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Trees/tree stump removal

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Question
Is there any method to remove a tree stump without using chemicals? We have a dog and many children in the area. My husband is out there with an axe, but I think he won't be able to dig down really deep. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank-you for your time.

Answer
Hi Susan,

Removing a stump is an arduous task, one that I am quite surprised people will attempt on their own.

The most effective way to remove one in a landscape is using a stump cutter, or some often refer to as stump grinding.  Really the stump is not ground, but is cut.

However, it does depend upon the size of stump and species of the tree.  Rental companies do offer small stump removal machines, often built more like a rotor tiller design.  These are really only effective for very small stumps, and would not suggest on anything larger than around six inch diameter or 15 cm.

Larger tree companies can remove the stump quickly and often quite cost effectively, and some will even sod the area afterward.   Even some smaller companies offer stump removal, but often times their equipment is so small their prices have to be higher to make the work cost effective.

As always if looking for a tree company, or any contractor ensure they have insurance and workers compensation.  Request a certificate of insurance and WSIB clearance certificate in Ontario.  With Ontario laws, if there is property damage or an injured worker, you as the property owner and person who is hiring or employing them are legally responsible as per past court case history.  Often times we forget to ask for workers compensation, or even insurance, looking solely at the lowest cost solution.   However, many times the lowest cost is not the best value.  

I would recommend renting a stump cutter or grinder for a smaller stump, and hiring for a larger one.  Also good to be present when work is done, and verify how deep they go, as some companies will only go a couple of inches down and leave it at that.

Also if in urban area, legally the company must obtain a utility locate for most stump removals.   They should tell you this, but many do not bother.  If they do not mention the need for a locate, consider looking elsewhere, if they cut corners here then where else may they also be cutting corners.  It is the law and it is free!

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Robin Wells

Expertise

Most of my experience is in urban forestry and landscape environment. Questions related to tree identification, tree diseases or insect related problems, soil related issues or soil science, pruning techniques or practices, pesticide related questions, fertilization of trees or shrubs, tree support systems (cabling or bracing), tree planting, tree watering needs or tree risk assessment/management, although insect related we also have a specific area dealing with the emerald ash borer.

Experience

30 years work in urban forestry. Bachelor degree in forestry. ISA Certified Arborist. ISA Certified Tree Risk Assessor. Consulting Arborist. Ontario licensed pesticide applicator.

Organizations
ISA Intrenational ISA Ontario Ontario Commercial Arborist Association Tree Care Industry Association American Society of Consulting Arborists

Publications
Midland Mirror ( newspaper )

Education/Credentials
Bachelor degree in forestry. Many other post university seminars and courses in Aboriculture.

Past/Present Clients
Various commercial, residential, municipal, real estate and legal clients. Typically do not list the names.

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