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Tree Stump

Tom Pavlo

Joined: Jul 22, 2011
Posts: 25

Unfortunately, we just lost a nice, large oak in our front yard. Our neighborhood has been under construction and this one nice oak just didn't make it. It was about 75 feet tall, I would guess. The city came and cut it down today (an arborist told me that it died from having its roots disturbed by the contruction and road being put in as well as the hurricane this summer).

We now have a tree stump in our yard, which really isn't a terrible thing. However, I would like to plant a new tree in its place; not an oak necessarily, but perhaps something flowering. If I plant a new tree right next to a stump, should I be concerned? Is there anything wrong with that? It seems to me that it would take a long time to get any sort of hugelkulture (hope I spelled that right!) benefits from the rotting stump and roots. I heard that potassium nitrate is supposed to help speed up the rotting, but I don't see that as very organic.

If I do plant a new tree nearby (in the spring), how far should it be away from the old stump? Is there a proximity which is good or bad? I live in the Northeast, climate zone 5, I believe. I think that removing the stump would be a big project, and I like the idea of the old root structure rotting away and helping the soil around it. Perhaps it will attract more of the beloved worms for my lawn!

Thanks for all of your input and thoughts!
Shawn Harper

Joined: Mar 01, 2012
Posts: 234
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
I'm not sure tree wise what would be good, but... Do you know what an oak stump is good for? A pretty planter. Just hallow it out a bit and plant a nice herb or small shrub in it.

She changes everything She touches, and everything She touches changes.
Cory Allan

Joined: Sep 03, 2011
Posts: 60
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Yes - use the stump as a garden feature or, if you are able to cut it low enough, bury it with soil and plant stuff over and around it and it will break down fast enough. I did this with a large birch tree we lost to disease and old age in our front yard.
Here's an idea, if you're feeling adventurous (and if the stump isn't in full sun). Get a large drill bit and bore out a bunch of holes and plant shitake mushroom plugs. They love oak. otherwise, bore out a larger hole, add some soil and a comfrey root cutting and let the Power of Comfrey break it down and feed off it. They have deep and powerful roots, but I don't know if they can penetrate a fresh oak stump, but I wouldn't be surprised, either way.
Joe Braxton

Joined: Mar 24, 2012
Posts: 308
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
Tom Pavlo wrote:Hi,

I heard that potassium nitrate is supposed to help speed up the rotting, but I don't see that as very organic.

True, but if you add charcoal and sulfur it could get rid of the stump very fast.
It's in the permaculture playing cards. Here's the link:
subject: Tree Stump