Stump Grinder: 8 Things Gardeners Should Know
Whether you got a pesky stump on your yard from a newly cut dead tree or it’s been standing there for years already, one thing’s for sure; it’s best to remove the tree stump. Not only can it damage your property’s aesthetics, but it can also welcome unwanted pests and grow fungi that can be a safety hazard to you, your family, and even the trees nearby.
Stump grinding is an effective and speedy way of removing Stump Grinder using a high-powered machine with a steel-toothed cutting wheel. Though you can do stump grinding yourself, one should have adequate knowledge and expertise to do it properly. Doing so will save you from wasting a lot of time, effort, and money. It’ll also keep you away from the possible dangers of using one.
Continue reading to know more about the essential things to keep in mind for safety and successful stump grinding.
Identify If The Stump Should Be Ground Or Not
First thing’s first, you need to assess if the tree stump can be grounded or not. Commonly, stump grinding is the go-to option of most homeowners and gardeners to remove tree stumps from the yard.
However, there are instances that a tree stump can be difficult or impossible to be removed and those are the following:
- Hard to reach areas where a stump grinder can be difficult to transport
- Stumps situated on small planting concrete holes require the destruction of the surrounding material, which can be costly and damaging to the yard’s aesthetics.
- Tree stumps that are very close to another tree results in damaging the trees and shrubs nearby
- Stumps located close to infrastructure may damage the building’s foundation, footings or hit underground utility lines and pipes.
Therefore, you should first evaluate if you can safely grind the tree stump you’re targeting to remove.
Know The Things To Consider When You Decide To Do-It-Yourself
Secondly, check out the things that you need to prepare. As mentioned before, though you can do stump grinding yourself, it’d be best to be cautious of the items to keep in mind before the activity. Here’s the list of things to prepare when you decide to do it yourself.
- Transporting vehicle of the machine to your yard
- Gas to power it
- Materials for the protection of the surrounding materials
- Screen to shield you from flying debris
- Woodchip clean up and disposal
Being prepared for the following necessities will surely help you do the job faster as there won’t be a need to pause and gather these materials while you’re stump grinding.
Get To Know Your Stump Grinder Thoroughly Before Use
Moreover, getting to know your equipment shouldn’t be forgotten. A stump grinder is a powerful machine designed to grind the stump into small pieces. Because of this equipment’s strength and power, it can be perilous when mishandled. That’s why it’s of utmost importance to get to know your grinder thoroughly before use.
Stump grinders come in different types and sizes to cater to different kinds of a stump. There are also stump grinder brands that offer various features. For that reason, it’s essential to know what type of stump you need to grind to know which type of stump grinder you should be using.
Here are the different types of stump grinders according to description:
Some call it ‘hand-guided’ or ‘walk-behind’ stump grinders. It’s small in size, making it fit in the back of a truck. It’s also very lightweight, which makes it very portable.
Wheeled Stump Grinders
It’s commonly known as a ‘rear-hitch’ stump grinder due to its towing feature. It can easily be attached to either a truck or a trailer during transport. Then, you can easily detach it at the job site for use.
It’s an agile grinder that looks like a small tractor. The operator of the stump grinder maneuvers the machine from a seat.
Skid Stump Grinder
This machine’s continuous treads are different from the three types stated above. The operator can control it from behind or atop. It’s built with track treads to chip anything it grabs, even large surface areas. It’s commonly used for soft grounds so that the wheels would churn up soil.
A Stump Grinder Attachment
It’s an add-on to a skid steer controlled by the same arms that guide the bucket attachments.
The general rule is to use a robust stump grinder for big and old stumps. The same rule applies vice-versa. Simply put, you need to use the stump grinder suited for the job you’ll be doing. That’s why it’s best to know the different types of stump grinders before actually diving into action. It’s also beneficial, especially to gardeners who rent this equipment.
