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16 October 2014
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John Cushnie On...

Hide that Stump
1 March 2004

Once a tree is felled more money and time will be required to remove its root. Leaving it in the ground increases the risk of honey fungus disease which kills woody trees and shrubs. If you are stuck with a stump then it may be important to make it disappearTree Stump

The easiest method is to cover it with a plant or grow a shrub in front of it. Climbers are an obvious choice but be careful not to plant a variety too vigorous for the situation. Clematis such as montana and the evergreen Clematis armandii will smother the stump within a few seasons and will then go on to cover half the garden. Hedera Glacier

Ivy,especially the small,variegated leafed variety ‘Glacier’,is useful for decorating the stump. The stump will still be seen but will manage to look like it belongs in the garden.

Medium sized evergreen shrubs can also make it seem to disappear. Skimmia japonica, Hebe subalpina and Prostranthera cuneata will mound themselves around the stump. It is necessary to plant as closely as possible to the object to be hidden and with some stumps their dead roots may pose a problem. Cut and remove as many as necessary to make the planting hole. They won’t be needed again by the tree. The existing soil will be exhausted of all nutrients. Add lots of leaf mould or compost to the planting pit. Mix bone meal and a general purpose fertilizer through the topsoil before replacing it around the root ball. Water the shrub well after planting to settle the soil around the roots. Prostanthera Cuneata

Regular pruning will keep the shrub compact with new,young growths. Where the stump is less than 60 cm (24 inches) high Juniperus pfitzeriana ‘Old Gold’ will spread out and envelop it within a few years.

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