I had 7 large pines removed because they were shading the plot for my
future vegetable garden and because they had lost most of the needles
from the lower third of the trees. I couldn't bring myself to pay an
additional small fortune to grind the stumps, so they were cut off
flush with the ground. I would like to plant a mixed shrub border in
this spot to provide some visual interest as well as a low windbreak.
Will I be able to get anything to grow here with the remains of the
pine roots still in place? Since the trees are gone they will
obviously not be competing with the new plants for water or nutrients,
but will the pine roots allow the new plants to spread their own roots
and become established?
The soil is clay/loam and somewhat rocky, in addition to the remains
of the pines. Other plantings outside of this root zone have done very
well since I bought the house 4 yrs. ago. The area does get full sun
in zone 5.
I do not know if a pine was ever coppiced. (sp?) By this do pines put
up suckers like holly or oak ? Anyway I'd drive a copper nail into the
stump if it shows interest in growing.
Flat stumps could provide a place for a few large pots or a place to
secure a mail box to keep frequently used hand tools.
S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
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Should be no problem, the roots will eventually decompose. You can
accelerate the process by cutting the surface of the stump with a chainsaw
or ax, put a couple of shovels of local dirt on the stump, fertilize
occasionally, and water occasionally. That will encourage wood fungus to
attack the tissue.
water and essential elements
You will probally have root decay fungi with the pine roots when their
energy runs out. As long as your new plants are healthy that should not be
a problem. Also here is planting suggestions.
Many tree problems are associated with the following: They are Case
I do not have a specific answer to your question. The root decay (rot) may
well be a species armillaria. Your new plants would be fine if they are
healthy. The plant would have to be in a predisposition. Some fungi are
species specific. When energy reserves are low, secondary organisms will
advance. A good article on predisposition is here:
Dr. Shigo pointed out many times at his cabin that on many tree stumps after
3 years following cutting of trees, armillaria fruiting bodies were present.
As the roots decay, your new plants will be somewhat N starved, so
be prepared to supplement. Otherwise, if you can get the new plants
in the ground and keep them watered, you should be fine.
Our property is a mostly clay soil with lots of rocks... lots and lots
and lots of rocks. I far prefer to plant smaller specimens (1 gallon
size and smaller) because otherwise I have to get the neighbor with
the backhoe to dig planting holes for me. Hope yours is not quite so
rocky. <g> I also often have to finish filling the hole with
compost or such, because when I remove a few rocks to get enough
room to plant, the soil volume isn't enough to refill the hole.
Because long term perennials (including shrubs and trees) do better
in the long run in un-amended soil, I do try to refill with as
much native soil as I can.
I have lots of rocks as well, but they are small enough to be easily
removed and there is plenty of soil mixed in with them. I was mainly
concerned about the root mass from formerly well established trees
causing problems for the new plants.
Any suggestions for shrubs that would do well in this situation? As I
said the area gets full sun and is, of course, quite acidic due to the
previous occupants. I would like something that can screen the view to
the neighbors as well as provide a bit of a wind break in the winter.
The area is about 50' long by 20' wide.
Yeah, I was thinking of the acidic, which to my mind cries out for
highbush blueberries (which are attractive-looking, and delicious if
you get any fruit out of them).
Also azaleas/rhododendron (you can find some tall ones, but that might
require a bit of research as some of the most popular kinds are
shorter, and I don't know how many years it takes them to get 6+ feet
tall). These might not be quite as happy as the blueberries about
Mountain Laurel might be worth considering. Evergreen. I guess it
would be OK with full sun, but it does need dry soil. Overfertilizing
is said to be perilous for Mountain Laurel.
There are also plenty of ground covers and short bushes which are
acid-loving, but that doesn't sound like your main interest (maybe
underneath the taller bushes...).
Before you get really serious about the acid-loving plants, you might
test whether your soil is as acidic as you think. We have one bed
whose soil is largely of composted leaves from the city, and I thought
it would be acidic, but it seems not to be (my best guess for why is
that some leaves, like Maple, are not acidic).
Here's a fact sheet on acidic plants for New Jersey:
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