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 two 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

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 easier.

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

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 a 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 basically all there is to it.

I’ve had a lot of trouble with birds or even my backyard chickens getting into my newly plant 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.

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 had removed and are planting over, these steps should work. Larger trees that had 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 lawn 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 a 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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5 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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