root systems. It also requires special attention on the company’s part. While the stump burns, the technician must make sure cinders don’t spread or start errant fires.
Tree Root Removal
Leaving large, deep root structures in your yard can lead to mold, pests, and uneven turf. Unfortunately, many removal methods outlined above tend to leave large sections of the root mass behind. Thankfully, most tree service companies and arborists offer root removal services.
If your stump’s roots have gotten into your driveway or have grown around sheds, power lines, utility lines, or foundations, removing them can be complex and difficult. Large equipment or machinery may be needed to remove the deepest roots, especially for older or larger trees. That’s why root removal can get expensive in a hurry.
Many stump removal companies also offer tree removal services. On average, you can expect to pay between $250 to over $3,000 to remove a tree, but the national average sits at $750 to $1,200. Even if one company offers both services, tree and stump removal projects are rarely bundled together, meaning you’ll have to purchase each separately.
Which Other Factors Impact the Cost of Removing a Stump?
Stump diameter and add-ons aren’t the only things that determine the cost of your stump removal project. Others include:
- Where your home is located
- Root depth and complexity
- Tree type
- Soil condition and makeup
- Number of stumps
Where Your Home Is Located
If your home sits on a steep slope or has other difficult-to-manage landscaping, it raises the price of stump removal. Tree servicing companies often need to use large equipment to remove a stump, dig out the surrounding area, or grind down to the stump’s core. Difficult-to-access areas make navigating machinery on such terrain difficult, increasing the complexity and hourly rates.
The worst scenario is when the home sits in an area where it’s impossible to get machinery to the site. When this happens, the stump may need to be excavated by hand, drastically increasing costs.
Root Depth and Complexity
A tree with deep or complex roots can make removing its stump difficult and more time-consuming. This problem is compounded if the stump’s roots are damaging turf, surrounding structures, or nearby flower beds. When this happens, removing the roots needs to be done carefully to not create more damage to surrounding structures.
When dealing with a complex root system, tree servicing companies may need to remove the core of the stump via grinding, then remove the surrounding roots by hand. Of course, this system is much slower, more complex, and very expensive.
Most tree servicing and stump removal companies don’t change rates based on tree type. However, some specific species can present more difficult removals than others. For example, pines, willows, and ash trees have a taproot — large central roots that can grow deep. Trees with taproots are more difficult and expensive to remove.
Soil Condition and Makeup
The makeup of your yard’s soil will affect how well the tree grows and how expensive it’s to remove that tree. Thick, dense, and rocky soil can provide several challenges for a tree servicing company. As such, estimators will always consider soil when generating a quote.
Number of Stumps
When removing multiple stumps, tree servicing companies will typically offer discounts. The weight of the discount will depend on the company and the amount of additional stumps being removed, but for less than a dozen stumps, most companies will reduce the removal cost by half or more. For anything that can be considered bulk work, companies often charge a fraction of the cost of the first stump or have a separate pricing structure altogether.
Newer stumps, or “green stumps,” are physically harder and more difficult to remove than old, dead stumps. If the stump has had insects, mold, and other elements wearing it down, removal will be less expensive. While these unpleasant elements may not be good for your yard, they make removing the stump much easier.
Also, stumps from softwood trees will cost much less to remove. Compared to hardwood trees like oak, hickory, and mahogany, softwood stumps break down quickly and are much easier to handle.
Stump removal companies charge extra for removing sawdust, loose tree matter, and other debris from the stump removal process. The upcharge isn’t expensive, costing $1 to $4 per diameter inch. However, if you had a tree removed atop the stump, there would be more debris, and this price could become much higher.
Professional Vs. DIY Stump Removal
Compared to some landscaping jobs, tree stump removal can be a DIY project. While the job’s difficulty will largely depend on the size of the stump, how long it has been dead, and the type of tree it was, most stump removal can technically be managed at home. However, stump removal, while doable by yourself, is very labor-intensive and time-consuming, and many homeowners opt for professional help.
Remember that professionals should handle large, deeply rooted stumps or those next to major structures. These stumps can be difficult to manage alone, and their root systems must be removed, or they may continue to cause damage.
Should You Remove Your Stump Yourself?
While hiring a professional will be faster and easier than DIYing a stump removal, there are plenty of methods for hands-on homeowners.
