If you want to know how much it costs to hire a professional to remove a tree stump, you are on the right page. But before we start throwing numbers at you, let’s clarify a few things.
- By “professional,” we mean a “qualified tree surgeon”
- By “tree stump,” we mean the remaining part of the truck left in place, still attached to the roots after a tree has been cut down.
- By “remove stumps”, we mean either stump grinding or excavation. There are other removal methods, but these two are the most common.
If these three parameters apply to your situation, expect to pay around £45-£200, depending on the removal method, accessibility and size of the stump. In some cases, tree stump removal prices could even reach £500. It all depends on the project and your ability to make good pricing decisions.
That’s why you need to read this article. We will cover everything you need for a smooth tree stump removal project. We will talk about the different stump removal methods, the factors that affect removal costs, and tips for hiring tree surgeons or removing a tree stump yourself.
So, shall we?
How much does it cost to remove a tree stump?
|Tree stump size||Removal cost (£)|
|10 inch/25.4 cm||45-54|
|15 inch/38.1 cm||67.5-79.5|
|20 inch/50.8 cm||90-108|
|25 inch/63.5 cm||112.5-135|
|30 inch/76.2 cm||135-162|
The prices on this table cover the removal of both the tree stump and the accompanying waste. However, some tree surgeons don’t include waste removal in their primary service. Some may also charge separately for it. That’s why you need to get a full breakdown of the quote.
If you have to handle waste removal by yourself, don’t fret. Just hire a skip for £50-£150, or use the waste as firewood or mulch.
What are the factors that affect tree stump removal costs?
Here are three reasons to read this section of our conversation. It will help you:
- Make better pricing decisions
- Negotiate better rates
- Reduce the risk of being taken advantage of.
So, without further ado, here are the factors that determine tree stump removal costs.
The size of the stump
A larger stump is physically bigger. It also has a larger root system. Therefore, it will take more time and effort to remove. So, expect to pay more.
In fact, tree surgeons charge based on the stump’s diameter. This usually adds up to about £4.50-£5.4 per inch. So, to know how much it will cost to remove a stump, do this. Multiply the size (in inches) by tree stump removal cost per inch. Here is a formula:
Tree stump removal cost (£/inches) = stump size × removal cost (£/inch)
Do note that you have to measure the stump’s base, not the top.
Accessibility of the stump
There are two factors to consider when it comes to accessibility. Firstly, how easy will it be to get equipment to the tree stump? Imagine a tree stump in a front garden and another in a back garden. In most cases, it is usually harder to move machinery into the back garden. Therefore, it will probably cost more to remove a tree stump there.
Secondly, is there enough clearance space around the tree stump? When removing tree stumps, tree surgeons often ask for a clearance of about 70cm–80cm. If the space is insufficient, the project could get much more complicated. This is because your tree surgeon must either work around or remove the obstacles.
This may seem like a minor issue if the obstacles are just plants or flowers. After all, they are easy to remove and re-plant. The real problem comes with obstacles like trees and structures (patios, buildings etc.). These are much harder and costlier to remove and reinstall.
The specie of the tree
Here is how tree stump removal costs vary between tree species.
- Specie determines the complexity of the tree’s root system.
- It takes more time and effort to remove tree stumps with complex root systems.
As a result, it will cost a lot more money to remove a stump of certain tree species. To put this in the simplest way possible, you will probably have to pay a higher fee to remove a hardwood tree stump. It could reach £500 or higher. For softwood tree stumps, the figures are pretty much the same as the tree stump removal costs in the table above.
Examples of hardwood are ash, maple, oak, beech, birch and cherry trees. Examples of softwood are spruce, redwood, cedar, pine, and larch trees.
The stump removal method
The average professional tree surgeon will use either excavation (aka complete removal) or stump grinding to remove a stump. The former is cheaper, but requires more time and labour. The latter, tree stump grinding, costs about 20% more, but it is less time- and labour-intensive. It is also the cheaper option for removing larger or multiple stumps.
By this, we mean the standard of living in your location and how far you are from the tree surgeon. In locations with a higher standard of living, such as the southeast or big cities, tree stump removal could cost an average of 20% more.
If the tree surgeon is coming from afar, you may also be charged higher rates. Some may even charge a minimum call-out fee.
The number of tree stumps
Depending on your negotiation skills, you could get better rates when removing multiple stumps.
The condition of the stump
A weaker stump will be easier and cheaper to remove. However, it could also be more complicated and expensive to remove. For example, imagine a decomposing and rotting tree stump. It is definitely weaker, but it is also probably infested by wood-boring insects, bacteria and honey fungus. Some fungal diseases are also in the mix.
These pests and diseases are dangerous to healthy nearby trees. So, your tree surgeon will have to be extremely careful to avoid spreading them. Therefore, they may want to charge a higher fee.
How do I remove a tree stump?
There are four main methods of removing tree stumps. We have already mentioned two. Now, it is time to discuss them, along with the others.
