After cutting down a tree, you should decide whether to grind the stump or use it as a decorative feature in your yard. If you choose to grind the stump, ensure you find the best tree-grinding professionals near you.

The national average cost for grinding a tree stump is $240 per stump. The cost per inch of diameter is $26.60. Some professionals charge by the hour, with the average being $250 per hour.

If you are planning to grind your stump, it is critical to have an idea of the costs per tree size. The following table highlights the cost of stump grinding depending on the size of the tree.

Small stump6 inch$95$275
Medium stump12 inch$275$350
Large stump25 inch$380$430
National average10 inch$240$376
Per hour1 hrs$200$400

In case of additional charges, the stump removal service should tell you in advance. For instance, some professionals charge extra costs for large roots and for grinding below the ground.

Stump Grinding cost

Cost factors to consider

Various factors contribute to the cost of stump grinding. I have ordered them from most impactful to least impactful based on how I used to price stump grinding myself.


This is a big one. If you have a stump in your front yard that has easy and clean access with no obstacles and breakables nearby, it’s going to be a quick and easy job. If the stump is in a tight spot in your backyard with no rear access, the price just doubled.


The cost of labor goes hand in hand with a few of the other factors, but in general, if the job is going to take two workers instead of one, and it takes them longer the finish the job because of access and debris removal, this adds to the cost.

Stump type

The type of stump being removed is critical to cost. Palm tree stumps are as soft as butter and take no time at all. A dead eucalyptus on the other hand is hard as stone and will take 400% longer to complete. This adds to the cost.


No secret here, the more stumps you have, the longer it is going to take to do the job, and the more expensive the grinding job will be.

Completion time

Like labor, this goes hand in hand with other factors on the list. If the access is poor, the stump is hard and there is a lot of debris for example, then the job will cost more.

Debris removal

It is amazing how much debris is created when grinding a large stump. The stump grinding machines turn wood into fluffy shavings that occupy 3 times the space of the actual stump. It is laborious to remove this debris.

Pro tip: Offer to remove the debris yourself for a better price.


Stump grinding machines weigh a ton (literally) so small obstacles like one or two stairs require ramps and a bit more time to get the machine into place.

Root removal

Stump grinding involves the removal of the core of the stump but not the entire root ball. If your tree has surface roots that require removal, or you need all roots gone to excavate, for example, this costs extra.

Time of year

Time of year can determine how much stump grinding costs. Catch us tree services in the winter, and you are far more likely to get a better price. Why? Because there is little work on and tree services bid low to win the work.

Underground hazards

If the stump is hard up against a water or gas pipe, the time and care taken to remove the stump are far greater than with a regular job. Obstacles like these can add to the price.

Charged per stump or inch?

The charges differ from one stump grinding service to another. Some will charge about $95 per stump, but this cost may fluctuate depending on the stump’s size. Other professionals charge per inch.

For this reason, you should find out how the professionals charge the grinding job and select the most reasonable option for you. You can do your calculations to determine which option will be cheaper.

DIY vs. Professional stump grinding cost

You can get a professional tree removal service to grind your stump, or you can hire a stump grinding machine and do it yourself. It really depends on the number of stumps you have.

If it is something small, it’s probably worth getting someone in. The amount you will save doing it yourself is minimal. Anything over $500 for a pro service might be worth hiring the machine and doing it yourself.

Cost to Hire a stump grinder & DIY

If you decide to DIY the stump grinding project, you will need to hire a stump grinder from Home Depot or another rental service. Small grinders go for $170 for 4 hours, while large ones go for $240 for four hours. The bigger your stump, the more you stand to save by going the DIY route.

Palm stump removal cost

Palm tree stumps are a lot cheaper to remove than regular stumps. The reason is they are a watery soft timber that is easily removed with the right machinery.

The average cost of palm stump removal ranges from $75 to $425. The final price is determined by the size of the stump and ease of access.

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Tips on hiring a stump grinding service

Since there are many stump grinding services, it is essential to determine the best one depending on availability and cost. The following tips will help you hire the best stump grinding services near you.

Search the internet

Another way to find reliable local contractors is by searching on the web. Many companies are now online-based, and you can easily find a local stump grinding expert if you employ the right search techniques. For instance, you should type “local stump grinding service company + your town.” You will get several results, but you should go through them one by one to check their ratings and reviews as well as their costs before selecting one.

Use referrals

Referrals tend to be very reliable because you will get references from people you know. If your neighbor, friend, family member, or even colleague hired a stump grinding service recently, request them to give you a recommendation. This is a faster way to find reliable services if you do not want to search them online.