If you have the time and the physical aptitude, you can always manually dig out a stump. Alternatively, you can rent a stump grinder for about $200 to $400 per day. However, this is about what you can expect to pay for a professional anyway, and using a grinder is difficult and dangerous.
One of the most reliable, albeit slowest, ways to remove a stump is with a chemical rotting agent. You can purchase chemical stump removers from most big-box or home improvement stores. When using a chemical remover, you must drill the appropriate holes in the trunk, add the solution, and wait two to four weeks for the stump to rot away.
We don’t recommend using a chain and vehicle to remove a stump. This method of stump removal is highly unreliable and frequently results in personal injury and property or vehicle damage.
Should You Hire a Stump Removal Professional?
Finding a good stump removal company can be difficult, especially for those new to hiring home service professionals. But by following these simple steps, you can find the right company to remove your problematic stump:
- Find local experts near you: Search for local stump removal companies in your area and look for those with excellent customer reviews.
- Get a quote from a few options: To find the best price for your stump removal, obtain multiple free quotes from several companies and compare them.
- Consult them about their recommendations: Ask each company about the project, how long its team expects it to take, and if they foresee any complications.
- Research the company’s credentials: Besides reading each company’s customer reviews, check its Better Business Bureau Score and history of complaints.
Is It Always Legal to Remove a Stump?
Most states and municipalities don’t restrict or limit the removal of stumps. The exception is stump burning, which is often restricted. The laws governing stump burning vary from state to state, but in general, dryer Midwestern regions tend to have more harsh burning laws.
Here are some examples of state laws that might restrict the burning of stumps.
|North Carolina||The North Carolina Division of Air Quality (DAQ) oversees all open burning laws. While it’s legal to burn stumps and all other yard waste (so long as it’s only plant matter), you may only burn from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.|
|Oregon||The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality controls burn laws. Residential burning is typically not allowed in Oregon, but certain regions vary by season, with some having designated burn days.|
|New York||According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, residential fires are allowed as long as they only contain charcoal or untreated wood (such as stumps) and are no larger than three feet high and four feet in length.|
|Utah||Utah’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) carefully regulates any potential source of pollution, including residential fires. To burn anything, including garden waste, you must obtain a permit from your local municipality.|
|Florida||Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection allows homeowners to burn yard waste under specific criteria. So long as you follow the rules for residential burning, you don’t need a permit.|
How Can You Save Money on Professional Stump Removal?
Homeowners can save money on stump removal with some basic preparatory steps:
- Removing the stump themselves: While it may take longer and require some elbow grease on the homeowner’s part, DIY removal is always cheaper than hiring a professional. The exception to this is renting a stump grinder, which can cost about the same as a stump removal company.
- Undertake debris removal: Stump removal companies will charge an additional fee to haul away and dispose of the stump. Homeowners can save on their final bill by handling the disposal of the stump and cleanup on their own.
- Comparing multiple quotes: Shopping for quotes from multiple tree servicing and stump removal companies will allow you to find the best deal.
So, Is Stump Removal Worth the Cost?
Removing a stump will cost a homeowner anywhere from $30 to more than $500, with the average price being around $325. While this price may seem high, it’s well worth it in the end.
Rotting stumps can bring numerous serious problems to your lawn and home. Of these issues, the most notable is attracting pests. Critters like mice, termites, wood-boring ants, spiders, and much more all love to nest inside old, rotting wood. Termites cause $5 billion of damage to over 600,000 homes annually, so anything that can attract these destructive nuisances should be removed ASAP.
FAQs About Stump Removal
Is it cheaper to grind or remove a stump?
When hiring a tree servicing company, the cost of stump grinding will always be cheaper than manual removal. When taking the DIY approach, renting a grinder will be more expensive than digging the stump out yourself.
Why is tree stump removal so expensive?
The cost of stump removal services is determined by the size of the stump, how the homeowner wants it removed, and how hard it’s to remove. Stump removal gets expensive when you have a large stump in a difficult location. In these situations, tree servicing companies need to take special care to remove the stump without damaging surrounding structures, which increases labor hours and job complexity.
Do stumps need to be removed when a tree is cut down?
We recommend homeowners remove all tree stumps from their property. Once a tree dies, its stump will begin to rot in the ground, promoting the growth of fungi and attracting pests.
What Is the Average Cost for Stump Removal?
The average cost of stump removal is between $250 to $400.