How to Remove Palm Tree Stumps

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Palm Tree Removal

Root ball of a Palm Tree

There are many varieties of palm species and they have one thing in common – they have a long fibrous root system that has evolved to withstand  tropical cyclones. These roots go deep into the ground and spread a distance around the palm tree. They can be responsible for movement in building’s walls, retaining walls, pavers, concrete, sewers, or other nearby structures.

Removing Palm Tree Stump

Root Structure of a Palm Tree

You only have two feasible options for removing a palm tree stump – using an  excavator, or hiring a stump grinder to remove the stump to below ground level. As you can see from the pictures of the palm tree stumps it would take a long time to dig up and cut through all those roots. We have spoken with people who said it took them years to remove palm tree stumps even though they worked on it a  few hours every weekend till it was gone. They vowed never to do it again.

Using an excavator

In this method you use an excavator to dig a huge hole around the stump so you have access to the palm tree’s root ball. You cut off any long running roots and lift the stump and root ball out of the ground and transport it to the tip. This method is best if you need the entire stump removed if you are already planning to build a structure there or requiring to plant another large mature tree. If you plan to use this method, ensure it forms part of your construction plan (if building a house), since an excavator & truck adds up quickly. Depending on the size of the excavator it can be around $80 per hour, with additional costs for hiring truck hire to dump the stump, paying the tip to take your stump, and then all the additional time to restore the site.

Hint: You must dial before you dig to check for buried services. Their could be telecommunication, water, gas, or electrical lines where you want to dig!

Stump Grinding

With stump grinding a machine is used that has rotating discs with teeth on them that are used to literally grind the stump away. It operates in a fashion similar to a chainsaw – reducing the area being grinded to sawdust. The grinder can only remove what it can reach – which is usually only 1-2 feet below ground level. This method is usually cheaper than  excavating, with a typical stump grinder costing around $100 per hour (with operator) but the work will be carried out in less time (around 3-4 hours). This option is the better value for money choice, but you still have the stump rotting away below ground level. You can plant a garden on top, but you will have to wait a while if you want to plant something that requires deep root penetration.


Stump Removal Options

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Tree Stump Removal

Stump Removal Options

When it comes to stump removal, there are a few approaches than can be taken. There are so many myths and “simple solutions” that complicated the process because so many don’t actually work. The following is a list of common ways to remove stumps. This is based from experience in the arbour industry and should help prevent you wasting your time.

Chemical Removers
There are a few chemical remover products on the market, most of them are high in potassium nitrate. The product is spread on the stump and it is used to accelerate the decomposition of the stump. There is no product on the market that makes the stump disappear appear in weeks. This process will take months provided you follow the instructions – keeping the stump moist and covered – or it will even take years if it is a palm stump. Another cheaper option is to use a manure that is high in potassium nitrate like cow manure. This will achieve the same results as a chemical product. First drill holes into the stump, fill it with the manure, and then keep moist and covered. It will decompose as fast as nature will allow it. That is, unless you give it a helping hand by burning it – which brings us to the next stump removal method.

This is a common method of stump removal but is highly ineffective. It is rare for a stump to stay on fire since it sits deep in the ground and no enough oxygen is supplied to the fire. However, stump burning can work after the treatment of a chemical remover since it causes the stump to be more porus (allowing more oxygen in) and the potassium nitrate will provide fuel for the fire (so to speak). It still comes with a big risk: if you burn a stump you could end up with charcoal material that decomposes even slower than the stump, and is even more difficult to remove. So DON’T DO IT.

BUT… If you still have your heart set on burning that stump out of the ground there are a few things you can consider. (Your neighbours should definitely be a consideration!) But in addition to using a chemical additive to make the stump more porous before burning, you can build a makeshift open stove out of a large metal can or bucket, placing the stove over a portion of the stump and let it burn for a time. After you are satisfied that the area of stump has been burnt out, you should then move it to another area on the stump until the whole stump is removed. Make sure to remove any charcoal from the stump after each fire. If done right, this method can be an effective way to remove a stump. But generally, it should only be carried out in rural areas such as farms. In the suburbs or the city this is a big no no.

We wish there was small caterpillars we could use to remove stumps for us, but grubbing is actually the industry term for manual labour. Getting those gardening gloves out of the shed, grab your crow bar, mattock, shovel, chain saw, and dig the heck out of that stump. When you grub, you need to first dig a trench around the stump to as deep as you can go. From this you need to work in under the stump cutting off the roots and freeing the stump for removal. This can be really hard work and not a job for those with sensitive backs. If you stick at it long enough you will eventually get there.

