Planting Grass After Stump Grinding: 7 Steps To Luscious Green Grass!

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Is the grass not growing back where you had a tree removed, or are you having trouble planting grass after stump grinding?

Don’t worry – it’s not your fault and it’s not your lawn’s fault. Even those who use the best stump grinding equipment will suffer from this. We had some large ornamental cherry trees removed from the front of our property last year and had this same problem.

There are some particular things you need to do when planting grass seed after you have had a tree and stump removed. If you follow these simple steps your lawn will come back lush and green in no time.

Grass Won’t Grow Over Old Stump

planting grass after tree removal

Grass won’t grow over old stump?

No worries, it’s something you can definitely fix.

A lot of people have trouble growing grass after a stump is removed for three main reasons:

  1. Not enough nitrogen in the soil because it’s being used to break down the wood chips, sawdust, and roots left in the ground
  2. The heat of composting old tree material burns the roots of new grass and prevents it from growing strong and healthy
  3. Wrong grass seed selection for the soil and area

Because you will end up with a significant amount of sawdust and mulch during tree and stump removal, the area will need extra nitrogen to help break it down.

A chainsaw creates a significant amount of sawdust, and stump grinding leaves even more debris behind. New grass is difficult to grow because there is so much activity going on to break down that old material.

There are many uses for sawdust around the home, and wood chips can also simply be added to the garden with some animal manure or placed straight into the compost. Moving the leftover tree materials to break down elsewhere will allow your grass to grow back more easily.

Here are the steps to follow after having a tree stump removed for your grass to grow back green and luscious!

What To Do After Stump Grinding

This video shares some good tips on how to grow a new lawn from seed after having a stump removed.

Keep in mind it’s important to have as much of the stump removed as possible so the soil can develop underground. You don’t want to only lower the stump to a few inches below ground level, you want it all gone.

Follow these steps to plant grass after tree removal:

  1. Clean up as much of the sawdust and wood chips as possible
  2. Fill the hole left behind after stump removal with quality lawn soil
  3. If the stump hole is already filled, loosen up the existing soil
  4. Sprinkle a lawn fertilizer that is high in Nitrogen (Scott’s Max Green is perfect)
  5. Cover that with quality lawn soil
  6. Sprinkle your seed on top of that – alternatively, use a soil/seed mix (eg. Scott’s Thick’R)
  7. Water, water, water!

Make sure the grass is kept moist while growing, and not allowed to dry out. For this reason, it’s best to plant grass seed in the spring or fall, before it is too hot or cold.

You will need to continue to add nitrogen every couple of months to this area for up to a year as the grass properly establishes itself.

That’s all there is to it.

I’ve had a lot of trouble with birds or even my backyard chickens getting into my newly planted grass seed, so I often cover the seed with another layer of soil.

If the birds really won’t leave it alone, I cover the soil and seed with a layer of hay. The grass happily grows up through the hay. It looks a bit untidy for a bit, but once the grass has been established you can mow it up and it’ll be tidy again.

What To Do With Stump Grindings

stump grinders

What do we do with all those leftovers from stump grinding?

Sometimes we’re talking piles of wood chips, sawdust, and remnants of roots. It might seem like a nuisance, but with a sprinkle of creativity, we can turn these remnants into a resource.

If you’re the gardening type, those wood chips and sawdust are pure gold!

Wood chips make an excellent mulch for your garden beds. They help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and as they break down, they even contribute nutrients back to the soil. Just remember to compost them first or pair them with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to balance out their high carbon content.

As for the sawdust, it’s not just for hamsters! You can mix it into your compost pile, use it to mulch pathways, or even sprinkle it around plants that appreciate a little acidity, like blueberries or azaleas.

However, if gardening isn’t your thing, no problem! Many communities have green waste programs that will happily accept your wood chips and sawdust. You could also offer them to local farms or gardening centers – they’d probably be thrilled!

So, next time you find yourself staring down a pile of stump grindings, don’t fret. With a dash of imagination, you’re not looking at waste – you’re looking at a world of possibilities.

Soil Testing

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While nitrogen is indeed a key player in the game of grass growth, don’t overlook the value of a thorough soil test.

You see, it’s not just nitrogen that your newly-planted grass craves. There’s an entire buffet of nutrients that it needs to flourish, and soil testing is the most reliable way to ensure your turf is getting what it needs.

Before you proceed with the soil and seed mix, consider having a soil test done. A soil test can reveal a world of information about your soil’s pH levels and other vital nutrients that can affect grass growth. It’s a bit like a health check-up for your lawn, ensuring that all the necessary nutrients are present in the right amounts.

Remember, our goal here isn’t just to grow grass – it’s to grow the greenest, thickest, most envy-inducing lawn in the neighborhood!

