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Plant With Care Over a Newly Ground Stump

Planting A Tree
It's thrilling to see unsightly stumps in your yard disappear. You probably have some idea of what you want to plant in place of the ugly stumps, but you should proceed with patience. Here are a few tips on how to plant new growth over a freshly ground tree stump.

The Issue Is What You Can't See

Remember the tree once attached to the stump? If you can imagine how wide the tree's outer branches were, you can now imagine how extensive the tree's roots grew underground.

Roots radiate from the stump of many trees as far or farther than the upper branches radiate from the trunk. That means the stump is only the tip of the underground iceberg when it comes to roots. If your tree service doesn't grind the roots as well as the stump, your planting range is limited.

Over time, the tree roots encircling a stump will rot. However, this process may take years with larger trees. In the meantime, tough, woody roots near the stump will make it hard for another tree to establish its own root system in the soil.

The Soil Needs Monitoring

Each type of plant wants a certain amount of sunlight, water, and nutrients including nitrogen. Plants also grow lush and disease-free when they're planted in soil at the proper pH level for their particular cultivation needs.

After a stump is ground, the soil around the stump undergoes a lot of changes that make it an unsuitable growing medium for many plants. The sudden influx of wood chips can deplete nitrogen from the soil. The pH may be too acidic as the wood fibers break down into dirt.

Add plenty of soil amendments if you're going to plant near or on top of a ground tree stump. Check the soil with a test kit, or ask your tree service to check the soil for you.

When the pH is too acidic for grass, flowers, and other alkaline-loving plants, add lime to the soil. When soil is too sandy or clay-packed, use compost. To correct imbalances and deficiencies in soil, increase the amount of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. For healthy plant growth, add calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and zinc to soil.

The Level Look Takes Time

If the hole left by the stump is backfilled with wood chips, the ground will settle as the chips rot. You may have to refill the area with soil several times to make the ground settle flush with the rest of your yard.

If you're planting grass over the area, dig out as much of the woody root material and sawdust as you can. Add slightly more compost than needed to the soil you loosen, so the ground level is slightly higher than the ground around it. As the roots decompose, the soil will settle lower.

Once grass develops over the area, you can dig up patches of the sod to add more soil beneath the grass as needed. Simply edge a large rectangle of sod and pull it back from the soil to add compost or topsoil. Tamp down the sod well and water it immediately after adding the soil. Keep the sod well-watered for a few days. 

If you plan to plant a tree near the old tree stump, choose a location at least 3 feet or more from the original stump. A smaller tree will have ample time to establish its root system as the old tree's roots decompose.

You can also plant a flower bed, ornamental shrub, or berry bush where the old tree once stood. Since the ground around a ground tree stump may be uneven for a while, a deep flower bed or sprawling bush is a great way to cover the changing landscape without extensive digging in the yard.

Get rid of those ugly tree stumps now by calling Anderson Tree Company today. We offer complete stump removal services in the Greater Sacramento area.