Tree Surgeon

Services In Aberdeen – Tree Stump Removal

At Arborist-Direct Aberdeen tree stump removal is almost as common as tree pruning or tree felling in Aberdeenshire with many residential clients not wanting a tree stump left in their garden. We are able to provide expert advice and costings for all solutions to Aberdeenshire & Aberdeen tree stump removal work or reduction. Once the site has been surveyed by our staff will the work-scope can be agreed, allowing the appropriate method, equipment and man-power to be selected for an efficient, cost effective operation.

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Retaining a Tree Stump

Your tree is being cut down; the decision to retain or remove the stump should ideally be taken before the tree felling starts.

Retaining a tree stump is the lowest, short-term, cost option, but the following questions need to be considered:- Do you keep the stump to assist local wildlife? Do you keep the stump as a decorative feature? (bird table / bird bath). Do you need to landscape or will the stump be completely out of out of the way? Could landscaping plans change, bringing additional costs for later rectification works? Having the stump removed as part of the initial arboreal work will be far lower cost than having to call back the contractor at a later date.

Retaining a tree stump does bring concerns which can be explored with Arborist-Direct Aberdeen tree stump removal specialists (Tree surgeons and arborists). Some trees readily sprout new-growth shoot or suckers from a retained tree stump. ( eg Sycamore): Such new growth would need cutting off each year, for several years, before the stump and roots finally die. If the stump is large the number of shoots can be considerable. Special herbicides can be applied to kill the trunk quicker, but safety and environmental impacts need to be considered.

Fungus Growth Problems. Dying tree stumps are ideal locations for fungus growth: This can pose a disease threat to remaining adjacent trees and plant-life. Additional information is available from Arborist-Direct Aberdeen tree stump removal specialists or from the Royal Horticultural Society website.

Arborist Direct Aberdeen Tree Stump Removal Suggestions

Digging & Cutting

This manual method may appear to be a low-cost, but is very time and energy consuming. The ground surrounding a stump is slowly excavated until the root portions of the stump are uncovered and then cut off. This undoubtedly will involve a large hole, considerable disruption to surrounding grounds and if contracted out, will be very expensive because of the time involved. Arborist-Direct Aberdeen are unlikely to recommend this option for tree stump removal.

Digging & Winching

This option requires significant equipment and extensive access around the stump to be removed. A mechanical excavator digs around the stump until the roots are broken; the remaining stump is then winched out of the ground using an anchored winch or a large truck/ bulldozer. Arborist-Direct Aberdeen are only likely to recommend such a technique for multiple roots in an agricultural setting where total roots need removing, land needs to be utilised in a short time-frame and heavy winching equipment is readily available.


If the tree stump to be removed is not large and equipment access is available, them a mechanical excavator may be able to remove the root with little extra disruption.

Tree Stump Grinding

This is the most common method of tree stump removal and is most likely to be recommended by Arbortist-Direct Aberdeen as the quickest, most cost effective and least disruptive way of removing a tree stump, especially in most urban residential garden settings.

Most stump grinders are independent, petrol motor powered, easily transported and able to access most work sites. In the hands of a trained operator they can remove a stump in less than an hour, depending on the depth of removal required. The stump is ground by the rotating cutters into coarse sawdust or mulch, which can be collected for removal or used as garden cover to reduce weed growth or act as a material for dry walkways and foot-paths. Tree stump grinders come in various shapes and sizes and are explained in the section below. (Arborist Direct Aberdeen – Aberdeen Tree Stump Removal)

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Aberdeen Tree Stump Removal

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Chemical Treatment

Chemicals can be applied to living stumps and roots to kill them more quickly and to speed up the rotting process. Deep holes are drilled in the stump and filled with chemical granules: This enables the stump to decay more rapidly over several months, either to a point where they can be more easily dug/ chopped out, or to be left for longer when they may be able to be burned out.  In this stump removal method the chemicals (potassium nitrates or bromides) are not very environmentally friendly; plus the site must be fenced or closed off to prevent access by wildlife or children. Chemical treatments are unlikely to be recommended by Arborist-Direct.


