You are likely looking forward to the removal of a troublesome stump and the reclaiming of a portion of your yard. Before the workers arrive, take some time to get prepared for the removal so it can occur without a problem.
Prepare Your Lawn
Preparation of the lawn begins a couple of days before the tree service arrives with the stump grinder in tow. It's a smart idea to mow the lawn to its customary height first since long grass is more likely to get matted down and damaged from the traffic on the lawn during the grinding process. Further, turn off the irrigation system one or two days before the grinding date, since wet soil is more likely to get rutted when the grinding equipment is moved onto the lawn.
Clear Access Paths
The tree service needs sufficient room to move the stump grinder into place and to operate it. A grinder is a medium-sized piece of equipment, comparable in size to a medium-sized riding lawn mower, so make sure there are clear paths between the stump and the expected loading zone on the street that can accommodate the equipment. Lawn ornaments, outdoor toys, and furniture should be moved well away from the work area.
Mark Sprinkler Lines
Stump grinders usually only grind the stump 6 inches to a foot into the soil, so there is typically no need to mark utility lines like gas and water. The service will notify the utility companies, though, if for some reason they will be going deeper into the soil or digging up any roots around the stump. For your part, it is a good idea to use flags to mark the location of any sprinkler heads or emitters near the stump or along the path the stump grinder will be taken across the lawn, simply to avoid damage to the sprinkler heads.
Have a Site Plan
Finally, have an idea of what you plan to do with the site once the stump is gone. For many homeowners, the plan is to sod over the bare area with fresh lawn grass or to install a flower bed. The sawdust left behind during stump removal is high in carbon, but it is very nitrogen deficient — which makes it hard to grow grass and ornamentals. You can request that the grinding company remove and dispose of as much of the sawdust from the site as possible so that you can add soil to create a much more nitrogen and carbon balanced planting site. Purchase compost and topsoil ahead of time to fill the hole since it won't be leveled off with the sawdust from the grinding.
Contact a tree stump removal service for more help.