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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Whats the best way to remove a root ball like the one in the pic. The tree has already been cut off. Tree services in our area are telling my customers 6-12 weeks for removal. They want them removed now so we can do lawn repair. Any idea on a price to charge? I have posted this on a tree site also. Thanks for any advice. Blowing it up is not an option. :)

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We had a very bad ice storm in Feb this year. It was not uncommon to see a tree like this on every street in Lexington, KY. In fact I had one job, my uncles girlfriend, had (6), 60' hemlocks that did the same thing. Only one thing to do, take a hydraulic stump grinder to the entire area. This will leave a huge pile.
 

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When you cut the tree off the root ball will fall back into place. Grind the stump, a little top soil a little seed and your done.
If this is not an option you will need a back hoe. and a truck to haul it. If you dont have either find one and let them do the work mark it up 20% and have a nice day.
I think maybe the shovel method is out on this one.
lol
Check around you may not even be able to rent the equipment right now.
So other than the first method the customer may have no choice but to wait.
 

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Backhoe and dump truck, then bring in topsoil. That way you wont have the stump grindings in the soil and wont have as many depressions in the lawn when the roots and rest of the stump rots causing sinkholes.
 

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We could use a grinder, but on ones like what you are showing, we have found that 2 men with 2 picks can chip away most of the earth.

A grinder will make a mess to clean up anyway - so that's labor.

I'll bet that a pick and a cheap $5 folding saw and loppers will take the root ball to a 200 pound wad that can be rolled into a trailer in about 4 hours for one laborer.
 

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When they removed the tree did the root ball fall back into place? If it did you may want to use a backhoe and lift it back out, or use the skidsteer with the teeth attachment and load it on a tandem trailer/dump truck. Then fill the hole with top soil. Just be careful how you bid this job. It can be costly in both time and equipment.
 

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just a word of advise on this one, its hard to tell how large the tree is or the root ball. I got into a project like this a couple of yrs. ago after a storm after removing the tree the ball does fall back but never completly so we dug them out with a 555 ford hoe. the fun started when it came to load them, could'nt lift them with the hoe even after I knock off all the dirt I could with the hoe. My friend has an excavator that we used to put them on his trailor,2 at a time to go and dispose of them. Lesson learned, Root Ball can be extremly large and heavy If not for friend and his equipment I would be approx. 50pds lighter after lossing my a-s on that job.
 

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The best way to remove the root ball is with a stump grinder. Grind the whole root ball and stump then clean up the mess. I have to agree with olderthan root balls are very heavy a skid steer would do very little other than tear up the yard on a stump like that. The root ball in the picture would very easily weigh between 8 and 12 thousand pounds. plus it is still attached to the lower side. I have had alot of experince with these and I dout that 1 man and a pic could do very much in a day on digging it out. I would charge about 150 to 200 to grind a stump likr that. Just grind it and be done.

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Don't want to sound like a jerk to all you guys saying to grind it, but if you do you will be making about twice the work for yourselves. Spending time to grind the whole thing, just to make a mess your gonna have to remove in order to plant seed is just too much trouble.

Fastest and easiest way would be to remove the whole stump. Depending on size it can be removed with various different machines. Skid steer with grapple bucket, backhoe, apprentice loader, front loader, etc. Figure out what it will cost you to dump, plus the machine and operator time. Measure the area, and figure out how much topsoil would be needed, and charge accordingly. :cool:
 

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If you bring heavy equipment in to move a stump of this size not only will you still have a very big hole to fill, you will also have a whole yard that needs fixing not a small area. You can have it ground for less than the cost of any heavy equipment, then you take a pitch fork move the extra grindings pack it and add a small amount of top soil. I use bobcats backhoes and grapple trucks and grinding is the fastest and less damaging way to go.


Mike
 

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If you know how to run your equipment right you will not tear anything up. Removal of the entire stump is the way to go. If you dont you will have to bring in topsoil every year to fill in the sinkholes from the rotten roots and stump.
 

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If you bring heavy equipment in to move a stump of this size not only will you still have a very big hole to fill, you will also have a whole yard that needs fixing not a small area. You can have it ground for less than the cost of any heavy equipment
Dude, you driving up to a stump picking it up then pulling out. I wouln't be making a figure eight course on the lawn. More than likely, when the tree fell it already did damage to the lawn and has to be repaired anyway. And you don't seed on top of wood chips. You remove the chips and add soil.

Once you shake off all the dirt on that ball, that hole really wouln't be that deep. :cool:
 

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All I have to say is thousands of trees were toppled this past winter and I know I didn't see anyone removing any stumps. But there are and were a ton of sawdust piles. Most homeowers waited this summer and let it decompose and reseeded or planted a new tree. I would think the oppostite and that removing the stump would be alot more work b/c u now have to bring in a lot of topsoil. Alot of guys w/ some real stump grinders would be able to take out large trees like that one w/ stump grinder in 1/2 hour or less for $50 or so. I had one guy do 6 hemlocks, 1 bradford and one huge pine for $250 for two jobs that needed it done. He spent a little over 2 hours and the customers would much rather spend that little bit of money than have you charge what it would take to remove all listed beforehand.

Just speaking from experience.
 

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Its not about doing the job as quick as possible its about doing the job right. And in my opinion the right way is to totally remove the whole stump. Of course people arent going to remove 1000 stumps when the trees fell but this is 1 stump. From my experieince it doesnt matter how deep you go with a stump grinder and bring in more topsoil, the N in the soil still gets depleted by the rest of the stump in the ground and grass or shrubs will not grow right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There are many stumps like this in our area. I will most likely rent a small backhoe and remove them completely, then drag to the curb and the tree haulers from FEMA will dispose of it. This week we are finishing up seeding and aerating. For the last week and a half we have been cutting up fallen tree$ and moving them to the curb. We'll probably start removing these $tumps the middle of next week. Thanks for all ideas.
 

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I would have to agree with NCSU. I am speaking from experience also. Seeding on top of rotting stumps just results in problems. The reason why you were seeing so many "saw dust" piles, is because there was a significant amount of damage and it then became a budgetary concern. Granted the average homeowner would not want to spend an arm and leg to do the right job on all of them, but rather just get them into the ground. Just my .02 :cool:
 

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I'm sure that the hurricane that ripped through Virginia was definitely a budgetary concern. Usually where there is one toppled tree like that, there are a thousand more in a suburban setting. However, I can only speak from what we had to deal with this past winter where people just wanted the mess cleaned up and weren't too concerned about a small problem of growing grass where their tree once stood. They just wanted the huge, uprooted tree taken out ASAP. Now is that the best way and the way I would do it in my own yard. Probably not, but for 90% of the folks out there it is. Another consideration is that your now stuck with almost every homeowner facing something like this, this includes the weekend worriers who are used to doing this type stuff on their own but now have no way of doing and are not our normal type high income customer. You basically have an entire population having to deal with a disaster and that is why stump grinders were solely used around here this past winter.
 
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