Can an Excavator remove tree stumps?
- Guides, Tips, & Knowledge Centre
- 12 Oct, 2023
Can an Excavator remove tree stumps?
If you're asking the question 'Can an Excavator remove tree stumps?', you might also be wondering, 'What size Excavator do you need to remove tree stumps?' or 'Can a Mini Excavator remove stumps?'. This post will provide you with the answers.
The simple answer is... yes, you can remove tree stumps or similar objects with an excavator. The most favourable, effective and SAFEST way to do this is with a Ripper Tooth. This excavator attachment is designed with a narrow end point to help maximise the penetration force while digging. The pointed design helps to penetrate through the hard material around the stump (like solid mud or clay) and acts as a leaver to wedge under the stump and roots to dislodge them.
What size excavator can I use to remove tree stumps?
The size of the excavator you can use to remove your tree stump will depend on multiple factors. Including, the size of the tree, the depth of the roots, the conditions of the ground material and the amount of space surrounding the area you are working - you will need to dig a trench around the circumference of the stump so that the roots can be accessed and removed.
If you are trying to remove a fairly small tree stump from your yard - like the image below - a Mini Excavator will be sufficient!
A Mini Excavator is a machine between 0.75 - 6 Tons that can handle 1 - 20 Tons of weight, whether that be soil, aggregates or even bark. Mini Excavators are the most popular size of machine for DIY projects, smaller landscaping or construction jobs. A Ripper Tooth will be extremely effective with this machine size to remove a small tree stump, as they can easily dig up the roots and dig around the stump to dislodge it from the ground.
If you are trying to remove a moderately sized stump - like the image below - a Medium-sized Excavator will be more appropriate.
A Medium-sized, or Midi Excavator is a machine between 6 - 10 Tons that can handle 20 - 50 Tons of weight. This size machine will be best used for moderately sized tree stumps with more substantial roots that will need more power to help extract. Excavators this size are also most commonly used for small-scale demolition projects, commercial construction and landscaping projects and moderate excavation projects like ponds or small lakes. A Ripper Tooth would also be a beneficial attachment for a Midi Excavator as it will easily unearth a moderate sized stump, as well as other objects that you might want to remove like large boulders or old pipes.
If you are trying to remove a large stump - like the image below - a Standard Excavator will be necessary!
Although classified as a 'Standard' Excavator - do not be fooled - this machine size can vary from 10 - 45 Tons. These machines can handle material between 50 - 100+ Tons of weight. A Standard Excavator will be essential if you are trying to remove a larger stump, like you would typically find in a woodland. These trees will have roots that will be much thicker, heavy and deeper within the ground, meaning more power will need to be used to extract the stump. A large excavator will therefore be necessary to help dislodge this tree stump. As previously mentioned, a Ripper Tooth can be an extremely helpful attachment for helping to dislodge and extract objects like these in the ground.
How do I use a Ripper Tooth on my Excavator?
Step-by-step Guide: How to remove a tree stump using an Excavator
WARNING: Make sure you know where the utility lines (cables and pipes) are within the ground and be sure to avoid them!
Dig a metre wide trench around the tree stump to remove the top soil. Depending on the size of the tree and the tree roots, this will determine how difficult this first task will be. A smaller tree will have smaller and more fragile roots so these should be easier to remove. If the ground is too solid or the roots are too durable and embedded, a Ripper Tooth will be most efficient here. It will help to penetrate the solid ground so that you don't damage your bucket or bucket teeth and it will help rip out stubborn roots. You want to dig your trench 2 - 3 feet deep. This will enable you to detach the majority of the surrounding roots that run level with the ground. Try and dig out as much of the underneath of the stump as you can to help detach the underneath roots from the stump.
To help loosen the roots from underneath, push and pull the stump from different directions. If the stump is still not able to move, use your bucket or Ripper Tooth to continue to remove the soil and roots from under the stump as best you can. Then try again to push and pull the stump. Continue this until the stump begins to move.
Continue the process of pushing and pulling, and digging underneath the stump until the stump can be moved easily. We would recommend pushing the stump away from you with your bucket or Ripper Tooth so you are able to see underneath the stump as you're working. Once you have some movement in the stump, use your bucket or Ripper Tooth as leverage. Put your Excavator Boom over the top of the stump and reach your attachment under the stump - pulling and lifting, upwards or towards you to remove the stump from the ground.
The stump may come out in multiple pieces. If this happens, go back and repeat steps 2 and 3. You may want to remove any remaining roots from the ground, this can be done by using your bucket or Ripper Tooth to churn up the soil to loosen the roots and bring them to the surface. You can then easily remove these by hand or using your excavator bucket.