A tree service arrives, removes a tree, and grinds away the stump and the uppermost part of the root system. The homeowner must then decide what to do with the often large and unattractive hole in their yard. Many people are anxious to plant grass, flowers or another tree in the exact spot where the stump was removed. However, there are some reasons why it is better to wait for a period of time before completing this project.
The decaying wood may rob nitrogen from the soil.
After grinding the stump there will often be sawdust that ends up tilled into the soil. As this sawdust and the roots decay, they typically lower the nitrogen level in the soil. Nitrogen is a major component of chlorophyll and amino acids. Without amino acids the plants will lack protein and without chlorophyll be unable to process the energy from the sun. It is important to keep this in mind when adding soil to the hole that remains after the stump is removed. Adding a high quality plant soil, organic waste like used coffee grounds and composted manure will help to improve the soil quality. Most people will have greater success if they wait a season or two to allow the soil to recover before they plant anything new.
Sprouts may grow from the remaining root.
After a tree is removed the remaining roots in the ground may sprout and lead to new tree growth. If the area is left clear for a while the sprouts are easy to spot and remove. If the yard has been seeded the sprouts may interfere with the lawn growth. Using translocated herbicides will help to kill off the sprouts and destroy the root because this type of herbicide travels through the sprout into the root system. Since the roots are already in the process of decaying, this type of treatment will speed up the process.
Depressions in the yard appear as roots decay.
Filling in the gap left after the stump is removed will prevent people and pets from falling in the hole. Over time the area will sink as the remaining wood decays. This means a new depression will form and more soil is needed to level the ground sufficiently. The amount of soil and the extent of the depression will depend on the size of the tree and its underground root system. With a small tree, it is sometimes unnoticeable and no additional fill is needed. Large, mature trees will have deeper and more extensive root systems that could lead to very noticeable depressions.
While giving Mother Nature a little time to recover, it is common to see mushroom growth over the ground where a tree was removed. Mushrooms thrive in soil where there is plenty of organic waste to nourish them and the decaying tree roots are a good source of that organic material. Rather than remove the mushrooms or spray a fungicide, it is better for homeowners to allow them to grow. Mushrooms are a sign of healthy soil and are beneficial to many types of plants. Their growth can encourage healthier soil when it comes time to replant.