How to save money on stump grinding

There are so many ways you can save on stump grinding. These include:

Hire during winter

If you can wait until winter to remove a tree stump, you can save so much on the costs. This is because winter is usually a dormant season, and most people do not hire tree services. More so, most companies are usually closed. So the available companies lower their prices to attract the few available customers.

Remove debris yourself

After grinding the stump, you must remove the debris, use it as mulch, or shovel it back into the hole. The stump grinding service may remove the debris at a fee, but you can cut the costs by doing the job yourself.

Do the prep work

Prep work involves removing stones, rocks, and equipment from the job site. Professionals can do the job for you, but you will pay extra costs. To save on the total costs, it is better to do the prep work yourself so that the experts remain with stump grinding alone.

Look for cheaper companies

When looking for companies online, try to skip page one of Google because these companies tend to charge high costs. Since they pay a lot of money on marketing to appear on page one, they must get back the money they spend and a profit. Page two or three of Google will have cheaper companies who may even offer you better services.

Cost to remove a stump without a grinder

There are other ways to remove a stump without a grinder. Below are some examples and their costs.

By hand

Removing a tree stump by hand costs approximately $200 because you will need a few materials. The materials you will need include a digging bar at $30 to $50, bow saws costing about $10 to $30, mattocks costing $15 to $50, and an ax costing between $30 to $40.


If you decide to use chemicals, expect to use about $ 50 and $200 to buy the chemical products and a chainsaw. You can spend about $5 to $10 on the chemicals and $50 to $300 for a chainsaw. Electric chainsaws and usually cheaper than gas-powered ones.


Burning is also a cost-effective method to remove a tree stump, but it is not efficient if you live in an urban setting. Some locations have banned kerosene use, so make sure you find out whether it is acceptable to burn and use kerosene in your locality first.

The cost of kerosene is about $3 per gallon. You will also need an ax and shovel to dig out the remains at the price of approximately $10 to $50. So you can spend about $30 to $100 if you remove a stump by burning.

Difference between stump grinding & removal

Stump grinding involves shaving the tree using a stump grinder until it is completely gone. A stump grinder is used to cut into the tree, and the small chips left can either be discarded, used as mulch or shoved back into the hole left after grinding. Most homeowners prefer this process because it is more manageable, and does not involve removing every tree root. It is also cheaper than stump removal.

On the other hand, stump removal involves excavating the stump completely, which means you will need a Bobcat and other heavy-duty equipment for the excavation. Stump removal entails removing the stump and all the roots connected to it. This means you will churn a large part of the soil in your yard. Homeowners who care about their yard’s aesthetics will not pursue stump removal because it turns the yard upside down.


This depends on the initial agreement and what you need. Most stump grinding professionals will give you a price for the ground only. They can then include the debris removal cost upon your request.

The debris removal cost is usually not included in the overall price because most homeowners prefer removing the debris on their own. Other people decide to leave the debris in the hole and add topsoil or even plant another tree.

Stump grinding is a risky process that requires professionals or DIYers that know how to handle a stump grinder. The price for professional stump grinding is high because it includes transporting the machines and professionals to the job site. The cost also includes preparing the area before the grinding process. Prepping the area may be complicated, especially if there are sewer or water lines underground.

Typically, a stump grinder can go up to four to six inches below the ground. In case the tree is large, and deeper grinding equipment is needed, the homeowner will have to pay some extra costs because grinders are charged depending on their size.

Stump grinding takes about 15 minutes to two hours for one stump, depending on the stump’s size and location. Grinding many stumps can take several hours or days if the stumps are large and thick.

This depends on what you want. If the stump is useless to you, you can either grind it or remove it through chemicals, burning, or digging it out. Stumps can be used as garden features such as benches, tables, sculptures, children’s playhouses, and birdbaths. So, you should decide whether to grind or remove the stump or turn it into a decorative feature in your yard.

Stump grinding is not complicated. A stump grinding machine has powerful rotating blades that cut into the wood as it turns. It cuts the wood into small pieces and reduces it into tiny pieces that are easier to dispose of. 

You prepare your stump for grinding by removing all rocks, stones, and other debris around the worksite. Stones and rocks are dangerous as they may damage the grinder’s blade.

Also, you should ensure the debris will not damage nearby structures. If there are sewer lines or water lines nearby, you should ensure you do not damage them as you may incur high repair costs.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.