We had a pretty large Red Oak tree in the front yard. Just large enough to take out the front porch if a good wind came though. Pretty gusty winds hit during the winter and head straight for the house. This would not be a major concern, but there were dead roots on the backside of the trunk. You could see them going right into the dirt. I felt that the dead roots, the height of the tree, the wind direction and the strength of the wind warranted that the tree come down.
We hired a local tree service and they were more than happy to take the tree down, cut up the wood (and leave it here) and chip the brush for $400. We went on a 3 day vacation and when we came back…gone. I rolled the firewood to the side of the road and within an hour, someone was taking it. People love firewood around here, especially since it is around $200 a cord now and I was giving it away for free.
Above is the only photo I could find of the existing tree. It was taken through a screen (obviously).
So, after we had the tree removed, it was just killing me to look at this ugly stump in the front yard. I got a great idea from the neighbors and cut out a kidney shaped mulch bed.
Ok, now that I made this beautifully shaped mulch bed, how the heck was I going to get the stump lower, so I could cover it up with the mulch I was going to get. Well, just as luck would have it, I purchased a brand new Stihl MS 250 with a 16″ bar a week earlier. This is a pretty good homeowner’s saw. I am used to the professional ones, so I know how to really work them. This one likes to bog down when it gets hot, but if you keep it nice and steady, it is a good strong saw. I began cutting the stump lower…
…and then the saw started getting hot, and so did I. I got half way through and started smacking the stump with a sledge hammer to break the half that was already cut off. This made cutting the second half easier. This size stump really calls for a larger saw, but I had confidence that I would get this thing cut…and I did. Man oh man…wood near the stump of a tree is very dense and hard to cut.
Then, the next Saturday morning Paul came over and we ran down to the local mulch dealer and picked up a yard of mulch to cover the entire area with. It was just enough mulch for now, but I will be getting another yard in the spring to make it nice and thick.
So for about a month or so, we kept it like this and the neighbors started to wonder. The area is pretty close to the road so people see it when they walk by. We went to Lowe’s and picked up a few Rhododendrons and some Midget Arborvitae, or Thuja to place as a back layer. The Rhododendrons will grow pretty large, but the Arborvitae will only grow to approximately 3’x3′.
We also placed a few random plants on either side, as we got them. We like to mix them up to keep things random…it’s a great look to have. Also, we are getting these plants at towards the end of summer, so we really have no idea what the will look like when they bloom in the spring.
Some of them are difficult to identify, but I know a few. We are getting most of them from a friend. In the photo above there are Easter Lilys, Sage and Hydrangea. There are a few more, but I have no idea what they are. As you can see, I used the shallow, smaller potted plants for directly on top of the stump. I will be sure to keep them watered until I get that second load of mulch.
In the photo above, we have a Butterfly Bush, some sort of a purple bush with little prickers on it, Sedum Autumn Joy and another bush that I will try to identify later. We left the center of the garden empty because we ordered a variety of 150 bulbs from Brecks. 100 of them are going to be planted in the center spot.