I live on 20 forested acres I am familiar with this task. There are
three stategies I have used. I have not used the chemical like
1. Wait a year or two and you should be able to pull the stump out or
push it over with a something as small as a tractor, skidsteer, pickup,
winch, ATV, or even a come-a-long. If it is a small tree, you can push
it over and it will just break off at the ground level. If it is
larger you might have to yank it out with a winch or pickup at the
least. A 24 inch tree is a big one and may require the use of heavier
machinery to pull it out. There will be a crater where the stump used
to be but this creates less disturbance than the other methods.
2. If you are building something in the spot where the stump is
including a driveway or sidewalk or the excavation for these things
then you may need to remove the stump right away. This means digging
them out with heavy machinery and can still be a pretty tough job
depending on the soil conditions and the size and species of tree.
A dozer might be necessary for a 24" tree. A backhoe will also work.
A Bobcat skidsteer or similar tractor can be used but can take longer
than the others. In any case, a lot of soil will be disturbed, more
than you expect. Also, a big crater will be left where the stump used
to be possibly requiring you to bring in fill dirt to bring the soil
back to the original level and may be necessary anyway. The machine
itself can also cause quite a disturbance and the compaction of the
soil everywhere you use it or drive it. If the ground is too soft to
too frozen, it may be impossible or undesirable to use a machine at
3. If it is a yard or garden then a grinder will be your best option.
I am able to rent these from my local rental store and they are
affordable for the job they do. The kind my store has are pretty crude
and require a some muscle to operate. You tow it behind your pickup
and then when you unhook it you have to push it up to the stump. You
then lock one wheel which is used a pivot to swing the spinning carbide
cutters back and forth across the stump in an arc. In order to grind
another arc you have to reposition the grinder by pushing or pulling
the entire machine to a new spot. A large tree will require several of
these repositionings. You might need a helper if you are lacking in
size or strength. This is the type my store has and is the most
common. It gets the job done but is a hassle to use.
There are other cooler stump grinders and you might be able to rent one
if you go to a Bobcat dealer though it will be expensive. I sort of
have my heart set on one of these. It mounts on front of a Bobcat
skidsteer or any other skid steer for that matter and operates
hydraulically. There are two styles.
With one style you have to position it over the stump and then pivot
the entire skidsteer back and forth across the stump. This has the
disadvantage of disturbing the ground more. The other style, which I
like, has an articulated arm that looks similar to a backhoe but has
cutters which can be positioned at any place over the stump minimizing
equipment repositioning and ground disturbance. Any grinder will only
grind to a certain depth below the surface of the soil. Here are some
For the cheaper generic skidsteer grinder:
For the coolest grinder ever from Bobcat:
Good luck with a tough job!