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How do you remove stumps from a woodland path or track? ~ by Angus

How do you remove stumps from a woodland path or track?

If you have cleared a new track, there are often stumps that you want to remove.  In many situations these can be left to rot away but the process takes many years and if it is a heavily used path these represent a trip hazard and need grinding down.  There are some good commercial services offering stump grinding contracting such as Stuart Gray's (stumpbusters-thamesvalley.co.uk) which will work out reasonably - particularly if you have a full day's work for him.  Other solutions involve hiring a stump grinder or buying one.

Buying a conventional stump grinder

The cost of buying a conventional stump grinder from a company like Danequip in Hampshire works out at about £3,250 plus vat for their smaller model (13pp) but it's still pretty powerful - I saw their grinder at the APF show in Cannock Chase.  It has cutting teeth that can be individually adjusted or replaced and is built in the UK - at least the components are put together here though most of these parts are made abroad.

Stump grinding, trenching and brushcutting all in one

Another option is Martin Hynard's stump grinder that is powered by a standard powerhead - a Stihl TS760 or a Husqvarna 312-OXP.  This unusual looking device is available at alpinemagnum.co.uk and can grind down a 12 inch diameter stump in under ten minutes.  It is very light so can be transported in a pick up and will fit into the back of an estate car.  This stump grinder itself weighs only 40kg and costs about £4,000 with the vat and includes the powerhead.  It works by using chainsaw-style teeth on a cutter wheel which turns at 4,800 revs per minute.  Sharpening the teeth can be done on the machine with an angle grinder or separately on a work bench.

Easy to manoeuvre when your stumps are hard to get to

Compared to other stump grinders the Alpine Magnum model is particularly good at getting to the stump - it can go down steep slopes and be easily moved down stairs but it can also do the business (stump grinding) on a steep slope and doesn't require a qualified operator to use it.  This grinder can also be used for trenching which is surprisingly often needed for putting in pipes/wires or putting in rabbit-proof fencing.  This should ideally be done when the teeth are a bit dulled and before sharpening or replacing.  Some people also use these for brushcutting brambles because it cuts below the ground taking out roots and gives a result similar to a mulcher. Martin says, "my background is from treework and I didn't envisage myself selling forestry equipment but I got into supplying because I couldn't find a downside with this particular stump grinder."

Posted in: Practical Guides ~ On: 23 October, 2010

6 comments so far

Mike Lish
6 May, 2014

I recently cleared stumps from a woodland for a partially blind man who was organising a woodland caravan site for himself and his wife just outside Fakenham,Norfolk. I cleared a few dozen stumps in one morning. I don’t think that can be achieved with a small two wheeled stump grinder. I have been a stump grinding specialist, performing this activity professionally for the last 15 years. So often, I have been called upon to finish off a stump grinding job taken on by a person with a small stump grinder who “had bitten off far more than he could chew”. Hire a grinder for the odd small stump (certainly no bigger than 12″ {30cm} diameter.)If you have a number of larger stumps, you need to be a very fit person indeed. Further, a hired stump grinder usually does not have sharp carbide cutter teeth which is essential to reduce what will otherwise be a “back breaking job” with blunt cutter teeth. Still further, stump grinders are hazardous machines. I am not aware of free lessons being offered by tool hire centres for their safe operation. I heard of a story of a small hired stump grinder flipping back on its operator and severing his arm. These machines should not — in my opinion — be generally available to the public. H&S requires certification to operate a chain saw, and so it should be required for stump grinders. I hold NPTC certification for stump grinder operation. It contains three units:

1. Prepare the stump grinder for operation
2. operating the stump grinder
3. maintaining the stump grinder

Any fool can hire and attempt to grind out a tree stump. To first achieve the above three steps and perform stump grinding in a safe efficient manner, is something entirely different. It doesn’t end with just gaining certification either. I carry C.A.T. scanning, and metal detection scanners because of the very real hazard of buried or indeed ingrown metal obstructions e.g. fence post,horse shoe,bottles,etc.etc. which may have caused the stump grinder to flip backwards onto that poor chap identified earlier. Risk assessment plays a major role and is a genuine necessary prerequisite before attempting to grind away a tree stump. If you are unsure of your own abilities in this regard, hire a professional stump grinder. I cover all of East Anglia and will be pleased to explain any further questions you may have, or you can visit http://www.blitz-a-stump.co.uk to learn more about stump grinding.

Simon Fraser
28 July, 2013

This thread popping up again reminds me of a 1600cc Honda driven stump grinder I met in Northern Tools’s catalogue recently, £ 1,500.00 ( + VAT )

http://www.northerntooluk.com/forestry-and-logging/log-splitters/1600Cc-Portable-Compact-Petrol-Stump-Grinder-296026E.html?fhsearchterm=stump+grinder&search=SEARCH

They’re also worth a look for timber tongs etc

Simon Ellis
27 July, 2013

Hi everybody! I have 3 stump grinders! We are in East Wiltshire if anybody needs help.

Please see: http://www.wiltshiretreesurgeon.com and click on the video to see them in action.

We only cover East Wiltshire but my mate Chris Palmer at CP Forestry has a large tracked Predator grinder and would cover Wiltshire and possibly a bit further for big jobs.

All the best, Simon

Bill
20 August, 2011

Indeed a very nice post.
I do lot of net-surfing for finding the key information on trees and forests.
I just came across your blog and have subscribed with the wish that you will be posting other posts like this over the coming days. Thank You.

Simon Fraser
29 October, 2010

Also on show at the APF get together was a product that should get a mention here with regards to stump removal as well as be considered for more general use.
If stumps are not too large or rotten then it’s often easier to dig around & chop or cut them out.
A chainsaw would assist this work but as soon as it’s introduced to the ‘ground’ the chain requires extensive sharpening & thus not a practicable action.
Oregon’s new Power Sharp would appear to be the solution to this & other potentially ‘dirty’ chainsaw usage. Also chainsaw use by less professional operators. The first supplier I found in a search was:

http://www.chainsdirect.co.uk/Products/1369_2085-oregon-powersharp.aspx

Watch the video ( another on Oregon’s site ) I was most impressed with what I saw at the show.
In my mind the £55.00 for the kit would get a lot of stumps / roots cut out.

Michael Filsell
24 October, 2010

Hi, A very good firm that covers sussex is me! We have a large Rayco stump grinder available for individual stumps or for a day rate. Please contact for any assistance or enquiries, Mike on 07885 595719.

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