How to prep some stumps for planters?

julianna_il(z6 IL)May 18, 2007

My neighbor cut down a beautiful old tree, a maple I think. It had some issues and wasn't safe.

Some of the stumps are hollow in the middle. No bugs, but apparently rotted out. Is this a disease?

I'd like to use a couple of these beauties for planters. Is there anything I should to to the inside in case that rotting was from disease? Perhaps spray the inside in bleach?

How long can I expect these to last? I don't want to shellac them or anything, just enjoy their interesting shapes until nature takes its course.

I'm thinking of filling one with bright petunias, and the other I may put under my maple tree and fill with impatiens. (I know they need lots of nitrogen due to the decay process robbing the nitrogen)

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To seal the wood on the inside might be a good idea. That would prevent more rot, and not take away from the beauty of the stump on the outside. Just get a cheapy can of clear Walmart spray paint and seal. Spray it several times letting it dry between coats. I have done this before....

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 8:01AM
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Hi, I'm new to this forum but this thread caught my eye. I took an interesting looking
stump (had a "Y" shape) and preserved it as a planter by applying melted parafin wax. You
heat it in a pan (on the stove) that you don't want to use for anything else again. Then use
a disposable brush and just dip and paint it! I was obsessive about applying it and
went over it many times. It has held together just great and does repel water.

Another tip, is to set it in the sun after painting to allow it to heat up and absorb
the wax even more!

I love my stump, and it's going on it's third summer!


    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 9:14PM
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jannoel_gw(z5b IL)

I've planted 2 stumps for several years. There are no disease problems, but I have to add a lot of fresh soil every year. As the roots rot underneath, the soil level sinks. One stump has 2 gopher holes that keep getting opened up no matter how many times I fill them in. Yesterday after filling I put rocks on top. I'll see what happens.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 7:43AM
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Frizzle(z6 PA)

We had the same thing, took out a large old pine that was completely rotten on the inside and hollow down to the ground level.

I didn't worry about sealing it since it's still in the ground and not something I would move around the yard. Just dumped in some regular garden soil in the bottom (it's deep), then topped it off with nice potting soil. Put all kinds of annuals in it last summer and it was beautiful.

I think this year I'll work at the other stump! Wack it with an axe or something to get a hole in the center and plant that one as well.

Maybe get the ground around them started into a little bed with annuals too.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 5:51AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Diseases tend to be target specific meaning if it was a maple, the disease would just target maples, so that is not an issue. But rotting would be an issue with soil and water sitting inside it. Janice's idea of parafin wax sounds like a winner. I may have to try that someday.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:34PM
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You might try concrete (mortar mix). It would not leak large amounts and it would not be absorbed into the wood. You would line the stump with chicken wire or hail screen to hold the concrete in place. Mold the wire into the shape of the inside of the stump. Mix the concrete to the consistency of modeling clay and mold it into the open area against the wire.
Be sure to wear rubber gloves to keep your hands from getting chapped.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 6:04PM
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