Growing grass where tree stump was ground-down - Knowledgebase Question

CRESTWOOD, Mi
Question by bepstlmo
March 6, 2010
Recently we had an oak tree removed and the remaining stump ground-down. What is the most effective way to convert this area to a productive lawn, considering all the wood chips mixed with the adjacent soil?


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Answer from NGA
March 6, 2010

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When a stump is ground out, the sawdust that remains does two things. As it decomposes it robs nitrogen from the soil, basically starving the surrounding plants and it releases tannic acid which lowers the pH. When the pH drops below 5, many nutrients become locked up in compounds that are not usable to plants. The lower it goes, the more nutrients become unavailable. I'd start by having the soil tested so you know what you're working with. If it is very acidic, you can apply hydrated lime to help mellow the soil. After you've planted your grass you can continue to test the soil's pH and, to coax the grass to grow, you can feed with a liquid rather than a granular fertilizer. The liquid will be absorbed into the blades which will help the lawn remain green until the soil pH becomes a little more neutral - about 6.5. Best wishes with your lawn.

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