If a tree stump can be left for two or three years it may be possible to burn the dead, dry remains using kerosene: Many deep holes are drilled into the stump from the top and sides, the holes are filled with kerosene and allowed to soak into the dead wood. After a few days additional kerosene is applied to the holes and ignited using cloth wicks. The burning stump is fuelled by air entering through the horizontal holes drilled in the stump sides. If burning continues, it will take several days to consume the tree stump to a level where the ground can be recovered for other uses. This method of stump removal is not guaranteed to be successful and is very time consuming as the whole process takes several years. Undoubtedly it is extremely low cost!

Chain Saw

Tree stump removal can be made to appear as a very simple task: Clients may be tempted by promotions to attempt a super-cheap solution by following the route to remove a tree stump with a chain-saw: This is a very dangerous activity and should certainly not be undertaken by any amateur woodsman. Hitting a stone with a chainsaw will at least result in a damaged saw and may result in multiple projectiles hurting the operator or other bystanders; plus, the chain saw may jam or kick as it is used in a non-designed manner.

Arborist Direct Aberdeen would rarely suggest that any Aberdeen tree stump removal should be attempted with a chain saw.

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Stump Removal aberdeen

Reasons for Tree Stump Removal

  • The initial consideration for removal of a tree stump is that it is likely to be unsightly and a hazard to people walking in the area. Although most stumps can be cut to 10 to 15 cm from ground level they can still look ugly if in plain sight and be a tripping hazard to workers and older people. (Although they can also be fun for young children! )
  • Often a tree stump retained in a garden is in an inappropriate location – This can impact landscaping, garden layout and plant choice; it will certainly detract from the laying of turf. For patio construction removal of as much of a stump as possible is required, preferably well below ground level, or future subsidence is likely to impact the clean lines of the stone-work. A raised decking may initially appear a reasonable solution to cover a stump but growth of young shoots and fungus can seriously impact the end result.
  • There may be an immediate need for access, such as a footpath or road; which prevents the retention of a tree stump
  • Any future plans for building works or pipework and drainage need to be carefully considered. Although building contractors could tackle such stump removal, they will be far less expert and have less access to the specialist equipment.

Tree Stump Grinders

Stump Grinding machines are the most common and safest way to remove tree stumps: They should be operated by trained Technicians certified in their use. As with all other Tree Surgeon work the machine operators must be equipped with the correct personal protective equipment. Arborist-Direct Tree Surgeons are able to advise on the most appropriate equipment for the task in-hand.

Stump grinders are usually petrol motor powered machines, moved on two or four wheels; the larger, more commercial, ones move on caterpillar-tracks. Cutting is performed by a vertical rotating wheel ( ‘blade’) mounted with tungsten carbide cutters: these cutters can be adjusted or exchanged to give the most efficient cutting action. The wood of the tree stump is milled into coarse sawdust or mulch by moving the rotating cutter ‘blade’ across the stump in a horizontal arc. The cutting arc is gradually moved forward and down as the stump is removed in layers.

The simplest devices are manually pushed on two wheels to the location, where one wheel is locked and the other swung around it, moving the vertical cutting blade in a horizontal arc across the stump surface. Larger, one man operated, machines have powered traction wheels and a swivel mechanism allowing both transport wheels to be locked whilst the cutter can be more accurately positioned and progressed. Even larger machines have four wheels, capable of more commercial tree stump removal, but these require two operators. The largest machines are propelled across any terrain by utilising caterpillar tracks – these can be widened or narrowed depending on the access space and terrain needing more stabilisation. The most commercial machines used in forestry can be radio controlled by remote operators, well clear of the aggressive cutting action.

Costing – Tree Stump Removal using Stump Grinders becomes a cost effective, routine operation when planned and executed by experienced Tree Surgeons and trained Technicians. Assessing the work scope and knowing the equipment to be utilised enables Arborist-Direct Aberdeen to provide accurate cost estimates for most tree stump removal projects.

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