How to Grind Out Stumps


If you've cut down trees in your yard and need to get rid of the tree stumps quickly, there's no better option than using a stump grinder. Most home-improvement or equipment-rental stores carry stump grinders that you can either purchase or rent. Stump grinders come in a range of sizes to tackle tree stumps both large and small. Even the smaller stump grinders are rather large, so you'll need to either transport the machine on a flat-bed trailer or have it delivered to your house. Removing a stump with a grinder machine can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the size of the stump.

Step 1

Remove any rocks around the stump's base using a shovel so they don't damage the teeth on the stump grinder's cutting wheel. Cut the tree stump as close to the ground as you can, using a chainsaw.

Step 2

Lift the grinder wheel using the hydraulic lever so that it's 2 inches higher than the stump. Move the stump grinder so that the grinder wheel is directly above the stump's front edge.

Step 3

Start the machine, getting the grinder wheel spinning, and lower the wheel slowly down 3 inches into the stump. Direct the wheel back and forth over the stump in slow, sweeping motions, using the hydraulic lever.

Step 4

Continue until the grinder wheel has dug down about 4 inches into the stump. Lift the wheel and move the machine a few inches forward. Using the same slow, sweeping motion, continue to grind until you've reached the opposite side of the stump.

Step 5

Move the stump grinder away so you can look to make sure you've dug down at least 4 inches into the ground. Rake away the wood chips and ensure that you've ground the entire stump.

Step 6

Fill the hole with topsoil, tamp it down and rake it gently. Spread a layer of grass seed and rake them into the soil. Finish by watering the new topsoil and covering the seeds with a 2-inch layer of hay mulch.

Tips and Warnings

  • Make sure you stand at the stump grinder's control panel, at the back side of the machine, when you're operating it. Stay far away from the grinder wheel. Always wear protective ear and eye gear when operating the stump grinding machine and chainsaw. Be sure to turn the machine off before approaching the grinder wheel.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Chainsaw
  • Tree stump grinder
  • Work gloves
  • Eye and ear protection
  • Rake
  • Topsoil
  • Grass seed
  • Hay mulch
  • Garden hose


  • Do-It-Yourself Tree Stump Grinding
  • Removing Stumps

Who Can Help

  • Removing Tree Stumps
Keywords: operate stump grinder, grind tree stumps, remove tree stump

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.