Make Sure To Wear The Proper Clothing
Furthermore, know what proper attire to wear for your safety’s interest. When you opt to use a stump grinder, you should expect tree particles and debris to fly around in all directions. You should anticipate dangers such as wounds and eye injuries when you don’t wear the proper clothing and equipment. Therefore, you must wear your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as:
- hard hat
- hearing protection/ ear muffs
- steel-toe-cap boots
- dust masks
- work gloves
Apart from the safety gears listed above, it’s also best to wear long-length shirts and pants. However, don’t wear loose clothing and any dangling jewelry during the activity. You should also tie your hair if you have a long one. The moving parts of the machine might tangle items as such. Thus, leading to danger.
Clear Out Your Worksite And Ensure Precautionary Measures
In addition to safety measures, you must ensure that the site is ready for the process. Yes, you have read this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. Keep note that a stump grinder is a powerful machine with a rotating blade that’ll chew away and destroy anything in its path. Therefore, it’s indispensable to prepare your worksite and guarantee that the area surrounding the tree stump is clear before undertaking the job. Make sure to remove any rocks and other obstructions surrounding tree stumps as these can dull the clutter heads. Chips can also fly off and break windows or hurt whomever they hit.
You can also install temporary barriers or a safety fence to avoid unfortunate hazards. Barriers such as plywood or screens can be a big help to block the flying debris.
If you have garden decorations and other objects nearby, make sure to keep them safe by transferring them to a garden shed for storage.
If you have children and pets at home, it’d be essential for their safety to keep them away before, during, and after stump grinding. Ensure that everyone is kept safe, even passers-by, at an appropriate distance when the machine operates.
Beware Of Utility Lines
Equally important as the others, be careful not to hit utility lines underground to avoid any power outage and electrical grounding. For a successful tree stump removal, you should grind the stump several feet below the ground to secure that the root will die and no shrub or new tree will grow.
Doing so guarantees that you have thoroughly removed the tree stump. However, it’d help if you’re cautious not to hit any utility lines, gas pipes, and electrical connections. What you can do is consult local utility companies to ensure that the tree stump is safe to grind. Confirm that you won’t hit any main supply line above or beneath the site that the work will undertake.
Dispose of The Wood Chip Properly
Last but not least, proper disposal of the stump’s waste is necessary. The work doesn’t end until you have appropriately handled and disposed of the wood chips. You must know what to do with the wood chips when grinding is finished. No need to worry because you can handle this job easily. However, you have to be careful to do it successfully.
Some stump grinders have attached collecting tools. If not, a rake will best help you with the process of collecting the wood chips. Carefully rake the ground so that you won’t accidentally pull up some topsoil. Transfer the wood chips to a double-layered garbage bag to ensure they don’t break open.
Some people recycle wood chips as compost for their plants’ vigorous growth. Woodchips mixed in the soil can positively affect its organic content matter, which is an environmentally sound way of disposal. They also make a good mulch which holds in moisture and allows the seeds to develop well. You can ask neighbors in your community or those that work in the nurseries if they want or need your reusable debris. You can also recycle it yourself and use it the same way.
If You Are Hesitant To Do It, Hire A Professional Instead
An important pro-tip that you should consider as you decide on this project. Stump grinding can be a challenge, especially for inexperienced people. It requires adequate knowledge and expertise to deliver the job effectively. If you’re hesitant to do the process independently, keep in mind that help is available.
You can always contact a professional to do the stump removal process for you. However, make sure to hire reliable stump grinding companies that have qualified arborists and proper equipment for safe and successful stump grinding.
Stump grinding is an effective way to permanently remove the tree stump in your yard without having to worry about the possible growth of suckers or pest infestation. However, you can only effectively and successfully do it with adequate knowledge and expertise.
That’s why considering the in-depth essential stump grinding tips and tricks listed above will undoubtedly benefit you in your stump grinding activity. Use these guidelines to your advantage to ensure your family’s safety and elevate the aesthetics of your yard.