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While a tree stump could make a nice stage for a landscaping arrangement, it can also harbor pests and fungus. Stumps can be an eyesore and a tripping hazard as well. But should you attempt DIY tree stump removal, or is it a job better left to the pros?
Milone’s Tree and Lawn Solutions provides tree stump removal Werribee residents can trust. In this post, we want to offer our expert opinion about the risks involved in several of the most common tree removal methods.
Stumps are sometimes able to regeneratre into new tree, depending on whether all the roots have been removed. – Wikipedia
What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of a Tree Stump?
Often, homeowners consider DIY stump removal because they want the job done as quickly as possible. They are worried that it will take too long to get on an arborist’s schedule, so they start searching the internet for methods on how to rot a tree stump fast. But those methods often involve dangerous chemicals or other materials that could damage the rest of your lawn.
And if you are worried about the expense, that’s exactly why we put together this post on Tree Stump Removal & Grinding Costs. When you factor in equipment rental, do-it-yourself stump removal can often be more expensive than professional work!
Can I Remove a Stump Myself?
Not all stumps are dangerous to remove. If you understand how to remove small tree stumps, you can usually take care of a stump that is less than 15 cm without any special tree stump removal machine.
When you are dealing with a small, young tree without very extensive roots, it’s just a matter of digging the stump up with a shovel, however be prepared for a long and exhausting dig, and a side-dig to get all the roots out, otherwise it will grow again. Medium to large stumps require more extensive treatment though, so next we’ll look at the risks you need to keep in mind if you are going to attempt DIY stump removal.
Another thing to consider is whether you may have native trees if you own a rural property. In which case, you’ll need to check whether you may need Exemptions from requiring a planning permit to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation. You can read more about it here.
The Dangers of Various Tree Stump Removal Methods
The three most common forms of home stump removal are burning, chemical treatment, and grinding. Each has its own set of dangers to consider.
Burning the Stump
Burning a tree stump is a less-than-ideal method. There’s a reason that professionals don’t typically offer stump burning. A lot of reasons, actually…
- Time-intensive. For starters, it takes a lot more time than you would think. Even a small tree stump could take an entire day to burn down. And since you have a live fire burning in your yard, that is an entire day in which someone has to be tending the process. You can’t leave a fire unattended.
- Potentially illegal. Burning stumps might be prohibited by your state, city or even neighborhood governance. Don’t attempt this method unless you first check local regulations, or you could be facing a stiff fine.
- Fire hazard. Never attempt to burn a stump if it is anywhere near your house, shed or other property. And never leave a live fire unattended. The risk of the fire spreading out of control is also high in dry conditions, especially if there is wind.
- Doesn’t work with damp stumps. Your attempt to burn a stump will meet with a lot of resistance if the stump is damp. It won’t work as well on recently felled trees because the stump hasn’t had time to dry out yet. Likewise, don’t try to burn a stump shortly after a rain.
Residents are reminded that they cannot burn off offensive materials, including chemicals, rubber, plastic, petrol, oil, paint, treated timber, furniture or mattresses – goldenplains.vic.gov.au
Stump Killer Chemicals
There are a number of different herbicides and chemical treatments, collectively referred to as “stump killers”, that can be used to speed up the rotting process of a stump. They include potassium nitrate, sodium hydroxide, magnesium sulfate and triclopyr butoxyethanol ester—to name a few.
Working with chemicals always assumes a certain amount of risk. Here are some of the dangers and problems with stump killers:
- Threat to ecosystems. Not all stump killing chemicals pose an immediate danger to the environment, but many do. If you aren’t sure what you’re working with, you could be risking the health of wildlife and the safety of water supplies. Triclopyr, for example, can remain in the soil for years after application and has been rated as “moderate to high toxicity” to marine animals.
- Threat to pets and children. Most stump killer safety instructions warn you to cover the stump after application and not let children and pets near. But children are naturally curious—and animals love to investigate. Plus, even if you manage to keep your kids and pets away while the stump is being treated, there is still plenty of opportunity for bandicoots, possums and other wildlife to poison themselves.
