What You Must Know Before Purchasing a Stump Grinder
Permanent tree removal requires a stump grinder. If you leave a stump, you’ll eventually have a tree again. When you need to purchase a stump grinder for your business or farm, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Why do I need a stump grinder?
You need a stump grinder because no one can perfectly cut a tree down to ground level. The nature of the stump means that supporting roots and grounded arbor anchors will forever be left behind. That is why the stump grinder exists. Grinders specifically tear apart that which normally cannot be removed by your typical tree surgeon.
Stump grinder teeth are designed to rotate and cut through the wood left from a tree’s removal. You will not need this if you are simply grooming a tree or cutting away nuisance growth. A stump grind means permanent removal. If there is a tree on your property that you want removed, two steps are required. First, you cut the tree down, and then you grind out the stump. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with a new tree in a few years.
When you first purchase a stump grinder, your eye will be drawn to the teeth. A good unit’s teeth will be sharp enough to grind through bark and the wood beneath, but sturdy enough to last. This leads us into a look at what constitutes high grade grinder teeth. A key point to remember is stump grinder teeth are only as good as the stump grinder wheel they’re mounted on.
Stump grinder wheels are almost universal in application. They allow you to cut farther into a stump than conventional methods. They operate with one set of teeth engaged at a time. Then, the rest of the teeth take turns in each pass through a stump. This helps in terms of regaining RPM, which helps maintain power and momentum.
What is the difference in grinders?
At their most basic level, stump grinders remove tree stumps with a spinning blade applied to the offending area. But there are many different options when it comes to these machines. There are even stump grinders that you can attach to a truck. Here are the main types of stump grinders you may consider depending on your existing equipment and specific needs.
Handlebar grinders are small grinders that anyone could load into their work van and roll out to a job site. You might have seen these before at the bigger box stores for hourly rentals. The ones offered in these locations tend to be lower efficiency grinders. That’s because they are designed for casual use, such as removing a single tree in a suburban lawn.
Riding grinders [TA5] are stump grinders that resemble riding lawnmowers or tractors. While that might sound comfortable, this stump grinder’s usage is dependent on the terrain and ability to navigate between stumps. However, riding grinders are not the most ideal for hard-to-reach tree stumps such as those on hillsides or elevated slopes.
Skid steer grinders [TA6] are what they sound like. These grinders are hooked up like your typical skid steer attachment. There are many variations to these builds, but they seem to be gaining popularity among the stump grinder community. A lot of that has to do with the versatility of being able to attach the grinder to an existing piece of skid steer equipment.
Some may think the term “stump remover” is interchangeable with “stump grinder.” However, stump removers [TA7] are different because they are augers. An auger bores down and shreds the organic tree matter to minimize what’s left in the soil. Sometimes, you don’t want to leave dead material in the ground, even as mulch. Any dead material can rot and compromise areas where roots once grew. This means if you have a dead giant root under a concrete platform, the soil underneath the concrete can become loose and break down.
What types of stumps can you grind?
The older a stump, the harder it is to remove. That doesn’t mean that a stump grinder cannot remove deeply entrenched roots. However, clearing deep-rooted debris requires a degree of planning from would-be arborists. Most DIY hobbyists get into trouble because they do not plan for the accidental damage that can arise from stump grinding with lower end grinders.
If you plan well, professionally conduct the task, and know the lay of the land, you can effectively grind almost any stump. The problem is less about what kinds of stumps can be grinded out vs. the environment in which your tree stump dwells.
Are there tips for removing stumps?
When you grind out a stump, always make sure to wear proper protective equipment (PPE)[TA9] . Always supervise first-time users at a work site. While there is a DIY mentality when it comes to using stump grinders, it is best to keep the tools with the professionals. Most people reading this will find themselves in that category.
Always think about your setting. One tricky situation is a stump that is surrounded by concrete. You are more likely to find this in commercial and urban settings. If you must remove a stump in that situation, it may be necessary (and costly) to work around the concrete so you can access the complete stump and root system. The same goes for older trees with stumps that had buildings and other structures developed around them.
While it is one thing to remove a tree stump in a rural setting, other complications can arise in an urban or suburban environment. For instance, it may be impossible to pinpoint where tree roots and utility lines intersect. The last thing you want to do is to allow a stump grinder to chew up a telephone line. Always get utility lines clearly marked before you try to remove stumps and roots.
Why do I need to remove tree stumps?
As with most things regarding your property, it is ultimately your decision about how to move forward. If you have read this far, you are probably committed to clearing out stumps to some extent. A clean landscape makes land management easier, but only if it’s done right[TA11] .
Leaving unsightly stumps behind creates another issue. Mature trees have spent ages drawing in resources from the surrounding soil. When you remove the bulk of a tree, the stump forms suckering growth around its base to try to regain those resources. So, if you have a garden or crops near a tree stump, the new growth can pull water and nutrients away from the desired crops.
Over time, this issue will only keep compounding. Stump grinding with a proper stump grinder means that tree stump will not resprout and use up valuable resources.
What about alternatives to stump grinding? Do they work?
Alternatives to stump grinding are few and far between. Chemical stump removers are one example. They tend to occupy the bottom shelves of your local tree nursery and hardware store. But it’s not a set it and forget it process. You must have a drill capable of boring into a tree stump. Then, you must dilute the chemicals and fill each drill hole in a precise manner. After that, you sit and wait to see if it worked.
If that’s not enough, the toxic nature of these substances means keeping children and animals away from the stump while the chemicals soak through the drill points. Doesn’t that sound exhausting? Stick with a stump grinder, and get it done right the first time.
Stump grinders as an environmental service
When used wisely, stump grinders can solve issues beyond the visually aesthetic. Removing tree stumps helps maintain the proper environmental balance on your property. Plus, it helps negate root growth near your construction foundations and other long-term buildings.
Removing stumps can prevent people from tripping or accidentally driving over them. Old stumps can also harbor unwanted insects like carpenter ants and termites, so it’s good to get them out of the ground as soon as possible.
What about brush chipper knives?
Brush chipper knives are the blades used to help cut out tree stumps, roots, and other plant matter. While a stump grinder destroys a stump, brush chipper knives hack up the remaining organic materials into smaller chips. These chips can then be used for mulch or other applications.
The best chipper knives are made from high-grade steel with a touch of another metal for hardness. CEI Supply carries several varieties of Simonds and DK2 Series brush chipper knives. The Simonds line uses a modified A8 chipper knife steel like their sawmill and pulp mill chippers.
How CEI Supply can meet your stump grinder needs
CEI Supply has been in the stump grinder business since 1978. Carrying brands ranging from Leonardi to Vermeer to Greenteeth, CEI has everything the professional stump grinder needs. Tree stump removal can be a complicated task. It takes an ally in the business to help you sort through what you do and don’t need.
Once you have your stump grinder, you’ll need supplies to maintain it. Bolts, pockets, knives, wheels, and upgrade kits are all available now at CEI Supply. Can your local hardware store or nursery satisfy your needs like that?
As professionals in a wild and varied environment, we must take our arborist job seriously. You are not some DIY enthusiast. The people who depend on CEI Supply are hard working professionals who routinely remove old tree growth to improve their land. So, if you are a farmer or construction worker needing to remove stumps, CEI can meet both your immediate and future stump grinding needs.
You have many choices when selecting a stump grinder. If you want to learn more about what we discussed and how it applies to you, contact CEI Supply today.
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