Stump Grinding & Removal

Stump grinding machine and excavator for stump removal in Whangarei

When a tree has reached the end of its life, whether due to age, illness or for safety reasons, it will need to be cut down and removed. However, after the felling the job is not done just yet. Leaving the stump behind can create a serious tripping hazard, cause damage to your lawn-mowing equipment and make any further landscape planning rather painful. Stumps also attract pests such as termites and ants, offering them the perfect breeding ground.

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Furthermore, some trees are able to regrow if any root material is left behind in the ground, so you might face additional risks and problems in the future. Unfortunately, removing a stump is not as straightforward and easy, and special machinery is required if you want it to be done properly and without putting anyone in danger.

Tree Wise offers a professional stump grinding service that removes trees safely and efficiently. Our stump-grinding machine caters for smaller and medium-sized stumps, and our 15-ton digger with a stump-grinding head takes care of multiple or larger stumps with ease. So if you have a stump problem, why not give us a call today to receive a free, non-obligatory quote?

How do stump grinders work?

Stump grinders are designed to remove tree and root material using a rotating disc with teeth that cut away the wood and turn it into small chips. They range in size to that from an average household lawnmower to that of a massive truck. Stump grinders can be operated on hydraulics or manually using a handle bar.

For bigger stumps or where multiple stumps are located close together, stump grinding equipment can also be attached to tractors or excavators that can access the area safely and have more power. These vertical stump grinders can destroy root systems of half a meter wide and one meter deep in less than a minute.

Benefits of stump grinding?

While it is tempting to save money and try removing a stump by yourself, it is anything but safe. People often underestimate the size of the root system below the surface, which can span an area up to seven times larger than the stump itself. Broken tools and equipment are often the least worrying consequences of DIY stump removal projects. You can cause serious injuries to yourself and others and even damage your property. On top of that, if you happen to hit and damage underground sewage pipes you also face a major fine from local councils.

Professional stump grinding is your best option to remove what’s left of the tree. It’s safe for the environment as there are no chemicals involved, and it even has benefits for the soil. During the process of grinding a lot of mulch is created which can be put back into the ground to decompose, thus returning natural fibre into the earth. Stump grinding also ensures that the root material is being removed 100% which prevents regrow and infestation of nasty pests.

Our trained arborists will not only assess the situation for you and talk you through the process. After successfully removing the stump we will also clean up the area for you and ensure that it’s safe for you, your family and even your pets to access it again.

What alternatives are there to stump grinding?

Stump grinding is the safest, fastest and most efficient way of removing a tree stump. However, there are several other options that don’t involve grinding equipment but do involve a lot more manual labour!

Treating stumps with chemicals

After cutting off as much of the trunk as possible with a chainsaw, drill little holes around the perimeter of the trunk, each about an inch deep. On top of the trunk, about 3 to 4 inches inwards, drill more holes about 8 to 12 inches deep. Connect these holes with additional ones on the side to create 45-degree angles.

Pour small amounts of potassium nitrate into the holes and fill them with water. Potassium nitrate accelerates the decomposing process of the tree. Within four to six weeks the stump should go soft and soggy and you can break it up with an axe. Other chemicals suitable for stump removal are chemical fertilizers that are high in nitrogen as this produces bacteria which will eventually lead to decay.

When using chemicals, it is very important to keep animals and pets away from the area. Chemical stump removal is a very lengthy process that takes weeks, sometimes even months, and is therefore not recommended in residential areas.

Burning stumps out

If the chemicals have not brought the desired result within the given time, you can saturate the stump with kerosene and let it sit for another week before setting it on fire. Then it burn and smoulder until the stump completely gone.

If chemicals are not an option, you can go straight to burning the stump by drilling large holes into it, filling these up with kerosene and letting it soak in for a couple of weeks before igniting the wood. As with the chemical removal, this method is not recommended in areas where children and pets are around as it is highly dangerous.

Always check local fire codes before burning anything in your backyard and have a water hose, fire extinguisher or buckets of water ready in case flames get out of control.

Removing stumps by hand

This will only work for smaller stumps with a shallow root system. With a chainsaw remove any lower branches from the trunk as well as the top bit of the stump, leaving as little as possible behind. Using a shovel and a water hose reveal as many roots around the perimeter of the stump as possible, then cut them away with an axe as much as you can.

Loosen the trunk by pushing and pulling it back and forth. If more roots are revealed, cut them away as previously described. Once the entire trunk is uprooted you can pull it out and remove it. You may have to wrap a chain around it to get it completely out of the ground.

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