- Slow process. Beyond the inherent risks, stump killing chemicals also take a while to actually work. Usually, the process is 6 to 8 weeks. But for especially large stumps, it could take as long as a year. Often, the stump killer simply breaks the stump down enough that it can be more easily pulled up. So you would still need to use some sort of machinery or manual labour to finish the job.
Stump grinding is usually the go-to method for professionals. Unlike burning or chemical treatment, grinding the stump is a relatively straightforward, quick process. Done properly with appropriate tree stump removal machinery, an experienced pro can grind a stump in about 15 minutes to 2 hours—depending on the size and other factors.
As a DIY choice, there are still important safety issues you need to be aware of:
- Injury to self. While a chainsaw could be used for the job, an actual stump grinder would be much more efficient and safe. Still, without proper training and personal protection equipment, the risk of maiming yourself is real. Always be sure to clear the area of rocks and other hazards that might cause you to slip, and take extra care if grinding a stump on a slope or other difficult terrain.
- Damage to property. Operating a stump grinder can send debris flying. In addition to bits of the stump, you might also throw rocks or other natural elements that might be on or near the stump.
- Underground hazards. Water, sewer, internet and gas lines can all be buried in your yard. Usually, they are laid in places that aren’t ripe with tree life. However, if your home is older and trees sprouted up in places unaccounted for by the original builders, you never know what you might encounter. Grinding a stump and digging up its roots could severely damage your utilities (and pose a safety risk) if you aren’t careful.
Dangerous Stump Removal Methods to Absolutely Avoid
All that being said, there are some methods of stump removal that you shouldn’t even consider. You might find people on forums recommending these, but they are so hazardous it would be negligent of us to not warn you about them.
Some people kill stumps by dosing them with large amounts of bleach. While this certainly will cause the stump to decay faster, it is very dangerous for surrounding plant life. All that bleach has to go somewhere. It’s going to kill the nutrients in the soil and destroy grass that it comes into contact with.
Bleach is bad for the environment as well. Imagine if every home in your neighborhood killed just one stump with bleach. All those chemicals have to run-off somewhere, and the combined amount could really add up.
Common household bleach is typically a mixture of chemicals, with the main (and most problematic) ingredient being sodium hypochlorite. These uses are still common today, with one main caveat — we now know just how detrimental this product can be to us and to the environment. – Planet Ark.
If you absolutely must burn a stump (which we don’t recommend anyway), never use gasoline or diesel fuel. In addition to being toxic for local flora, they are also highly combustible. Improper use could result in an explosion or uncontrolled fire. Furthermore, Petrol is meant to burn quickly, which isn’t conducive to the slow burn required to remove stumps.
Many local councils prohibit burning off using chemicals, petrol & diesel fuels.
Tree stumps can be difficult to remove from the ground. They can be dug out, pulled out by a chain, shredded with a stump grinder or burnt. A professional is strongly advised as a strump grinder is the safest and most effective method. – Wikipedia
Professional Tree Stump Removal Werribee, Melbourne and Geelong Can Trust
We’ve shown you a lot of the reasons that you don’t want to attempt stump removal on your own. But beyond the safety issues, why is it in your best interest to hire a professional stump remover?
A professional gets the job done right. DIY work always comes with that gnawing feeling that you might not quite know what you’re doing. But when you hire a professional, you are investing in skilled tradies with the experience and training to provide the best stump grinding possible, not to mention insurance if anything happens to your or your property.
A professional could actually cost you less. Odds are that you’ll need to rent stump grinding machinery, which will run you about $150 – $300 per day. If the job ends up taking longer than expected, you might have to pay more than you planned for. Likely, you would have been better off just paying a pro in the first place.
A professional leaves your yard in good condition. Stump removal leaves a hole in your lawn. For big stumps, this isn’t just an eyesore—it’s a hazard. The good news is that Milone’s Tree & Lawn Solutions will fill out the hole and level it out.
Get in Touch with Milone’s Today!
Now you know the risks of DIY stump removal and you know the reasons to hire a pro. If you’re ready to make the safe decision, give us a call today on 0426 204 514 or use our easy online quote request form. We can’t wait to make your lawn stump-free!