Stump Grinding

One of the many stumps on our property

Our property is littered with stumps.  Big ones, small ones, they are all over.

I tried counting them right after we first moved in.  When I got to 27, I thought I’d found them all.  But I’ve found at least 3 more since then.  (I think they reproduce when I’m not looking!).

The house was built in 1978, in a fairly heavily wooded area.  As was common practice at the time, the larger trees were left in place and the landscape was created around them.  Over the 30+ years since, many of those old trees have rotted and been damaged by storms. 

The previous owners removed the trees, but left the stumps in place.  Some are over 20 feet high and one  is 4 feet in diameter.

This isn’t generally a problem except that:Our dog Loki sitting on a stump

  1.  We have dogs and need our property to be fully fenced — not just on 3 sides — and 5 of the stumps were in the fence line.
  2. This is carpenter ant territory.  Dead wood around your property means its more likely to house a carpenter ant colony.  And in fact, this house already had a carpenter ant infestation that a previous owner had to deal with.

Which left us wanting our stumps removed.  And the sooner the better.

Our fencing contractor suggested posting an ad on  He said many of his clients who needed larger landscape projects done had good success finding someone to do the work for little money.

So, I posted an ad. 

Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind about craigslist:

  1. Most people will respond without reading the entirety of your ad.
  2. Responders don’t have your contact information (unless you put it in your post) until your respond to them.

I received many responses that simply didn’t read my whole ad — which I knew because they didn’t include their bid price or indicate when they could do the work, both of which were requirements stated in my ad.  These were easy to dismiss.

Of the ones in consideration, the prices quoted ranged from $5,000 to $250, for the exact same work.

The $250 bid won for two reasons:

  1. The price was affordable.
  2. He read the entire ad and stated both his price and when he could get the work done.

After I awarded him the job via email, he called me and asked to come by the property and take a look.  He showed up later that day with his helper.

The next day, they showed up on time and ready to work hard.

Stump Grinder in Action

At the end of the day, 6 1/2 stumps were gone, ground down below soil level.  The stump grinder broke on that last one, or they would have done more.  This wasn’t all of the stumps we wanted gone, but it was the most important ones.

We ended up paying them an additional $75, bringing our total to $325.  The extra money was for the extra gas they were using to get out to us.  We were comfortable paying extra because they had done such a great job.

If we had it to do over, I would have hired the professional stump grinding company that bid $475 for all 10 stumps, plus an extra $125 to have them remove all of the wood shavings as well.

Stump grinding makes A LOT of wood shavings.  Having someone else remove them for you is worth the extra money.

One other thing we learned from this experience: a stump grinder can be rented for about $100/day.  If we don’t hire someone to remove the rest of our stumps, we might opt to do it ourselves.  But then, there’s the shavings to deal with …..


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