Removing a tree that's dying or presenting a hazard gives a sense of relief. But once the sawdust settles, the question of what to do about the stump arises. The same concern applies when first planning the landscape for a property marred by tree stumps. Plant the garden to incorporate and hide the tree stumps. Create a natural effect with the right plants--causing it to appear as though the tree stumps never existed.
Buy well-established perennial vines or creepers to provide immediate coverage. Perennial plants grow year round--or in cold areas, go dormant for the winter and leaf out in the spring. Honeysuckle, clematis and vinca--also known as myrtle and periwinkle--grow into canopies of foliage and flowers and make effective stump coverage. In areas with harsh winters, purchase evergreen shrubs to camouflage the stumps.
Dig holes for the vines at a distance of 3 to 4 feet from each stump. Depending on the sizes of the plants, dig three to five holes around each stump at a depth 6 inches deeper than the height of the pot or root ball. It isn't necessary to dig in the root-dense area at the base of the stump. If one spot is difficult to dig, try farther away from the stump.
Dig additional holes for evergreen shrubs, if desired.
Remove any ties and stakes included with the vine plants. The vines grow along the ground and over the stumps--stakes aren't needed for this project.
Plant each vine and tamp the soil down. Water them immediately.
Spread mulch around each plant to insulate the roots and retain moisture in the soil.
Arrange the vines over each stump. Gently untangle the strands and spread them out. The vines will grow and provide more coverage.
Plant evergreen shrubs as close as possible to the stump to hide the stump from view year-round.
If the soil is extremely hard, full of roots, or otherwise too difficult to plant in, buy large, low planters. Wash tubs, troughs or any other low container will work--just put in drainage holes. Plant the vines or shrubs in the containers. Ring them around each stump and place one container right on the stump for a dimensional container garden to hide the stump. Cover the vines with mulch for the winter if the area gets frost or snow.
Use a hand truck or get help with moving heavy plants. Lift with your legs, not with your back. Don't risk an injury.