Can a new tree be planted next to a tree stump?

March 17, 2010

Can one plant a flowering crab or a Magnolia tree in proximity to a tree stump? I lost a tree about two or three years ago due to strong winds during a thunderstorm. I would like to plant an ornamental tree close to the tree stump, if possible.

Your desire to plant a new tree where another tree had been is an understandable one. However planting near existing root systems requires some considerations. For the new tree to thrive it is important that its roots be able to grow and establish themselves.  Generally a new tree needs to be planted 10’ away from the stump of the old tree. Eventually the roots of the old tree will begin to decay but this process may take years. It is impossible for one to see into the ground to determine how extensive the root system of the old tree is.  Trees planted near old root systems require more water because less soil is available to retain water for the new tree.
A recommend option would be to stump grind the entire area to remove your old tree completely in order for any new tree to be planted in the existing area. We can recommend a stump grinding company to you, if this is the option you choose to go with.

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