Getting rid of an unsightly stump from your garden is easy if you have the right tools for the job. A stump grinder will easily remove the stump for you, giving you more space in your garden to plant something else or cover with turf.


Removing a stubborn tree stump isn't a tough job if you have the right tools. Anyone can operate a stump grinder with proper instruction and safety equipment.

In this post, we’ll taking through the steps you need to remove the stump using a stump grinder.  If you have a small or large tree to cut down first, check out our Small Tree Removal and Large Tree Removal guides.

Step 1: Prepare your working area

At the moment you'll have the base of the trunk in the way. Before you can remove a tree stump, you need to prepare the work site.

Make sure any rocks and debris are cleared from around the base of the stump - the grinder blades will become damaged if they are forced onto a stone or other debris.

Cut the stump to a suitable height using a large chainsaw. The cut should be around 100 millimetres above the ground so as not to damage the chainsaw. Doing this will also reduce the amount of work you have to do with the stump grinder.

Cut your stump so that it is about 100 millimetres above the ground.

Don’t forget to wear the right safety gear. A full-length shirt and pants, a sturdy pair of gloves, protective eye glasses and a dust mask will help to protect you from flying sawdust and larger bits of wood that chip away from the stump.   Make sure you also cordon off the area so that people and pets are at a safe distance away.

Step 2: Move the stump grinder into position

Operating a stump grinder properly means you have to move it into position over the stump first before turning it on and using it. Change the height of the handle so that it's comfortable when you hold it. Keep in mind the height and depth of the grinding will change over time so you may need to adjust the handle a few times while removing the stump - just don’t change the handle position while the machine is on.

One of the wheels of the stump grinder can lock into place, while the other one rotates. This means you can swing the machine over the top of the stump and grind the base of the tree to below ground level. Unlock the wheel and push the stump grinder so the blade is over the centre of the stump, then lock the wheel so only one side can move.

  Adjust the handle of the stump grinder so it is comfortable when at working height.

Step 3: Grind part of the stump

There is a power lever and ignition switch to make turning on the stump grinder easy. The safety switch must also be engaged for the stump grinder to turn on - this can be held down from either the upper or lower handle. You must keep the safety switch depressed for the machine to work.

With the machine operating, sweep the grinding blade over the stump slowly. With each pass of the blade, the stump will get smaller and smaller. When you've dropped down about 80 millimetres, you'll need to reposition the grinder.

Step 4: Reposition the stump grinder

So you can grind lower and get the stump below ground level, unlock the wheel and push the machine forward until the blade is once again over the centre of the (now much smaller) stump. Lock the wheel again, adjust the handle to a comfortable height for the new angle you'll be working at, and keep going.

Grind the trunk until it is below the surface of your garden and you end up with a clear space.

In a sweeping motion, move the blade over the stump to remove the wood completely.

Step 5: Cover the area with soil

Turn the machine off fully, including switching off the ignition, and move the stump grinder away from the area. Fill the hole with some of the debris from the grinding, and add some fresh soil too. This will help something else to grow in place of the stump, whether that's lawn or a garden.

Clearing a tree stump with a power tool is simple if you have the right equipment. For more information about removing a tree stump with a stump grinder, get in touch with your local Kennards Hire branch.