Plant new tree next to old stump?

Asked December 5, 2012, 5:20 PM EST

Just took down a paper birch, it was dieing, can I plant a different specie of tree next to the stump of the birch? Stump is about 10" caliper. Thanks, Bill

Multnomah County Oregon trees and shrubs horticulture

1 Response

Hello Bill. The answer to your question as usual is "that depends". It is not a good idea to plant another paper birch, as you already have indicated, but another speciesmight do OK. If you plant too close, you will have difficulties getting around the roots of the birch tree. It is best to get far enough away to avoid this or to cut out the old roots as much as you can before planting a new tree. If this is not possible, you might consider having the stump and large roots professionally removed. A tree of that size will have made many roots, some of them quite large, while it was growing in that location. Also, many fungi and bacteria will move in to decompose the dead roots, and this process may interfere with nutrient availability for the new tree. Here is a link to an Oregon State University publication EC1438 on Selecting, Planting and Caring for a New Tree in Oregon. I hope you find this helpful. Thanks for your question. Linda