Now what do I do with this!?

I was sick that our tree in the front died and I had to have it cut down. I am thinking I could just put a large terracotta saucer on the tree stump for a bird bath...that would be the easiest thing to do but it would be pretty warm water in the sun! Without the shade there now, I'm afraid the ivy is going to burn up as it gets hotter here. I could use some fresh ideas....
q now what do i do with this, gardening
q now what do i do with this, gardening
q now what do i do with this, gardening
q now what do i do with this, gardening
q now what do i do with this, gardening
  52 answers
  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 03, 2012
    These are BEFORE and AFTER pictures...

  • Carroll A Carroll A on Jun 03, 2012
    Man what a huge loss! Have you thought about planting another tree. maybe something weeping?

  • Becky H Becky H on Jun 03, 2012
    I know the heartbreak of losing a major tree, and the dilemma of completely different conditions for established plants. What direction does your home face? I for one am big on planting a new tree, but that will require stump removal before you can do that. If the ivy makes it in full sun, you can pretty much expect its leaves to suffer scorch. I've several ivy plants in full sun, and they're doing well. They were planted in full sun, so their leaves never scorched. Bet your ivy will pull through after the shock of so much sunlight.

  • 3po3 3po3 on Jun 03, 2012
    Sorry for your loss. Consider this a third vote for getting a new tree.

  • Sow and Dipity Sow and Dipity on Jun 03, 2012
    I have to say a new tree as well, it balanced the front view of the home well. It'll take years to put on some size but the vertical effect of a young tree would at least be there.

  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 03, 2012
    It is South facing so fortunately the sun doesn't hit directly against the front of the house but it's still strong on the driveway side and the cement makes it even hotter. Ideally, I'd like to have a carport there with a lattice cover and painted in white. But, that's too much for me to do or pay someone to do at this point in time. I would love to have another tree grow there of course but it really is not a good place for one to grow big...The Chinaberry was planted by the previous owner and I don't know why they did not consider it out growing the little raised bed it was in. The tree people that cut it down said it smothered. It was breaking up the concrete block border as it was and probably would have messed up the driveway also but I still would rather have had the tree and dealt with redoing the planter area. I just don't know why they put a raised bed there. If it was planted on ground level it probably would have been fine... The ivy is growing up the stump and if it makes it in the sun maybe I can attach some wire and make a topiary of some sort out of it. Becky, it was a heartbreak, I am so sad to lose it! I loved the sound of the wind in it and we had robins raise a family last year in it. My kids were bummed out too... Carroll, I LOVE Weeping Willows. I have been thinking of planting one in another part of the yard. :)

  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 03, 2012
    The stump makes it too hard to plant another tree and it would have to be some kind of tree that would stay small. I can't afford to get the stump taken out so I'm trying to think of something to do with it...

  • Terri D Terri D on Jun 04, 2012
    They have lots of cute animals you can buy and sit on it, or your idea of a planter with some hanging flowers. Verbena is very pretty, and you can get lots of basket stuffers. I bought the most beautiful Dogwood tree that only gets 15 feet high that would look great on the left side of your driveway, if you still want some height. A less expensive way to deal with your stump is to turn your stump into a planter by digging out or carving out the center, it looks really cool, and you can change the flowers and colors every year that way. Hope I helped, good luck with your new project, I know they never end:)

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 04, 2012
    Terri, consider planting a vitex in place of the tree you lost. They are considered a large shrub or small tree, and can be easily limbed up into a tree form. It might get 10-12 feet high, which I think would be ideal for the situation you have. They grown quickly so you can buy a small one and tuck it in. Plus, it's a very tough plant that will thrive in the Texas heat (it's been named part of Texas A&M's "Texas Superstar" plant program) and provide you with a long-season of purple-blue flowers that will draw butterflies to your yard. I just planted one myself, and it's already proven to be a great addition to my garden.

  • Becky H Becky H on Jun 04, 2012
    Okay Douglas............what's the common name for "vitex"? Sounds wonderful.

  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 04, 2012
    That's so pretty Douglas! It looks a lot like the shrub I have on the other side in front. I wonder if they are in the same shrub family. That's exactly what I've done over the 4 years I've lived here is trim it into a tree. You can see it in one of the pictures I posted. it's to the right side of the house. The one I have is more purple and it draws lots of bees and bumble bees. I love it. There are a lot of them I see here all over where we live. I'm just concerned the roots might need to spread out and it's pretty cramped with the old tree roots there now. Do you know if the roots grow downward more or spread out wide? The shrub I have the roots show above the soil some and seem to spread almost as wide as the branches.

