Stump Grinding VS Stump Removal

People think about different methods for getting rid of the leftover stumps and the two most common methods for doing so are either through stump grinding or manual stump removal. People often get confused between the two methods and it is important to have all the correct information before making a decision. Let’s take a look at some of the differences and pros and cons for both processes.

Stump grinding is a process through which leftover tree stumps are ground down into small wood chips and grindings using a stump grinder. On the other hand, stump removal involves removing the stump either manually or using machinery. Stump grinding can be easier and more economical when dealing with larger stumps. Stump removal, on the other hand, is much easier with smaller stumps.

should you grind or uproot a stump?

What Are the Differences Between Stump Removal and Stump Grinding?

Stump grinding is a process through which the leftover tree stump is ground into very small wood shavings using a stump grinder, the only thing which is left behind is the sawdust and the roots of the tree.

On the other hand, stump removal involves pulling out the entire stump from the ground along with its root ball using either manual physical force or using large mechanical instruments like excavators when dealing with larger tree stumps.

With stump grinding, the leftover wood shavings or sawdust eventually gets mixed with the soil and it can also be used as mulch or in composts. A stump grinder can only go as much as 18 inches below the ground, but it is usually only used till the stump is ground flush with the soil.

With stump removal, you will be left with a giant hole in the ground, depending on the size of the root ball.

What Are the Pros and Cons Of Stump Grinding And Stump Removal?

One thing to note is that stump grinding will not leave a giant hole in the ground after the removal, unlike stump removal which will often destroy the look of that area.

Another factor is that stump removal will get rid of the entire root ball, this means that there will be no chances of the tree ever sprouting again. But with stump grinding, there is a small chance that the roots might sprout back again.

If you are dealing with a small to medium-sized tree stump, then stump removal might be more efficient and faster. But when dealing with a large stump, stump grinding is the more efficient method.

Stump grinding will also be less labor-intensive in most cases, you can even do it yourself, especially if you are dealing with a small to a medium-sized stump. On the other hand, even small tree stumps can require multiple people to remove it manually.

Recommended reading: How to Remove a Small Tree

With larger stumps, you will need large machinery which will have to be professionally operated.

Another benefit of going for stump grinding is that you can use the leftover grindings in composts, or as mulch.

What Is the Cost Difference Between Both Processes?

The cost factor also differs between both the processes. This depends on the size of the stump you are dealing with.

If you have to remove a small stump, then asking someone for help and manually removing it will be cheaper than hiring a stump grinder. But as the size of the stump increases, you will have to hire a professional with heavy machinery to remove it, during this point, hiring or renting a stump grinder will be much cheaper.

It can cost you anywhere between $370-675 for removing a 20-inch diameter stump. On the other hand, it will cost you between $100 to $400 for stump grinding the same stump. This will depend on whether you rent the grinder and do the process yourself or hire someone to do it for you.


Stump removal for larger stumps can be expensive and time-consuming as you will need to hire a professional service or rent heavy machinery. Stump grinding on the other hand can be done by yourself by renting a grinder and it is much more economical and easier to perform. For smaller stumps, you can remove them manually as well.

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