This method is basically excavation. The tree surgeon digs out the tree stump and roots. They can use manual (shovels and diggers) or mechanised tools (excavators). Any tool will work as long as it aids extensive root removal.
That is what separates this method from the others. Unlike them, complete stump removal also focuses on the tree’s root system. As a result, new plants have more root space, and there is less risk that tree roots will sprout regrowth. However, it requires a lot of time and effort. It also leaves a big crater behind.
Do note that this doesn’t mean you have to remove all the roots. Just a lot of it.
Tree stump grinding
The stump grinding process doesn’t take as much time and physical effort. It mainly involves using a stump grinder to grind (more like shred) the tree stump into woodchips. Then, severing the root network instead of removing it too. It is possible to use the stump grinder for this part too. Other options include a pruning saw or lopping shears.
Because the roots are still in the ground, there is technically less root space for new plants and a higher risk of regrowth. However, your tree surgeons will take measures to address these. They will remove exposed roots and then some. They might also add mould, chemicals or nitrogen-based fertiliser. These encourage the leftover root to decompose. However, they can also change the soil PH of the surrounding area.
As for the woodchips, they are easy to dispose of. You can also use them as mulch or leave them to rot. For stump grinding to work, your tree surgeons must grind the stump to below ground level. If the goal is to plant in the space, grinding at least 10com below ground level is even better.
This basically involves using chemicals to dissolve the tree stump. The most common chemicals used are nitric acid, sulphuric acid, triclopyr, or potassium nitrate. It is a slow method, but you can hasten it by first reducing the stump in size. It could also affect soil PH and pose a hazard to pets and kids.
To remove a tree stump using this method, drill holes into the stump and roots, fill with the chemical, and cover with waterproofing. After that, you just have to wait and check in occasionally, to remove bits and pieces of the stump or top the chemical.
Tree stump burning
There are two major issues with this method. Firstly, it is not the most effective approach for dealing with wet wood. Secondly, it may require a D7 exemption. However, it is still a valid way to remove tree stumps.
All you have to do is drill holes into the stump and roots, fill them with fuel, and start the fire. You can use kerosine, petrol or potassium nitrate as fuel. It helps if you first cut off a huge chunk of the stump and roots.
How do I find a qualified tree surgeon?
Reach out to the tree surgeon, who initially cut down the tree. If the tree removal was recent, you might be able to get cheaper rates. If that’s not possible, ask your friends, neighbours, colleagues and loved ones for recommendations. If this also doesn’t work, check local magazines or the internet for local tree surgeons.
Focus on candidates that have:
- Approval from professional bodies like the Arboricultural Association and the British Standard 3998
- Public liability insurance
- Certifications like the City and Guilds Phase II, HNC/HND/FDSc, NC(Arb)/ND(Arb), ISA or RFS
- Good references and reviews
- Video or picture evidence of past projects
Get written quotes from 3-5 of the best candidates. Then pick the best choice. As stated earlier, don’t forget to ask for a breakdown of the quote.
Can I remove tree stumps by myself?
Sure, as long as you know what you are doing or have access to the right equipment. DIY tree stump removal is a great way to save money. Labour costs make up a huge chunk of the total expenses for this type of project. Most tree surgeons charge around £50-£100 per hour to remove a stump.
So if you are up for it, remove the stump by yourself. Choose a removal method, then buy or hire the necessary equipment. You can hire a stump grinder for about £50-£100 per day. Just so you know, it is also okay to call it a stump grinding machine.
Don’t forget about protective gear too. Get gloves, goggles and face shields. All in all, be careful around heavy machinery and only rely on the DIY approach when dealing with a small tree stump. For bigger projects, like a stump diameter of more than 9 inches, get professional help.
So, here we are. Hopefully, we have answered your question and then some. So now, you don’t just know how much it costs to remove tree stumps. You also know how to find and talk to tree surgeons. And if you need further help, we are more than available to help.
Should I choose stump grinding over complete removal?
There is no easy answer to this. It depends on the job and your intentions for the site. As a rule of thumb, choose stump grinding for big projects and complete removal for smaller projects, or if you intend to plant there immediately. However, you can also ask an experienced tree surgeon for recommendations.
How can I save money when removing a tree stump?
Here are three ways to do this:
- Remove the stump yourself: Only do this when dealing with a small stump. Leave larger stumps for the professionals.
- Do part of the job yourself: You can prepare the site or dispose of waste after. It will save both equipment and labour costs.
- Choose the right setup removal method: Use stump grinding for big projects and complete removal for small projects.
Why do I even have to remove a tree stump?
Here are four reasons why:
- If it is ruining the aesthetics of your garden
- If it is an inconvenience or safety hazard
- If the root is causing structural damage
- to get rid of an infected tree stump, thus protecting the rest of the garden
How can I use a tree stump creatively?
If you don’t want to remove a stump or even if you want to remove it, here are some creative ways to use it.
- Hollow planter
- Furniture, chairs, tables and stools
- Fairy Garden
- Stump Lamp