How Much Does Stump Grinding Cost?

Mariel Loveland
Written by Mariel Loveland
Updated December 14, 2022
tree stump grinder machine
Photo: Susan Sheldon / EyeEm / Getty Images


  • Stump grinding costs an average of $320.

  • The price range for stump grinding is $170 to $500.

  • The more stumps to grind, the lower the cost per stump.

  • Renting a grinder costs $190 to $270 per day.

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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. Whether it’s imposing on your lush grass or you prefer to use the space for another home project, the typical stump grinding costs about $320. Stump grinding is a quick and efficient way to remove the rest of the tree’s trunk without breaking the bank.

Stump Grinding Cost Factors

Wondering how much it’ll cost to grind a stump? It’s a straightforward process involving three main factors: The cost to grind the stump, the permits needed to remove it, and the cost to put sod over the remaining pieces. Here’s a breakdown of tree stump grinding costs.


Stump grinding rates vary with the circumference of the tree trunk (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 and $5 per diameter inch.

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

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

Number of Stumps

3 stump grinding costs, with the total average ranging from $170 to $500

The number of stumps impacts how much you'll pay for stump grinding. Sure, the overall project costs more if you have multiple stumps removed, but the cost per stump can drop dramatically. Contractors usually have a minimum callout fee for a single stump, usually between $100 and $150. But additional stumps are often priced much lower, at about $40 to $75 each. 

Accessibility and Terrain 

If the tree stumps are on challenging terrain, access is limited, or the stumps are located a long way from where the contractor can park, expect to incur additional fees. Some pros add $50 per hour for the extra labor, while others include a flat fee of up to $200 for a challenging project.

Time of Year

Winter is typically the cheapest time of year for tree removal—and that includes getting rid of the stump. You can save as much as 20% by tackling this project during the coldest months when tree services have the least demand. Keep in mind that the cost to remove a stump completely is slightly more than the cost to grind a stump down.


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 unless you’re dealing with a truly enormous tree, or one that’s extremely difficult to access. You’ll pay around $150 in labor total for most trees.

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 to you. Mileage typically costs around $0.55 per mile. However, pros may charge more due to the recent spike in gas prices.

Additional Cost Factors

Stump grinding is a stand-alone service, but typically, it is just part of a larger landscaping project. Some homeowners may want to tackle additional landscaping tasks, like yard repairs or trimming nearby trees. Here are some potential costs to keep on your radar.

Debris Removal 

Expect to pay $50 to $200 for hauling away the waste from the stump grinding. You can save by removing the debris yourself, but if you can't haul it or have no use for it, let the contractor take care of it. They may charge you a rate of $50 per hour or give you a flat fee for debris removal based on the diameter of the stump. This usually costs $2 to $4 per diameter inch.


You’re likely going to need permits to remove the stump. The reason being is 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.


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. Sod installation costs around $1 to $2 per square foot for labor and materials. Mulching is another option that’s a bit more affordable at $0.35 per square foot, on average.

Root Removal

To remove the roots and grind away the stump, expect to pay between $100 and $200 per hour. While removing the roots after stump grinding isn't essential, it's necessary if you want to make substantial use of the area.

For example, if you want to turn the area into a vegetable garden, having an extensive root network below the surface makes digging really tough. Eventually, the roots will decay, leaving a void in the earth. So if you want to build a structure over the area, your structure could face significant structural damage that costs thousands of dollars to fix.

Tree Removal 

Tree removal costs between $750 and $1,000 per tree. The price includes felling the tree, cutting it into manageable pieces, and hauling it away. It usually doesn't include stump grinding or root removal. However, for smaller trees, the arborist may be able to dig up the entire tree, roots and all.

Tree Transplanting 

Transplanting a tree costs $800 on average, but it can cost upwards of $1,500 to transplant a large tree in the same yard. During your stump removal, you may want to transplant a tree into the area where the stump once was. It’s a common way to switch up your landscaping and save on the cost of a totally new tree.

Tree Trimming

For most homeowners, tree trimming costs anywhere from $75 to $1,800—with small trees on the low end and very large trees on the high end. Since stump grinding is a relatively small job, you can sometimes save money on the cost of a tree service by tacking on extra jobs like tree trimming. 

How Much Does Stump Grinding Cost to Do Yourself?

If you remove a stump on your own, you won’t have to pay for the cost of labor. You’ll only have to pay for equipment rentals (mainly, a stump grinder to grind down the stump). Luckily, there are a few different stump removal methods that don’t involve grinding. You can avoid these rental costs by using tools that you probably already have in your shed—like a chainsaw, ax, mattock, and shovel. 

Cost to Rent a Stump Grinder

If you’re used to heavy machinery and feel confident in your abilities, you can rent a stump grinder for around $190 to $270 per day. Since grinding 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.

However, because of the cost of renting the equipment, you may not save any money over hiring a pro. Plus, stump grinding is a risky business with plenty of potential for injury.

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

If your tree stump is near a utility line or close to your home, leave this job to a pro. 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.

You can reduce your spending by tackling the preparation and cleanup yourself. This includes tasks like clearing debris from the area before the work begins and using or hauling away the waste after the stump grinding. Replant, lay sod, and otherwise reinvigorate the site once the stump is gone yourself to save money and improve the look of your yard.

Stump Grinding vs. Removal

Tree stump removal and stump grinding are often used interchangeably by the general public, but they’re not the same thing. It can get confusing because, technically, grinding removes the stump—or at least grinds it down enough that it’s effectively removed. The roots are left intact to deteriorate over time. 

With true stump removal, your contractor will remove the entirety of the stump, including the roots. Stump grinding is typically more manageable and takes less time.


Tree stump removal costs $100 to $200 more than stump grinding. Where possible, although it's a little more costly, have the stump removed fully rather than just ground down. Only opt for stump grinding when it's not practical to remove the whole stump.

Leaving roots untouched can ruin your pavers, damage your home's foundation, and destroy your lawn. Fully removing the stump lets you make proper use of the space, whether you're planning to build on it or just plant a garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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