Conducting a soil test can also help you determine the best grass seed for your specific yard conditions. It’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Different types of grass have different nutritional appetites, and they thrive under varying soil conditions. By understanding your soil composition, you can make an informed decision about which grass seed will perform best on your lawn.

So, before you rush into scattering that grass seed, give soil testing a thought. After all, if we’re going to give our lawns a little TLC after the stress of tree removal, we might as well make sure we’re doing it right! A soil test may be that extra step, but believe me, your luscious, thriving lawn will thank you for it.

Grass Seed Selection

Now that we’ve got our soil testing out of the way, let’s talk about grass seed selection.

I know, I know, grass seed doesn’t exactly sound like the most exciting topic, but hear me out. The type of grass seed you choose can be the difference between a lawn that’s “just okay” and a lawn that’s outstanding!

Just like you wouldn’t plant a cactus in Alaska, some grass types are fussy about where they put down roots. Different species thrive in varying climates, soil types, and levels of sun exposure. So, we’ve got to be strategic.

For example, cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue are stellar performers in northern climates, while warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass or Zoysia grass love the heat of southern regions.

Your soil test results will also help you decide which type of grass will play nicely with your soil’s pH and nutrient levels. And always remember to check the label on your grass seed mix. It should tell you what type of grass it is and the conditions it prefers.

In the end, selecting the right grass seed isn’t rocket science, but it does require a bit of lawn care savvy. So choose wisely and your lawn will be thanking you with thick, lush, emerald-green growth in no time!

Planting Grass After Tree Removal – FAQs

It’s always exciting getting a tree down and enjoying that new space, but even better when it can be grass over and brought in with the rest of the lawn.

The important things to remember are:

  1. Add plenty of nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the soil
  2. Keep new grass seed moist while sprouting and growing
  3. Re-fertilizer as the grass takes hold of the soil

Keep these things in mind and put them into action and you’ll have no trouble planting grass over stump grindings.

Does it make a difference what type of tree you are planting over?

Whether it’s an oak, birch, or pine tree that you have removed and are planting over, these steps should work. Larger trees that have massive root networks will require more work to grass over as the roots compost. Just follow these steps on a greater scale.

Can you plant over wood chips?

As long as the wood chips are not too large, it’s not a massive problem to leave them behind. However, the more wood chips you remove, the easier it will be for your new turf to grow.

How long do you have to wait to plant a tree after stump grinding?

Planting a new tree in the old hole is another option. It is possible to plant a new tree in an old hole straight away, though letting the soil rest and find equilibrium for 6 months would be best. If planting immediately, find out the optimal fertilizer for the new variety and prepare the ground diligently.

How do you level the ground after tree removal?

Using a stump grinder is the best way to level the ground after you have had a tree removed. These machines can take care of stumps and roots. Call a lawn care professional or rent a stump grinder from your local equipment hire depot.

How to repair lawns after tree removal?

If your lawn has been gouged after having a tree fall on it, it’s best to simply fill the holes with good soil and seed mix. Fertilize your lawn with a product high in Nitrogen and keep well watered through the hot and dry months.

Stump Hole

If the grass is dying where a tree was removed, following the steps we’ve outlined in this post will have it grow back in with the rest of the lawn in no time.

Don’t become content with an ugly stump hole or dead sections of your lawn – a little bit of care will have it growing well FAST. Alternatively, have you thought about setting up a fire pit after stump grinding? It won’t be possible in some situations, but could work well in some!

Having a fire pit on grass will also damage your lawn, but it will grow back faster than after stump removal.

Let us know if you have any further questions about planting grass after stump grinding, or feel free to share your stories in the comments below. We hope you got some good firewood out of it as well!


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6 thoughts on “Planting Grass After Stump Grinding: 7 Steps To Luscious Green Grass!”

  1. Thank you so much for the heads up about how you may not be able to plant over a ground tree stump immediately. We have several stumps just lying around our property, and I figured I should find out if we can remove them and rejuvenate the land they’re on somehow. I’ll make sure to follow your advice and wait for a few months after I get a tree service to grind those stumps before planting around them.

  2. I was wondering why my grass wasn’t growing back where we had a tree and stump removed. I was blaming the birds! I think it’s for the reasons you’ve outlined, thanks.

  3. Hi,
    We’re in zone 5 and planted grass from seed in fall of 2021 to cover some pine trees that were cut down in 2020. That grass is now turning yellow over all the spots where the trees were growing. What is the earliest in spring 2022 that I can apply nitrogen? Would you recommend a 10-10-10 fertilizer or a different product? Does Milorganite have enough nitrogen in it to counter act this problem?


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