Stump Grinders
Decomposition and grubbing can be used to get rid of stumps. However, some clever engineer was contracted by an arborists to make his job easier and came up with a stump grinder. This tools are machines who use rotating teeth to grind away a stump to below the ground level. This doesn’t get rid of all the running roots, but it does get it low enough that you can plant a flow garden, or cover it in dirt so natural decay can occur out of sight. Stump grinders can be hired, but it is recommended that you should hire an experienced arborist or landscaper to do this work because it can be very dangerous. Grinding a stump can take an hour or two, but setup and removal might add another two hours onto it. This still isn’t easy work and required a bit of elbow grease, but it is definitely the best option for stump removal.

If you’re looking to remove stumps from your property, consider talking to our favourite stump removal experts who can arrange a professional to remove that stump for you in no time and at a fair and reasonable price. If you end up doing it yourself, just be careful, it can be a dangerous task.

Tree Stump Grinder

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Stump Grinding

Bandit HB19XP Stump Grinder

Sydney Tree Removals is proud to announce that we have a new stump grinder to add to our collection of hard working arbor tools. It is a Bandit HB19XP manual self-propelled stump grinder. This is a lightweight, compact unit that can gain access to tight or confined locations. The stump grinder has a Honda engine so it has a lot of power and life in it. We are very happy to have a unit that can be easily moved to grind stumps in almost any location.

The Honda engine packs 13-horsepower and is controlled by a joystick that allows it to travel forward or reverse. It has an electric start and an electric clutch. But most importantly it features a 14 inch diameter cutter wheel with 12 carbide teeth. These teeth will tear through stumps in no time. We invested in this unit because there has been increased demand to have tree stumps removed in the back of small apartments blocks with limited access. Now we will be able to remove the stumps quickly, safely, and cost effectively.

Just a few more specification of our new stump grinder;

  • Width 38 cm (15 inches)
  • Height 137 cm (54 inches)
  • Length 218 cm (86 inches)
  • Weight 317 kg (700 pounds)
  • Cutting depth 32 cm (12.5 inches)
  • Cutting height 86 cm (34 inches)

So if you have a stump in a limited access location and you want that stump removed fast – you should contact Sydney Tree Removals for a free quote from a qualified arborist.




Stump Removal

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Not all stumps can be removed using a stump grinder. Professional arborists have a few tricks up their sleeves for removing difficult tree stumps.

Leveraged removal: Depending on the circumstances. This method requires manual or mechanical digging around the base of the stump, detaching any roots that might be problematic, and then applying appropriate leverage through a chain block system to pull the stump out of the ground.

Manual removal: This is the hardest way to remove a tree stump, by digging it out manually. This sometimes is the only option if the stump is located in a hazardous or confined location.

Chemical removal: This method requires a chemical stump removal product to be applied onto the stump to promote the decay of the stump. Stump removers are normally made of potassium nitrate (KNO3) and take between 4-6 weeks to make the stump rotten enough for it to be removed in fragmented pieces. The limitations of this method are the use of chemicals and it lacks immediate results. Sometimes people set stumps on fire after chemical treatment to speed up the removal process because the potassium nitrated once absorbed acts as an oxidizer, but we do not encourage this method as it is dangerous, and stump grinding is a fair superior, safer, and quicker option.

Contact a stump removal expert today for them to assess the best way to remove your stump.

Why Remove that Stump?

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Stumps can take years to decay naturally. The stumps are not only unsightly, but have the potential to be trip hazards or damage vehicles depending on their location and how low they are cut to the ground. In addition being potential safety hazards, they also can cause dangerous root rot diseases such as honey fungus that can affect the surrounding vegetation in your garden. Root rot is a cause of why many trees look unhealthy, and eventually die.

Stump Infected with Honey Fungus

Stump Infected with Honey Fungus

Stump Grinding / Stump Removal

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Stump Grinder in front yard
Stump Grinding

We recommend Sydney Tree Removals to provide you with your required tree services for anywhere in  the entire Sydney region. They only employ qualified experienced arborists, who have the skills, experience, and physical stamina to tackle any job. They don’t believe any job can be too big or too small – and they always offer friendly professional service to their clients.

Sydney Tree Removals not only offer stump grinding and stump removal, but many other tree services including palm and tree pruning, tree surgery (such as tree lopping & tree removal) and wood chipping. They can access trees in hard to reach locations using a cherry picker or boom lift, or by climbing the trees, and they are able to work in areas of limited access. Sydney Tree Removals enjoy their tree work: offering tree services at affordable prices across Sydney. Contact Sydney Tree Removals today for a no obligation free quote.

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