Planting Replacement Trees
Photo: Brian Wilder
Roger Cook will plant new trees near dead tree stumps only if he can cut through and remove the stumps' old roots from any new holes he digs.
Q: Most of our ash trees were removed because of an infestation of emerald ash borer. The tree people didn't remove the root system, but they did grind down the stumps below grade. Can I replant other trees in the same locations?

—S. Knight, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

A: Roger Cook replies: You can, but only if you dig out the stumps entirely. Save yourself a backache and some money, and put the new saplings next to the stumps. They should grow just fine, as long as you cut out any old roots when you dig the new holes. In a few years, the area around the old stump will probably start to sink as the roots decompose. Just fill in the area as necessary.

Don't plant more ash trees, though—they'll likely succumb to this terrible infestation, which started in Michigan in 2002. Maple or linden trees might be better, but before you decide, ask a good nursery for recommendations.
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