Although no arborist or other healthy environment-loving individual wants to see a tree removed, in certain circumstances, it has to be done. One of the challenges a homeowner frequently faces after having a tree and its stump removed is trying to grow grass in the area immediately surrounding the site of the former tree.
Not only is this frequently a challenge for homeowners, but it’s also of the utmost importance. Because the value of a home can fluctuate due even to its landscaping, homeowners are often motivated to see that the landscape is functionally and aesthetically restored as much as possible. This motivation is perhaps amplified if the site of a tree removal is in a highly visible location, such as a front lawn or above grade location.
Before the stump removal process can begin, the tree itself must first be removed, if not already accomplished. It is imperative that a homeowner work with a licensed and insured professional. If tree limbs are proximal to homes, vehicles, power lines or a neighbor’s property, then hazards positively exist. An Austin tree trimming professional can safely assist with the removal of those limbs in order to prevent damage to surrounding property. Once potential liabilities are taken care of, the tree, and consequently the stump, may then be removed.
A professional stump removal service provider typically removes a stump up to 12 inches below the grade. This is accomplished by grinding the stump. However, as a result of grinding, quite often many wood chips are left at the site.
It is important to remove as many of these chips as possible. This is because wood, even small pieces of it, like wood chips, takes a considerable amount of time to decompose. Any wood chip fragments remaining at the site of the stump removal will compete for the nitrogen that is present in the soil. Of course, competition between the wood chips and any grass seed that is applied to the site could defeat the purpose of attempting to grow grass altogether.
For the environmentally-conscious homeowner, wood chip fragments that remain at the site of the removed tree and are collected can be placed in a compost pile. Although the breakdown of the chips may take some time, the resulting compost can be recycled, used in other outdoor landscaping projects down the road. Not only is this cost-effective for the homeowner, but it’s also a great way to take some environmentally-responsible action if a tree absolutely has to be removed.
If you are uncertain that all wood chips have been removed from the site, the eventual presence of mushrooms are reasonable indicators that all wood chips were not removed. They exist because of the decomposition process taking place below ground.
Additionally, if you are uncertain that all wood chips have been removed, applying nitrogen fertilizer not only may lessen the chances of competition between superfluous wood chips and the grass seed, but may also hasten their effective decomposition.
Backfill the site with topsoil or compost. Keep in mind that pockets of air or the eventual breakdown of wood fragments may cause some settling of the soil. Adding soil slightly above the grade is recommended to offset the potential for sinking.
Add seed to the site for the grass of your choosing and cover with straw or sand to facilitate growth. This may not be necessary if the seed you selected is already mixed with a mulch of some sort.
Consult an Austin tree care specialist for further assistance in successfully growing grass where a tree once stood.
About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit http://www.centraltexastreecare.com.