How to remove these ferns from around my tree

Hello /r/landscaping!

We're thinking about how to best remove this large bed of ferns from around the tree in our front yard. They're really overgrown and don't look that great.

We tried digging up a section one afternoon and quickly realized how much work it's going to take to get all of these out. I got an offer to have someone come out with a stump grinder and chew up the root bed. I was wondering if that would harm the tree? Do you know of a better way to tackle this problem? Any help you could provide would be great.

First time posting here, so let's get to those bullet points:

*Location – We're in Southwest Florida, where it's hot and humid (111 with the heat index today). Lots of rain this time of year, and then we get a good dry period during the winter.

*Soil Conditions – Pretty sandy and drains moderately well for this area. We're very close ( < 100 yards) from the Caloosahatchee River.

*Which Side of House – Front yard, and the house faces North.

*Budget – Quote was $100 plus the rental cost of the grinder. Would go higher if it's a safer play for the health of the tree.

*Your Experience Level – Novice. This is our first landscaping "project" in our new home.

*Pictures – See the attached Imgur album. Includes 4 photos: Front view from road, back view from yard, ground level view showing height of rootbed, and closeup shot of rootbed.

submitted by /u/WhyDoYouAsk2Dogs
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