When trees are removed to clear land or are knocked down by weather, the trunk, branches and leaves are taken away, but the stump and roots remain. Removing stumps and roots requires burning, lots of pulling power or strategically placed dynamite. An easier way is to grind the stump down and leave the roots in place to die.
When you grind the stump down to below the surface of the turf, you are able to reclaim open space that you can use for many different purposes. If you're looking for a stump grinder with an electric starter, take a look at the DK2 14-Inch 14 Horsepower Gas-Powered Commercial Stump Grinder.
Stump grinders work by running a multi-tooth cutting wheel across the stump to cut a path with a defined width and depth. You cut row by row with strong, sharp teeth that spin around a horizontal axis, much like a rotary saw does when cutting through lumber.
Make sure you have sturdy work gloves, a good pair of safety glasses and noise-rated ear protection. You can bury your ground-up chips where the roots were or collect them and use them when you need to absorb spilled oils and fuels.
Grinding dense, hard woods requires enough power to drive the cutting wheel through the wood at high speeds. Most consumer-grade stump grinders are powered by gas engines in the 10-15 horsepower range. The more powerful your engine, the easier it is to grind stumps.
Stump grinders can be as big as a truck or as small as a lawnmower. Bigger isn’t always better, though, so consider width and weight before deciding.
For added safety, look for a stump grinder with a one-touch control that lets you stop the cutting wheel quickly if you encounter a grinding problem or a safety issue.
Most consumer-level stump grinders can't propel themselves from place to place. You have to get your stump grinder to where the stumps are either by pushing it, towing it, or transporting it in the back of a pickup truck. Look for stump grinders with larger tires, a towbar and well-mounted lift handles for easier transporting.
Most stump grinders have a rope and handle you pull to start the engine, like an old outboard motor. Look for stump grinders with electric starters — a huge help, especially in cold weather.
Consumer models cost $1,500-$3,000, determined mostly by the horsepower and the size of the cutting wheel.
A. Most call for 10W-30 motor oil, but always safeguard your investment by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
A. The process of grinding stumps wears the teeth on the cutting wheel. Depending on conditions, they work for five to 15 hours before they need indexing, and can be indexed twice before being sharpened or replaced.
What you need to know: The electric starter gets you going quickly and easily at the touch of a button.
What you’ll love: You can adjust the comfort bow handle to grind stumps up to 14 inches above ground and 10 inches below ground. The 12 high-speed carbide cutting teeth deliver 4-inch-wide cuts, the direct-drive belt eliminates clutch slippage and the wheel brake locks in place for pivot grinding.
What you should consider: At 285 pounds, this can be a real handful to operate.
Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot
What you need to know: This stump grinder comes with a weatherproof cover, removable tow bar and one set of replacement teeth.
What you’ll love: Four lift handles make it easy for two people to get this stump grinder in and out of pickup-truck beds. The slap-stop button and shut-off latch provide two levels of safety. It has a locking throttle and a manual brake that assists when pivot cutting. This grinder powers nine tungsten blades to cut 11 inches above and 9 inches below ground.
What you should consider: Some buyers wished for a better brake.
Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot
What you need to know: This grinder comes with safety glasses, ear protection, work gloves, tools and an oil bottle.
What you’ll love: Direct drive powers the 12-inch, 50-pound carbide cutter head at 3,600 revolutions per minute. The heavy-duty steel frame and axle are reinforced to support a cutting height of 12 inches above ground and 9 inches below. It transports easily with dual locking wheels and has hitch pins for safe towing.
What you should consider: It doesn't include a tow bar.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.