Are you thinking about removing some trees so you can create something new in your garden or lawn area? Taking the steps to remove potentially troublesome trees can be wise and can assist homeowners in protecting their homes against possible damage from falling limbs—or even falling trees. Depending on your follow-up plans, it can also save time and costs associated with tree-related yard maintenance, such as raking leaves or regular pruning.
However, it often happens that the area where a tree stump was located vastly differs from the rest of the healthy lawn due to the presence of wood chips, sawdust, old root systems, and other organic material. Even after the debris from the stump removal is cleared, homeowners may still have trouble growing grass or other plants in the area. Some of these helpful tips from us at Mr. Tree Services might guide you in planting after tree removal so that it doesn’t create more work and frustration down the road.
Understand the Environment
After a tree or stump is removed, the soil that remains will be different from that of the rest of your garden or yard. This is important to keep in mind for any replanting, since it will affect how well any new growth occurs. The last tree also probably changed the soil and depleted it of many necessary nutrients that a young tree depends on, so consider wisely if you want to use the exact same spot.
Note that if you used chemicals or salt to remove the previous stump and roots, you might want to consider avoiding planting in this area altogether. The soil could be profoundly affected for some time after this, making it nearly impossible for any new plantings to survive in this location. It’s worth thinking about your future plans for the area before choosing the method you use to dispose of the stump and roots.
Roots from the previous tree may also create crowding should you choose to select that spot for planting after tree removal. Another thing to consider is whether or not the previous tree was diseased at all. If so, the pathogens could still remain in the soil, so keep that in mind when thinking about tree species.
Time Is Your Friend
One of the best ingredients for planting after tree removal is time. The tree that was removed will most likely still have roots in the soil, and these roots will slowly but surely decompose, but it’s not an overnight process. Ideally, one should wait about a year before planting a new tree in the same spot a tree was removed from. The ecology of that piece of ground will also keep changing for a few years, as microorganisms will be busily working to break down the old tree roots. A new tree will inevitably have to compete with these microorganisms for resources and nutrients, which will make it harder for your new tree to thrive.
Choose an Adjacent Site
What if you don’t have the patience to wait a year or more? We don’t blame you! The good news is that many of the risks of planting after tree removal are mitigated by simply selecting an area adjacent to the old tree. You want to select a spot that’s at least five feet from the old site, which will improve the chances of your new tree taking root and thriving. The absence of the removed tree will also positively influence new growth, since you’ve taken away any competition for sunlight. Don’t be distressed if the exact same spot isn’t suitable for planting—it may be that another site merely a few feet away is just as suitable for your planting needs.
If You’re Going to Plant in the Old Site …
It’s possible that you may have no suitable adjacent area for planting, so knowing how to best prepare the old site is key if you decide to take that route. While the organic matter left behind by the tree removal and stump grinding will decompose and even add important nutrients back into the soil, removing some of this sawdust and woodchip material is always a good idea. You can then mix it with new soil to create a more balanced environment, adding compost as well.
When selecting a new tree to plant, consider choosing a smaller tree with a smaller root ball so that the root system isn’t as crowded as it gets established in the ground. Another potential idea is to select something other than a tree to plant. For example, grass, flowers, or hedges could all be suitable alternatives, depending on the condition of the ground and soil where the tree was removed.
With any tree or plant that goes into the old site, however, make sure to offer it lots of TLC in the beginning to make sure it’s thriving as best as it can. Here’s a pro tip: use the old sawdust from the previous tree as mulch for other areas of your garden.
Talk to an Arborist
Still have questions about planting after tree removal? It can be an overwhelming process to first deal with the removal of an older tree, only to then have to shift gears entirely and think about how to deal with that same spot and how it can handle new growth. Your best bet might be contacting a certified arborist in your area, such as Mr. Tree Services, if you haven’t already been working with one during the tree removal process. We can guide you through the process of selecting the best adjacent site for replanting or will know what tree species will thrive in the old site. With some support, patience, and understanding, you’ll be planting again in no time!