When to Replant a Tree After Having a Stump Removed

“We just had a tree removed and the stump ground out. I would like to replace it with another tree ASAP, but my wife would like to wait until next year to replant. Can you help us decide?” -Paul

There are two things to consider when deciding whether to replant a tree after grinding out a stump.

First, the root system of the old tree spreads beyond the grinding hole, and even if you opt for the extra-deep stump grinding service designed for “replanting,” there will be large roots that may take years to decompose. Those roots can interfere with the root system of your new tree, possibly affecting its growth and health.

Second, the ecology of that piece of ground is going to keep changing for a few years, as microorganisms go to work breaking down the old tree roots. A new tree will have to compete with these microorganisms for nutrients and resources within the soil, which will make it more difficult for your new tree to thrive.

The best approach if you would like to plant a tree immediately is to choose a new spot at least five feet from the old site. This will improve your tree’s chances of thriving. If you do decide to replant in the same spot, waiting one year may not be long enough to break down those old roots completely, so wait as long as you can and then offer extra TLC to the new tree until it established.