Soil prepation for grass where large tree stood

Asked March 19, 2013, 9:43 AM EDT

A 60 foot Spruce fell during Sandy. The stump was ground. I now have a 20 foot in diameter area in my lawn with the chipped remains. How should I prepare the area to grow grass?

Somerset County New Jersey lawns and turf disasters urban and community forestry horticulture soil and fertility issues

1 Response

Thanks for the inquiry and sorry to hear about your spruce!

I would suggest removing some the grindings since just topdressing them with soil will leave a mound above the grade of the rest of the lawn, and the heat generated as they decompose under the soil may interfere with establishing new turf where the spruce once stood. I suggest removing enough of the grindings to allow for a 4-6" thick layer of soil to be added where the tree once stood, then plant seed or sod as you prefer, matching the existing grade or just slightly above as some settling should be expected. Mid- to late-August would would be a great time to reseed as the newly establishing turf would benefit from the early fall weather rather than seeding now and having to irrigate to minimize the harshness of the summer weather on the young turf. Calling your local county Extension office for more detailed info would also be a great help to you.

Thanks again for your inquiry and using eXtension.org!