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Can anything grow on huge mound of oak tree grindings?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by addfellow, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. addfellow

    addfellow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I have a customer who had a tree removal service take down a 80' dead red oak. They left a giant version of a pitcher's mound composed of stump grindings. The mound's been there 8 months, been through this hellacious Michigan winter. Now the customer wants me to grow grass, or maybe some wildflowers there. I'm assuming the mound is too damn acidic for anything to grow. Any suggestions? Excavating the mound and replacing with soil is not an option ( too costly ). Thanks.
  2. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,319

    If they can't afford to remove grindings and put new topsoil in your wasting your time with them.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Agreed. I am still at a loss for any reason why customers have no common sense or seemingly play dumb for god knows why.
    easy-lift guy
  4. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    Refer them to bbirdseedd
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. MikeT

    MikeT LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    If you absolutely can't remove the mound suggest burying potted plants in extra large containers with extra soil as a temporary solution. Low growing shrubs or trailing groundcovers like English Ivy or Euonymous. Camouflage the chips with mulch after adding some nitrogen. Keep watered throughout the season. You could also hide the mound by surrounding it with large ornamental grasses.
  6. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    The first mistake is the company that did the grinding should removed it and replace it with top soil in the hole

    Only option there is to remove it and add soil If they don't want to Walk Run away
  7. Ditta&Sons

    Ditta&Sons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    im going to add to this a little bit, i think its a great idea to make a garden bed out of it. wrap the rootballs of the plants in burlap or use potted plants with peat pots (the brown cardboard-like ones)
    try ornamental grasses or like he said, some drought resistant plants like euonymus and groundcovers that dont actually need soil to root. a giant mound of variegated euonymus will look 100 times better than a mound of bark chips. the chips will decompose over time.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,723

    Do not assume it is too acidic. That is an assumption. Get it tested.
    I suspect a bit of topsoil--or any soil--would allow at least some grass to grow, (if there is plenty of sunlight). If you can grow weeds--you can grow grass. Grass will grow in beach sand--provided it is watered and fertilized regularly. After all many greenhouse plants are grown in soil-free mixes. Peat moss, perlite, vermiculate and sand. Irrigation is critical--water will run through in a few hours, so frequent water is crucial. And--the water will tend to take nutrients with it. So slow-release nitrogen will be helpful, as will frequent applications of potassium. Use sod for quicker establishment, and probably get paid sooner.
  9. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,478

    that sounds about right..

  10. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Messages: 4,509

    One of my customers had the exact same situation as what the op has related. He did nothing at all. Just let the grindings rot. 5 years or so later the mound is gone, he seeded the area and grass is growing just fine. Was really ugly for a while but it looks like the rest of the yard now.
    ericg likes this.

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