Thursday, February 12, 2015

How to Use a Stump Grinder

If you're like me then there was a point in your life where you thought you could remove a stump in your yard or on your property by digging it out. Shortly there after you told yourself "never again." You probably had to use a chainsaw, shovel, ax, and a WWII style flame thrower just to finally get it out after a whole day of work. Only to be left feeling dissatisfied knowing there could have been a more efficient way of doing it. Well guess what, there is! 

Using a Stump Grinder can make the stump removal process a whole lot quicker and easier. Basically a stump grinder uses a spinning wheel outfitted with teeth to chip away at the wood and shave it down until you can cover the remains with dirt and grass. It's still a lengthy process, but compared to digging it out it's a fraction of the time.

When getting rid of a stump you have a few options depending on your situation. If you have a small one-off project it would probably be a good idea to hire a tree removal company to do it for you. If you have multiple stumps or a larger project you might want to consider renting one and handling it yourself. If you are constantly trying to remove stumps on a regular basis, for whatever reason, buying your own might be the way to go. Asses your situation and proceed with the option that will save you the most time and money.

 Safety First

Before we get down to brass tax we should discuss using the proper safety techniques when operating a stump grinder. First and foremost you should thoroughly read the instructions or have a seasoned operator explain how to safely use the machine, since different models operate differently. You should make sure you are always wearing hearing and eye protection, and it would be a good idea to wear gloves as well. 

Before You Start

Before you fire up that stump grinder and start digging away there are a couple things you will want to do to make the job a little easier. First, you will want to make sure you clear the area or any loose rocks or other solid material. This will prevent the teeth from getting dull and it will keep random objects from flying up and hitting you in the face.

Next you will want to take a chainsaw and cut the stump down as low as possible. It's not necessary, but it will help save you time. The stump grinder shaves the stump from the top down, so the lower it is to the dirt the less time will be spent grinding it.

 Dig In

There are different types of stump grinders out there, some that use a hydraulic arm and some that are manually maneuvered. With either one you will want to start by positioning the wheel over the edge of the stump and begin to shave off 1-2 inches moving the wheel horizontally across the stump. Continue this motion back and forth moving down the stump until you're about 3-4 inches below the dirt. Continue this process until the entire stump has been shaved down at least 4 inches below the ground. Here is a time lapse video of the process for reference.

Depending on the size of the stump and if you were able to trim it down with a chainsaw, the whole process should take you 30 minutes to an hour. That is far less time than it takes to try to get it out by hand. It is also a lot less work intensive.

Finish Up    

Once the stump is removed it's up to you to decide what to do with that space. Maybe you want to fill in the hole with soil and plant some grass, or maybe you want it to be the start of a garden. Either way, you now have the option instead of just looking at an unsightly stump all the time.

If you would like more information on stump grinders or to check out a great selection, just visit Chippers Direct. I am available to take your calls and answer any questions you may have.