How soon plant after huge box elder tree removal?

Asked October 10, 2018, 2:05 PM EDT

Hello, We unfortunately had to have a very large (actually turned out to be 2) Box elder cut down this spring. It had a 4ft diameter trunk at base, about 3ft at 8ft height trunk branch out, about 70ft height. The arborist thought is was probably over 100yrs old - old farmland area. It was developing split, so unsafe. We had the stump ground down and many lateral roots trimmed. How soon and how far away can we plant new trees? This was done in April. Did not know if we should be concerned with any "compost" type effect from the remaining roots that will be decomposing. Or need to add soil from other areas of yard when planting. Thank you. Gail McNally. t

Washtenaw County Michigan

1 Response

You did not mention what you wanted to replace the boxelder with. Boxelder are in the maple family of plants. Since yours did not die due to a disease than another maple could be planted. You are correct in that you would not want to plant in the same spot. This is because of the wood chips that will be breaking down in this spot and this site will have limited soil and nutrients for the new plant. The organisms that help break down wood chips need a balance of Carbon to nitrogen during this process. The chips are high in carbon and not nitrogen so available nitrogen in the soil is depleted. Best not to put a plant into this nitrogen depleted area. Nearby soil about 3 to 5 feet away would not have this problem.