Using the stump grinder Stump grinders, like other heavy and powerful machines, can be potentially dangerous and are operated by professionals due to the high risk of injury involved. The risk may be even higher if the operator doesn’t know how to use stump grinder.
Operators need protective gear to operate the machine and protect themselves from airborne decibels and debris while sanding. These can be sharp pieces of wood, but also anything that could be hidden in the ground: old columns, pipes, bricks, glass, nails or lost equipment.
Rent vs own
A rental grinder is the best option if you want to do some DIY and remove some stumps in your lawn. Rather than buying the equipment or hiring an arborist to do the work for you, renting would always a cheaper option. In addition, the rental company explains the safety precautions for using the stump grinder before you set off with it. Some rental companies also offer to deliver the mill to your home, so less of a headache if you don’t have a trailer or truck.
However, if you plan to do regular gardening on your farm or start a lucrative stump removal business, it is best to have your own stump grinder as you will most likely need to remove tree stumps from time to time.
Preparation before using a stump grinder
In addition to machine damage, hazards associated with stump grinding jobs include flying rocks, debris and carbide cutting tips that may have become loose. Injuries that can result from careless or reckless use of stump grinders include broken bones, loss of limbs and, in the worst cases, death. So before setting off, it’s always best to educate yourself and those around you about safety procedures and the proper precautions to take to avoid injury. Safety should always come first when using stump grinders.
The basic and most important safety rules for operating a stump grinder are wearing protective clothing, clearing the work area of rocks and debris, and staying clear of the base and cutting wheel of the grinder.
Before proceeding to start using your grinder, to safely and efficiently grind tree stumps, always do the following:
Inspect the work area
First walk around and inspect the area to make sure the work is safe. Check that there is enough support for your stump grinder and your operator. Also, make sure there are no safety hazards near the work area. Notice and remove any twigs, rocks, and other objects around the stump.
Also look for buried pipes, fences, or metal as these could also pose a hazard. Remember to ask the landlord if there may be underground utilities such as water and gas lines, sprinkler lines, property markings, etc.
Safety first, equipment and instruction
Because stump grinders can be extremely dangerous, operators must wear their appropriate safety equipment at all times while using the stump grinder. This includes gloves, safety goggles, PPE, ear plugs, heavy duty steel toed work shoes and chainsaw safety pants.
Most stump grinders are equipped with safety features. It is now common for crushers to include cutter wheel guards and safety curtains to prevent operators from being injured by flying debris. Some also have emergency stops and/or operator presence sensors and devices.
NOTE: Never go near the cutting wheel.
Clear the area around the base of the stump
Before you grind down the stumps, clean the area of anything you found during your inspection. To further improve visibility, you can also trim grass and plants around the tree stump.
If the stump is higher than the ground, you can try to cut it as low as possible to reduce the amount of sanding required to remove the stump. Using a chainsaw to trim the stump also reduces the number and man hours of the stump grinder. This speeds up the stump removal process and makes the job a lot easier.
A stump grinder always uses a shovel to remove all of the rocks and sticks around the base of the stump. Not only is this an important safety measure, but it also helps protect the teeth of the wheel from damage.
Check if the grinder is in good condition
Regular maintenance and service are essential to keep your stump grinder and work environment safe and reliable. Lack of maintenance or improper service can possibly be the cause of unpleasant accidents and health problems. We recommend both the Power King stump grinders and the DK2 Power stump grinders.
How To Use Stump Grinder
Having prepared the surrounding soil, you are now ready to proceed. Move the chipper and make sure the chipper’s cutting wheel is directly over the stump before turning it on. On some grinders, you must first activate the safety switch in order for the stump grinder to turn on.
Slowly lower the wheel until it touches the steering knuckle. Then the machine starts grinding and removes wood chips. Use the machine’s adjustment lever to take small increments and move the wheel back and forth to ensure all stumps are removed correctly.
Take your time
In addition to adjusting the wheels throughout the process. To completely remove tree stumps, you often have to move the machine back and forth over the tree stump several times to lower it to about 4 inches below the ground.
In general, most pros recommend sanding at least 4 to 6 inches below the floor. In some cases you may need to go deeper, sometimes as much as 10 inches! However, there are some limitations to the depth to which a stump grinder is effective. This can be things like the type/radius of stump you are dealing with and whether your stump grinder is powerful enough.
For small to medium stumps removal, the process can take less than 15 minutes, while large stumps can take up to 2 hours, sometimes longer depending on conditions and tree species.
When you are satisfied with the stump removal, turn off the machine and remove it from the stump area.
Discard any leftover wood chips
You managed to get rid of the tree stump. The next step is to get rid of the grit that has accumulated in your garden. Shovel or rake as many wood chips as possible. Push in the soil and any remaining wood chips to fill the hole left by the stump. Tamp down, rake and spread grass or flower seeds or plant vegetables around the area to restore the lawn.
Some ways to get rid of wood chips are:
- Use them as a mulch.
- Add them to your compost material.
- Spread them out on paths and trails.
- Bury them in the stump hole
A stump grinder is a powerful machine that must always be treated with care. Here are some important reminders:
- Always wear protective gear to protect yourself from flying debris.
- Make sure no bystanders are nearby or entering the area.
- Don’t try to weigh down or overwhelm the stump grinder by grinding too deep and too fast. Use a side sweeping motion instead.
- It is best to follow a pre-operational stump grinder checklist before starting the grinder.
- Always read the instruction manual before use, especially if you are new to the machine.