Four Tips For A Successful Stump Grinding Endeavor

If you have an old stump in your yard, you are probably tired of it posing a tripping hazard and making your yard look a mess. Grinding the stump down is often the easiest and fastest solution. You can rent stump grinders from most outdoor rental companies and then do the work yourself. You will, however, want to adhere to the following tips for a successful stump grinding endeavor.

1. Cut the stump down first.

You don't want to try grinding a stump that's sticking two feet up into the air. Not only will it be hard to keep the stump grinder balanced, but this practice is also unsafe, as the grinder could slide off the stump and injure someone. Use a chainsaw to cut the stump down so that it's only about 6 inches above the ground. Make sure it's reasonably level before you start, too.

2. Protect yourself.

Never attempt to grind down a tree stump until you're dressed in the right protective gear. You need goggles to protect your eyes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to protect your arms and legs, and earplugs to protect your hearing. (Stump grinders are really loud!) If you have someone helping you, make sure they are also protected, even if they plan on standing a few feet away. Chunks of the stump can fly pretty far and pretty fast.

3. Go gradually.

There may be a temptation to push down on the grinder and try to drive it into the wood. But this approach will do more harm than good, damaging the blades and making it tough to remove the rest of the stump. Grinding down a stump may take 30 to 60 minutes, and it's important to go slow. Let the grinder take off one layer of wood at a time. 

4. Don't forget the roots.

If there are roots above the surface of the soil, make sure you grind these away, too. Like the actual stump, they can present a tripping hazard, and if they are still present, the stump is more likely to send up shoots in an effort to regrow.

Obviously, stump grinding is not easy and can be quite a challenge if you're not physically capable. If you run into any issues or think this may be too demanding of a task for you to tackle on your own, then consider hiring a stump grinding service instead. There are many great ones out there!