Gardening over bush stumps - Knowledgebase Question

Cheektowaga, NY
Question by mamao4tots
June 7, 2010
My front yard has 3 bush stumps which we are unable to pull out. I would like to build up a bed and put in a garden over the top of them. The area is about 10ft by 20ft. Can I raise the bed by about 5 inches with cheap top soil and mix in another inch of good soil and manure toward the top (6 inches of dirt in all)and put in a flower garden right over the stumps? I hope to plant things like black eye suzans, cone flowers, hydrangea, clemantis, and more, along with some annuals. Do you think this would work? Also do I need to do anything to ensure that the bushes do not return? The stumps are cut to ground level and would be extremely difficult to pull out. Thank you so much for your time and insight. I will be anxiously waiting for your reply.

Answer from NGA
June 7, 2010


Yours is a difficult situation and there's no easy answer! If the bushes were dead and you cut them down to ground level you probably won't have any trouble with the stumps resprouting. If the shrubs were still alive and you cut them down, there's a very good chance the roots will send up suckers, even if you pile 6 inches of soil over the tops of the stumps. As long as the roots are alive you'll have to deal with suckers in the new bed. Digging the roots and stumps, or having them dug out for you is the best approach. You can try killing the stumps with products like Stump Killer or Round Up. These products need to be applied to fresh cuts so they can be transported throughout the root (if you use them, be sure to follow label directions). For peace of mind, though, and for a sucker-free future, I'd go to the expense of having a landscaper come out and pull the stumps. Grinding is less expensive but also less effective. Any roots left in the soil have the potential to resprout in the future. Best wishes with your new flower bed!

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