How to Plant Grass Where a Tree Stump Was

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Things You'll Need

  • Rake

  • Shovel

  • Top soil (optional)

  • Tiller

  • Slow-release fertilizer

  • Rake

  • Grass seed

  • Lawn roller

  • High-nitrogen fertilizer

Residue from tree stumps suck nitrogen from the soil.

Tree removal can help homeowners protect their house against possible damage from falling limbs, and saves the time and money associated with raking leaves. But often, the area where a tree stump was located remains a void in the middle of an otherwise healthy lawn, filled with wood chips and sawdust. Even after the refuse is cleared, homeowners experience difficulty growing grass in the location, as microbes eat the dead wood still in the ground. There are specific tactics to grow grass where a tree stump was located.

Step 1

Rake up and remove any wood chips or debris where the tree stump was located. Turn the top few inches of soil with a shovel and pick out any exposed wood. Add new topsoil to the location if the stump's deterioration has left a slight hole in the ground.

Step 2

Till the area where the tree stump was located. Do not till if the stump is still a solid mass a few inches below the surface of the soil--just turn the available soil with a shovel.

Step 3

Apply a slow-release grass fertilizer to the soil's surface. Smooth out the soil and fertilizer with a rake.

Step 4

Sprinkle grass seed over the bare soil.

Step 5

Rake the area to cover the seeds with 1/4 inch of soil. Smooth the area out with a lawn roller, then moisten the soil. Continue to moisten the soil once in the morning and once in the afternoon until the seeds sprout.

Step 6

Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer after 60 days, when the grass is getting a little thicker. Add more high-nitrogen fertilizer monthly to speed up the wood decomposition process in the ground and maintain suitable nitrogen levels in the grass. Deeply water the grass one to two times per week or whenever the plants begin to look wilted. Use more fertilizer if the grass starts to look yellow, and water more frequently if the grass begins to look brown and dried.


Frequent, deep watering helps the grass grow in the high-nitrogen environment and flushes the fertilizer into the ground to aid in processing the wood.


Even using best practices, grass might not grow in a tree stump's former location for several years.


Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos started writing professionally in 2005, specializing in electronics and technology. His work has appeared in, Gizmodo, "PC Gamer," "Maximum PC,",, "Wired,", and more. Chacos is a frequent contributor to "PCWorld," "Laptop Magazine" and the Intuit Small Business Blog.