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To grind or not to grind?  Here is my best stump grinding tip: Hire someone to do the work!

A Few Stumps To Grind

One of the features that drew us to purchase our home 10 years ago was the number of mature trees on our lot.  Our

Image from Morguefile via dhester

house is relatively new (built in 1999), but the developer kept many mature trees.  We love this.  However, with a number of mature trees, we had to have some removed.  A few years ago, we started losing quite a few elm trees.  After the dust settled, we have a few less elm trees left, but had a few more stumps.  I wanted to get them ground out and put grass seed down, so I debated whether to do it myself or have someone do it.

My Former Strategy

We had one stump from years ago that was along the edge of our lot that I never did anything with.  It took about 10 years but it finally rotted out where I was able to dig what was left out and fill it in.

This was, of course, one option, though with three stumps and being right in the middle of the yard, it wasn't a real option.

Do It Yourself Stump Grinding

Renting a stump grinder from Home Depot is listed at $94.  This is a four hour rental.  You have to unload it, load it back up, and of course figure out what you're doing.

I was a little leery of this.  Using machines with sharp blades that are moving very fast and grinding wood and dirt and such is not in my comfort zone.  Read: I have no idea what I'm doing.

Still, with a pickup truck, it would be straightforward to get it back and forth, so I considered the idea.

Leaving It To The Pros (My Stump Grinding Tip)

Our subdivision contracts out our landscaping.  We hired a new company last year that has worked out very well.  They took over for a company that was unreliable and did the bare minimum.

They work with many neighborhoods, and see it as an opportunity to offer services to residents as well.  Word of mouth is very important to them.

I was on our homeowner's board a couple of years ago, so I heard that they are very fairly priced.  When I contacted them for a quote, they said that they could do it for $150.

That was a no brainer for me.  I had them come out and grind the stumps the next day.  They even got to do it in February as we had a really nice warm spell with temperatures in the 60's.  Those are record temperatures for Michigan.

Crunching The Numbers

For me, it was a simple decision.  Although it cost $56 more, it meant that I didn't have to:

  • Load and unload the machine.
  • Push the machine around and risk taking chunks out of the grass.
  • Use the machine incorrectly, grinding too much or too little.
  • Risk damaging the machine.
  • Risk my own personal safety.
  • Spend my time doing any work.

I'm pretty sure that I got a break from economies of scale.  If I would have had just one stump, I'm guessing it would have cost at least $100.  It was likely a case that once they are set up for one stump, doing a couple more is no big deal.

The End Result

We were out of town when they did the work, but when I came back, things looked great.  Instead of three stumps there were three piles of wood shavings.

When spring comes, I'll have some work to do.  I'll have to dig out all the shavings, fill in with top soil, then apply grass seed and water.  This kind of stuff I can handle with no problem.

I'm just glad the stump grinding portion is out of the way!

Readers, do you agree with my stump grinding tip?  When do you draw the line between doing it yourself and leaving it to the pros?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.