Grinding Tree Stumps

There are four primary types of stump grinders: hand manipulated handlebar machines; selfpropelled machines; tow-behind machines; and, truck / tractor mount machines. Stump grinders pushed by hand can fit into small areas but may take a long time to grind. Small machines may also be limited by the depth of grinding. On the other hand, some small stump grinders can be pushed or walked through areas less than 29 inches wide. The larger the machine, usually the larger the engine and grinding head or wheel. Note stump grinders can be rented, but are powerful specialized equipment which can be dangerous. Seeking professional assistance is recommended for most people and landscape situations. Stump grinding should always include a skirt or fencing around the stump to control flying debris and limit where stray pieces of stump and soil may end-up. Allow enough room inside the skirting for wood chip build-up. The chips produced will amount to approximately four times the volume as solid stump wood. Stump grinding is usually sold by the diameter of the stump at the widest point. Additional fees are assigned for the depth to which the stump is to be ground (4 to 36 inch depth) and how tall the stump is above the ground. There are specialized stump grinders used under specific conditions, like stumps under six feet of water in lakes. When contracting with a stump grinder, be sure to explain the access width and heights, and the open space available around the stump, to assure the best choice of equipment. Extremely large stumps are difficult to cost effectively grind with some types of equipment. For any stump grinding / chipping job a number of specifications should be outlined. The depth of stump removal below grade, the extent around the stump to remove large roots, clean up procedures and chip removal, and residual damage repair to the landscape and hardscape are a few of the items to be agreed upon before accepting a service. Chip disposal is critical in any specification set. Chips can be: left where they fall, leveled, spread, moved elsewhere on-site, removed from site, or dumped back into the stump excavation hole. The stump excavation hole can have chips only deposited or the chips can be mixed at some concentration with clean soil or other materials. The excavation hole can be cleaned out completely and backfilled with clean soil. The decisions regarding material deposition are important for the future use of the stump site, for the values of the surrounding landscape, and for the cost alternatives for off-site disposal.
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