How Much Does Stump Grinding Cost?

Matt Marandola
Written by Matt Marandola
Updated January 24, 2022
tree stump grinder machine
Photo: Susan Sheldon / EyeEm / Getty Images

The typical stump grinding cost is around $320

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While the tree stump in your front yard makes for a nice place to sit, it may be posing a risk to the rest of the house. Stump grinding is a quick and efficient way to remove the rest of the tree’s trunk without breaking the bank. Depending on the size of the tree and where it’s located, stump grinding will cost $170 to $500.

How Much Does Stump Grinding Cost by Diameter?

Stump grinding rates are based on the circumference of the tree trunk, essentially how big around the tree stump is. These measurements use diameter inches rather than square feet or linear inches. On average, stump grinding prices sit between $2 to $5 per diameter inch.

While your stump may be small in circumference, most contractors will charge a minimum fee of $100 for grinding services.

How Much Does Stump Grinding Cost Near You?

Tree stump grinding prices tend to stay the same around the country, with a few exceptions. Places like California might see much higher costs because local trees tend to be tall and wide. In comparison, a place like Missouri might have small to moderate trees.

The average cost for tree stump grinding in these states are:

  • Mississippi: $386

  • Arizona: $302

  • Massachusetts: $394

  • Maryland: $345

  • Idaho: $378

  • Missouri: $164

  • California: $487

Stump Grinding Cost Breakdown

Wondering how much it’ll cost to grind a stump? It’s a straightforward process where you’re going to pay for three things. The cost to grind the stump, the permits needed to remove the stump, and the cost to put sod over the remaining pieces.

Here’s a breakdown of tree stump grinding costs:

Labor

Most tree removal services can get the stump ground down in about an hour by using a grinder. Bigger trees might take a little longer, but the price won’t fluctuate much. You’ll pay around $150 in labor total.

Keep in mind that root removal is often not included in this price. If you need that service, the cost will be around $150 extra.

If you’re in a rural area or there isn’t a tree removal service near you, you might need to pay mileage for the nearest service to come out to you. Mileage typically costs around $0.55 per mile.

Permits

You’re likely going to need permits to remove the stump. The reason being is that there could be utility lines underneath the stump that require extra safety measures to ensure they aren’t hit. Permits cost around $100 to $500, depending on your city.

Sodding

Once the tree is gone, you’ll want to sod the ground where the stump was. If not, it may leave an unsightly dead patch of grass behind. Sodding costs around $1 to $2 per square foot.

How Much Does Stump Grinding Cost to Do Yourself?

If you’re used to heavy machinery and feel confident in your abilities, you can rent a stump grinder for around $190. Since grinding only takes about a day, you can usually pick up the grinder first thing in the morning and return it by the evening. That way, you only pay for one day of renting.

But if your stump is near a utility line or even close to your home, you’ll want to leave this to the professionals. When you hire a local stump remover, they’ll know the codes ahead of time. That way, you don’t need to worry about the legality of the stump removal process.

How Much Does Stump Grinding Cost Versus Stump Removal?

There are very few instances where you’ll want to choose stump grinding over tree stump removal. The only time you’ll want to choose stump grinding is when it’s not possible to remove the complete stump from the property.

Tree stump removal costs $100 to $200 more than stump grinding. Leaving roots untouched can ruin your pavers, hurt the foundation of your home, and destroy your lawn.

How Much Does Stump Grinding Cost by Tree Type?

Certain tree types tend to have more stubborn and spread-out roots, which may cause the tree stump grinding cost to rise. Others may have tougher bark that makes cutting through it harder. In these instances, you may need to pay an extra $50 to $100, depending on the difficulty of the tree.

Trees that may require more time to cut through include:

  • Aspen

  • Birch

  • Elm

  • Hickory

  • Oaks

How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Stump Without Grinding It?

If you want to save yourself some money, there are a few methods you can try. These methods do take time, though, so you’ll need to weigh if it’s worth it for you or not.

Here are some tree stump removal options and the costs for each:

Burning

Burning a tree stump costs between $6 to $100. Most of this cost will come from purchasing potassium nitrate. 

Call your local fire department first to ensure there aren’t any fire bans in your area and talk to them about a plan to safely put out the fire when needed. Fires can take several hours to get through the stump, so you should pop up a chair and prepare for a slow burn.

Chemical Rotting

Chemical rotting requires the use of potassium nitrate as well, but without the burning part. Instead, the wood will rot over a few weeks until you can easily pull it apart. Chemical rotting costs the same as burning at $6 to $100.

Shovel and Ax

For those who want to take out the stump the old-fashioned way, you can opt to use an ax and shovel. You can rent or purchase these items for around $50 to $200. This ensures that the entire stump and roots get pulled up.

FAQs About Stump Grinding

Why should you grind down a tree?

Grinding down a tree helps reduce the risk of foundation damage and pests and even helps your home’s curb appeal. Stumps can also be a safety hazard. If grass grows above the stump and someone else mows your yard, they may be in for a rude awakening when they accidentally hit the stump.

Do tree removals include stump removal?

Tree removal costs typically don’t include stump removal, as that technically falls into a different service. The company you hire may offer the service for an upcharge, though. You can ask them if they offer this service to ensure you’re getting the best tree stump removal costs possible.

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