Horticulture Magazine

How Much Does It Cost To Remove A Tree Stump?

an old tree stump on green grass

There are a handful of reasons why you might find yourself with a tree stump in your garden.

Perhaps you’ve just cut a tree down and the stump is the last remaining testament to its life?

Or maybe you moved into a house where the previous owner had removed a tree and not got round to getting rid of the stump?

large tree stump in a forest
Feeling stumped?

Whatever the reason, removing a tree stump from your garden is worth doing.

Not only are stumps unsightly, but they also get in the way and prevent you from using the space they take up.

They’re also tripping hazards: low level, easy to catch your foot on, and a hard surface to crack your shin on as you fall. Overall, definitely something to get rid of.

If you head over to Google and start looking for a stump grinding or tree removal service near you, however, you’ll quickly notice something:

There are tons of options. Each region of the UK has myriad tree surgeons competing for custom, all offering different prices and terms. Figuring out who to go with can be a bit daunting, especially when you’re not sure how much you should be paying.

And that’s why we’ve put this article together. Here we’ll round up tree removal costs in the UK to help you build an understanding of what you should be paying for this job.

There’s also a brief section at the end about how to remove a tree stump yourself if you decide you’d rather not pay for the service.

What is tree stump removal?

Put simply, stump removal is removing the stump of a tree from the ground. When a tree is cut down a few inches of its stump are left behind.

Beneath this (and below the ground) is the tree’s root system, making removal more complicated than you might expect.

You can remove tree stumps by hand with the help of tools, or you can use a machine called a stump grinder.

Commercial tree stump removal services most often use stump grinders as the machines are far quicker and easier than doing the job by hand.

a stump grinder in action
These machines make short shrift of stubborn stumps

How much should tree stump removal cost?

The first part of the quote will be the callout / labour fee, and you should expect this to start between £25-60.

On top of this, you’ll pay depending on the size of the stump. Rough figures for this should be around £4.50-£6 per inch in a back garden, or £4-£5 in a front garden.

If you’re wondering why these numbers vary, it’s because pricing up a stump removal job is based on a number of factors, including:

  • Location of the stump on your property: Front gardens are generally easier to access by road meaning it’ll be less work to get the equipment to your back garden. If your property is tricky to access you should expect to pay more.
  • Your location in the UK: Depending on the region you live, labour costs and average baseline prices will vary. Tree surgery in London, for example, is likely to cost much more than the equivalent service in the north.
  • Do you want grinding or removal? We mentioned the root system earlier. If you want this removed in its entirety you should expect to pay more than just grinding or removing the section of the stump above ground.
  • The size of the stump: As we alluded to when we mentioned prices by inch, the size of the stump goes some way to determining how much you’ll pay. It’s not hard to see why: a bigger stump means more work, and more work takes more time.
  • Is there good access to the stump? As well as moving the machinery to the relevant part of your property, tree surgeons will also need clear access around the stump itself. If your stump is nestled in an awkward position you should expect the price to be higher.
  • Softwood or hardwood? Softwood is easier to grind, and will equate to lower prices as a result. If you’re looking to get a hardwood stump removed you’ll pay more than you would for an equivalently sized hardwood tree.
  • How much of the tree is left? Again this ties back to paying per inch. If you’ve cut a tree down to just a couple of inches above the ground you’ll pay less than if you cut to a higher height. And if you’re looking for the whole tree to be removed rather than just the stump, you’ll be paying for a different service entirely.

All of these factors combine to make the answer to the question of stump costs tricky to answer on a general basis.

The best thing you can do is call up a few companies near you and talk them through your needs, then compare the quotes they provide.

We definitely recommend speaking with multiple companies as the prices you’ll be given will vary significantly, and it’s unusual to get the best price from the first call.

If you feel confident enough to do so you could attempt to use quotes from one company to persuade another company to go lower. Although bear in mind that you may be told prices are not negotiable.

Ultimately it’s up to you to do your research, ensure you’re happy with the quote received, and not to go with anyone who you think is giving an unreasonable price.

How to remove a tree stump yourself

If you don’t want to pay or just fancy a challenge, you can attempt to remove a stump with a combination of tools and physics.

The first thing to do is dig out the ground around the stump: about 20cm beyond the tree in each direction, to a depth of 5-10cm.

Then you’ll want to use a chainsaw to cut an X into the tree stump. This should be about as deep as the ground.

Next, get some wedge-shaped pieces of wood and hammer them point down into the grooves of the X. Use multiple wedges and leave each one in.

As you hammer them down the stump should start to give way. Keep going until you can shimmy the section out of the ground.

prying a tree stump from its hole
Prying stumps is possible but difficult

Keep in mind that this won’t work for all stumps. Older, dryer stumps that have been dead for a while tend to work better, and the type of wood affects how much success you’ll have.

Take it slowly and gently, and don’t push yourself too hard if you’re not seeing results.

No longer stumped

Getting a stump removed from your garden is almost always a worthwhile investment, and while prices from UK suppliers will vary, the amount you’ll pay is unlikely to be prohibitive.

Having access to the piece of land currently taken up by your stump means you can plant new flowers or shrubs, enjoy an uninterrupted lawn, pop a chair or bench down, or many other more desirable things than a dead piece of wood.

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