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Stump Gardening: What to Plant in a Hollow Tree Stump

Updated on March 13, 2016

It's a Stump

It is a maple tree that was hollow. It is a good size. 3 - 4 foot across. It has a lot of decomposing maple innards in it. The chain saw filled it with some saw shavings, so there is a good mix of new and old. Some squirrel put some black walnuts in the hollow of the tree, so there may be a walnut tree growing with my plants. I don't want that.

I think some nice draping flowers. My husband thinks some strawberry plants would be nice. Hack holes in the side of the stump and insert strawberry plants from the sides. Now, I have to consult my seed catalogs and see what is available.

It's pretty much a full sun location now that the tree is gone. It was practically full sun before with the tree not producing much for leaves anymore. As he cut it down, it was almost painful to watch. Almost scary. That tree was one they refer as a widow maker.

Thought Number One

The first thought is getting fertilizer and dirt in the hole. I have heard a lot about the straw bale with human urine added for 10 days to make tomato squares. You dump urine on the bale for 10 days and something else. After the 10 days, you poke holes in the straw bale and insert your tomato plant. Somehow and supposedly, the tomato plants will absolutely thrive and grow their little hearts out in the bale, producing bountiful tomato crops. So, my attention turns back to my stump and the possibilities.

Strawberries would be nice. My husband says that he could put a bunch of notches through the stump and we could insert three or four plants in each hole and fill the middle back in with a mixture of the wood chunks and potting soil. If the strawberries would thrive and grow, we'd have an interesting strawberry pile and a conversation piece.


His first thought was to find some massively producing greens that would fill the stump and spill forth like a vomiting volcano. Something that would look like it was sloshing out of the stump and then, producing millions of little blossoms, impress onlookers.

He's creative, but I don't know what I could plant in there that would make him happy. The massive quantities of water that are going to be needed is overwhelming. Carrying my little bucket brigade out there, picture this: me, myself and I... one bucket. Faucet on, fill bucket. Pick up. Walk 200 feet to stump. Lift up, dump into stump. Yeah. Repeat, or that's it. How many times?

A hose would be nice. Hook up to the faucet, turn it on, fill up the stump. Turn it off.

Drainage is Important

Yes. Drainage is important. Now that we have a huge mug in the yard, there will be water that will get trapped. Even though the majority of it is hollow, it does have a solid outside and the bottom didn't have holes. We'd need to drill through. Actually, he'd have to cut some slits with the chain saw across the bottom, since I don't think that we have drill bits that are quite long enough to go through the bottom.

Of course, there would be some drainage once he put the majority of the wedge holes in the sides.

Thought Number Two

Fleet Farm had bags of wildflower mix and butterfly mix. These bags are interesting and I have used them before. For the stump, it would be a five second matter of opening the bag and dumping the bag into the top of the stump. Water it and I'd be good to go. It would then just be a matter of patience and watching it grow.

It is definitely a possibility if the strawberry idea doesn't pan out.

What's Your Opinion?

If you had a stump, what would you do with it?

A few facts about the stump. We cut the tree down a few days ago and it is full of softened tree insides. Dozey wood, he calls it. Like little pieces of natural vermiculite. A few chain saw shavings. The tree was a Maple and there is lots of sap running freely, so I can only assume that it is filling up with sap as we speak.

The poor thing. The other tree that he hacked a branch off, started dripping sap like a wounded soldier. Yeah, now we're inspired to tap our trees to make a bit of maple syrup. That's another thing to do with these trees.

Tapping Maple Trees

When I was a kid, in the sixties, it was not an uncommon sight to see metal buckets hanging from tappers in the maple trees, collecting buckets of sap from the maple trees. It takes 50 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup.

From an economical standpoint, it doesn't seem very feasible to make it, when you consider how much time it takes to collect, boil it down and how much fuel you use. But, apparently, if you're doing it for fun, and for that gourmet appeal... it's worth it.

Back to the buckets, nowadays, you see people with trees that have a plastic bag, hose and tapper hanging from the trees. Like a tree with a catheter. How times change. I don't know if the bags are reusable, but the bags are only five dollars for a bunch and they seem to hold 3 to 4 gallons at a time.


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      2 years ago

      I think a raspberry plant might do well. You can do so much with raspberries. Very healthy.


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