Yes, You Can Replant The Old Tree Hole!
It was the best of trees, then it was the worst of trees.
It’s so sad to see a long-standing tree go. We do everything we can to make sure a tree doesn’t have to be taken down, but if it’s beyond saving, down and out it goes. Limbs mulched, trunk dissected, and stump ground, there’s soon an empty space in our hearts and our yards.
So let’s start fresh, shall we?
There are a few reasons it may not be advisable to replant a tree the same spot of a removed tree:
- Remaining dead roots in the ground may limit space for new roots to sprawl.
- Nutrient imbalances. Remaining sawdust doesn’t provide much in the way of nutrition, and the previous tree probably did a good job of leeching the site of its resources.
- If the previous tree had a disease, the pathogen may be lying in wait for a fresh new host.
Then of course, there are reasons we want to replant in the same area. It’s a perfect spot! It promises shade, a view from your window, a privacy screen, or a cherished place amongst your garden.
So how do I prepare the site to give a new tree the best odds?
Ok, this will take some work. The stump must be ground out 10-12 inches below soil level. Most of a tree’s root system exists in the top 12 inches of soil, so this removes most of the root material. Remove as much sawdust from the hole, cut out as many roots as possible (avoiding any living roots from neighboring plants), and refill with topsoil and compost. If a pathogen may be present, clear debris away from the site and replant a tree species that isn’t susceptible to infection. You may wait a year or so to replant a space if it’s the dead of winter or summer, or to allow the soil to regain some of its microbiome.
What can I plant in (or around) its place?
In St. Louis, we have so many lovely and ecologically beneficial options.
- Oaks: Some of our favorites are chinkapin, shumard, willow, shingle, and nutall. Here’s a more extensive list of oaks native to Missouri.
- Flowering trees: dogwood, redbud, serviceberry, crabapple, and magnolia
- Tulip tree
- Black gum
- Fringe tree
- Eastern hop hornbeam
- American linden
- Bald cypress
- Easter red cedar
NOTE: If your taller felled tree was providing shade for understory trees and plants in your yard, be advised: those plants may not be prepared to handle the exposure at first and they will become stressed. Make sure they are well mulched, fertilized (if needed), and treated for any pests or diseases. This will give them the best shot at bouncing back from the shock.
Feel free to contact us if you’d like some more advise or help with the process of replanting a tree. Happy planting!
We were very pleased with the service and particularly the knowledge & professionalism of your staff. We would certainly recommend you.
We are very pleased with the plantings suggested by and picked out by Mike. The men arrived on time to plant the boxwood and witch hazel tree; dug out the stump and cleaned up. They were pleasant and helpful – we couldn’t have asked for a better team.
We were very pleased and impressed with Dan and his team. We love our new trees and garden.
Thank you so much for all the information you provide – the watering information, the emails and the flier. I read it all and have learned so much. My magnolia trees look surprisingly healthy considering the way they looked when I first called.
Kevin Seger provided expert advice and recommendations about tree maintenance and removal. He listened to my needs and provided a thorough and affordable proposal. On the day of the job, I was very impressed with crew leader, Dave and his team (Felix & Adam). They were professional, efficient, hard-working and very neat about clean-up.
An outstanding job on the four trees and clean-up after the work and removal. We would be happy to recommend your services to everyone – the best tree service we ever have had here in St. Louis.
Kevin was able to come out the same day I called and a crew was out the next day! Great prompt service. I was not at home when the work was done but results show they did a fine job.
Everyone came through as usual when I needed the crew to come back & take out the balance of the fire blight. They did not have a bucket the first time and were so nice and professional about coming back again.
Thank you again for responding to our urgent need after the storm took down our 2 trees & deposited them across our driveway. Your crew, as always, did a fabulous job. Professional, courteous & it is a pleasure doing business with your company.
We appreciate your knowledge and professionalism. Your employees are prompt and courteous and willing to do whatever needs to be done to complete the project. Cleanup was great.