When you cut a tree down, removing the stump can be an expensive or labor-intensive business. Save yourself time and money by turning an eyesore into a beautiful part of the landscape. Several ways exist to plant in, on or around a stump to cover it up and make it an attractive part of the yard.
Fill with Plants
Hide unsightly tree stumps by hollowing them out and turning them into planters. Use the pointed end of a mattock to chip a hole in the center of the stump. Then, as the hole widens, switch to the mattock's wider end. Continue chipping from the center of the hole out until the cavity in the stump is as wide as you want and at least 6 inches deep.
Fit the power drill or bit brace with an auger bit, and use that to drill two to four drainage holes in the sides of the planting cavity so they slope downward toward the outer edge of the stump. Add just enough gravel to cover the drainage holes, and fill the planter hole in the stump with potting soil. Water soil before planting.
Fill the new stump planter with flowering annuals or sturdy perennials like succulents. Creeping or spreading succulents like hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum sp.) and sedums (Sedum sp.) work well. Hens-and chicks are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8. Sedum hardiness varies by species. 'Frosty Morn' (Sedum 'Frosty Morn') and 'Autumn Joy' (Sedum 'Autumn Joy') are hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9, and 'Purple Emperor' (Sedum 'Purple Emperor') is hardy in zones 3 through 7.
Top with Flowers
If you don't want to cut into the stump, build a planter on top of it. First, decide how tall and wide you want the planter. Twelve to 18 inches deep and close to the same diameter as the stump is a good guide. Cut a piece of fencing 2 inches taller than the height you want and 1 inch longer than the diameter.
Fold the bottom 2 inches of fencing inward at a 90-degree angle, and fold the wire into a circle. You'll have to make cuts in the 2-inch fold so it can overlap on the inside of the circle. Place the round wire basket on the stump, folded-side down, and attach planter basket to the stump with wire tacks.
Soak sphagnum moss in water for one minute, and pack in the moss around the edges of the wire frame. Once the entire frame is covered with moss, fill the inside space with potting soil. Water the potting soil before planting. Flowering annuals thrive in this type of container.
Cover in Vines
To hide a stump in the landscape without planting directly in or on it, cover it with vines. Cut the stump off low to the ground and build a tipi trellis over it to support climbing vines. Tipi trellises are easy to make by sticking wooden poles of roughly the same height into the ground around the stump, then joining them at the top by wrapping with wire. For added stability, wrap wire around the poles again about halfway down the tipi.
Perennial vines work well if you build a tipi out of sturdy material, like cedar wood, and plan on leaving it in place for several years.
Perennial Sweet Pea (Lathyrus latifolius) is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 7. Prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Grows 9 to 12 feet tall.
Clematis (Clematis sp.) grows in USDA zones 3 through 9, depending on the species. Plant in areas that receive at least four to five hours of sunlight daily. Thrives well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Height varies by cultivar.
- Honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.) grows in USDA zones 3 through 8, depending on the species. Prefers full sun but tolerates shade. Its fragrant flowers attract hummingbirds. Grows 10 to 20 feet tall.
Annual vines work well for tipis made of soft woods, like sycamore, that will only last for one or two years.
Sweet pea (Lathyrus odorous) produces fragrant flowers in a variety of colors. Prefers full sun with moist soil rich in organic matter. Grows 2 to 7 feet tall.
Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunberegia alata) grows best in partial shade and moist soil. Flowers can be yellow, orange or white. Grows to 7 feet tall.
Scarlet runner bean (Phasaeolus cockiness) thrives in moist soil and full sun to part shade. After the red flowers fade, it produces edible beans. Grows 10 to 15 feet tall.