Tree stump removal cost guide
Ben McInerney – Last updated 12 April, 2018
This guide is designed to give you an accurate price on what you can expect to be charged for stump removal. To be clear, we are talking about the root ball and a small part of the trees trunk protruding through the surface.
If you are in fact after a price on whole tree removal including the stump, you will need to see our guide on tree removal costs.
Cost to remove tree stumps
There are 2 main categories of stumps, palm stumps which are very soft and very easy to removal and everything else. Hardwood stumps are everything else.
Hardwood stump removal cost
They are your typical tree such as a eucalyptus tree, pine, camphor laurel, Lilli pilly and everything else that is not a palm tree.
Below is a size guide for hardwood tree stump removals.
Palm tree stump removal cost
Palm trees are a Monocot plant which means they do not form hard woody tissue like regular dicot trees. This allows them to be more flexible and perfect for tropical environments with lots of wind. They are very soft and quite easy to remove with the right equipment.
You can expect to pay a lot less for palm tree stump removal. Please refer to the below table for prices.
Cost calculator for stump removal
Underground hazards to be aware of
Before you get someone in to remove your tree stump, you need to know where the certain services run to your home such as gas, water and fibre optic cables.
If a tree services company damages an underground service when grinding out your stump, they do no assume responsibility as it is up to the owner to make them aware of where all services are located.
You can easily find this information by calling 1100 dial before you dig in Australia. There you can get very accurate information about potential hazards that lie below the surface.
Tree root removal
First and foremost, stump removal does not generally include the removal of all the roots. A normal practice for stump removal is to use a stump grinding machine to grind the stump 20 – 30 cm below the surface of the ground, then just cover it over. The remaining roots will naturally decompose in time.
There are a couple of exceptions to this though, surface root removal or full root ball extraction for building purposes.
Surface root removal
These are roots that are protruding above the ground level running away from the trunk of the tree. They are very common on some types of trees such as Liquid amber. These roots cannot be removed unless you plan on removing the whole tree and its stump.
When removing the tree stump the operator will also grind the exposed roots below the surface.
Hide exposed roots
If you did want to keep the tree and didn’t want to have exposed roots above the surface of your lawn, then there are 2 options;
Hide option A: Build up the lawn level. You can slowly build up the level of the law over 2 or 3 seasons and bury the tree roots to the proper depth so they are not visible. Spread a thin layer 3 – 4cm of topsoil on the affected areas. If you do this in spring, within a couple of months the grass would have grown through and you will be 1 step closer to hiding the exposed roots. Repeat this as many times as necessary to completely hide the roots.
You can also do it in 1 go and just plant new grass seeds or lay turf.
Hide option B: Build a garden around the base of the tree. This second option is another quick fix and looks really good. Be careful not to build too much dirt up around the base of the tree (no more than 10cm) or you will do more harm than good.
Full root ball extraction
This would only be needed if you need to build something in the place of the tree, for example a fence or the foundations of a building, a pool etc. In most cases you will need a small excavator to dig the root ball out. Stump grinding machines are not designed to go any deeper than about 1 foot below the surface.
If you are building something, chances are your builder will be using an excavator to dig footings they will remove the stump before they begin.
DIY Stump removal hacks
Hack #1 – Hire a stump grinder and do the job yourself.
Stump grinders are freely available to hire from your local hire centre and cost about half of what it would cost you to get someone in to do the job.
Hack #2 – Dig the stump out
I only recommend this if the stump diameter is small than 15cm. Anything bigger and you are taking on quite a large job. In that case you are best using another hack.
Hack #3 – Burn the stump
You will need to find out first if it is legal where you are and I only suggest doing it in the winter months. This will also only work if the stump is dead and has been dead for at least 2 years. Green timber does not burn.
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