  • I recall a friend of mine had a similar situation years ago. They actually carved out a deep "pot" in the stump, sealed it and then planted in it (with a drain hole too).

  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 04, 2012
    Neat idea for the stump Kevin!

  • Rebecca D Rebecca D on Jun 04, 2012
    My first thought... hollow out the tree stump use it as a planter. Or plant, a dwarf lilac ( Miss Kim) the scent is wonderful!

  • Sow and Dipity Sow and Dipity on Jun 04, 2012
    There are tree's (or rather tree like shrubs) out there that don't become giant's but if you went with the tree stump planter idea, another way to get a vertical element might be to install a framed lattice panel, say 8' x 4' about 2' off the ground to get up to a 10' height. I'd put it on an angle behind the stump, then plant a climber to go up it. It would create a back drop for the garden, but not be so solid that it became a wall.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 05, 2012
    @Becky: The common name is chaste tree. For some reason they can be tricky to find in Florida (I drove to Jacksonville to get mine), but well worth seeking out. @Susan: It does look like you may already have one. You could plant a crepe myrtle where you lost your other tree then. Texas A&M has a whole site on crepe myrtles for Texas where you can select by height, bloom color, etc:

  • Becky H Becky H on Jun 05, 2012
    Thanks Douglas.

  • Melissa W Melissa W on Jun 05, 2012
    Susan, I live very close to you and have both a vitex and a crepe myrtle that are thriving in our Texas heat. You need to be sure to give the vitex plenty of room as the branches can spread out. There are some organic methods to help the stump decompose. If you go to the library at you will find some suggestions. It does take some time however.

  • Carol Carol on Jun 05, 2012
    Susan: I used to live in Flower Mound not in N. Georgia. I planted 2 vitex in this GA clay and they are doing very well. I've seen them get very large here and they are really nice. I believe they're considered the TX Lilac - I love them. Hardy and beautiful - can't go wrong!

  • Teresa D Teresa D on Jun 05, 2012
    Maybe make the stump into a bird bath??

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 05, 2012
    You do not need to leave that stump in place so close to the house because it might attract termites! Get a friend to saw it down close to the ground, score the top with a chain saw and wet it down. Then place clear plastic over it. Keep it wet and it will deteriorate sooner. (The ideal thing would to have someone grind out the stump...should cost about $50-100). With limited space, a big tree is not going to survive long. Start saving your money in a coffee can for your can be a very simple design using long lasting materials that call for little maintenance. Even a covered arbor type would be pretty.

  • Ana M Ana M on Jun 05, 2012
    make a table top for it and put those chairs by it!!

  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 05, 2012
    Douglas, I googled Vitex and it appears that is what I have and it is also called Texas Lilac Carol! I'm excited now because I would like to have one or a Crepe Myrtle there as Melissa suggested. I'll check out the site for those too. Jeanette, I was worried about that with the stump but the tree guys said it won't be a problem if I get it sprayed for pests every year. I have a friend that does that, he's done a whole house foundation preventive treatment for me before this. I actually like the stump and would like a bird bath or maybe a little fountain on top of it or a table top as Ana suggested... Thank you ALL so much, it's a nice feeling to have "friends' on here!

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jun 05, 2012
    Douglas, I love the look of that vitex tree and the size, too. Can it take a full day of Florida sun?

  • Carol Carol on Jun 05, 2012
    Susan - either one would be a wonderful choice. Melissa and I are very good friends and have shared many gardening ideas! Sherrie - I bet it will! It's a tough plant. I'd make sure and call your local nursery.

  • CONNIE W CONNIE W on Jun 05, 2012
    Had the same thing happen, and that is exactly what i did. I had a large Terracotta bowl that a friend gave me from Mexico, and placed it as a bird bath. Problem was it was so deep that I had to put in stones for the birds to perch on.

  • Ellen A Ellen A on Jun 05, 2012 can take a LOT of takes the Arizona sun just's also called a Chaste Tree...I have two of them, just planted this year, in my yard and they both are blooming their little 2 foot high hearts out!....

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jun 05, 2012
    Susan T, plant a crepe myrtle. Those are the most beautiful, drought tolerent and easy to care for plants I have ever found. But now I'm going to try a Vitex Tree Douglas Hunt suggested. Thank you Ellen A & Carol M - That makes 3 people recommending the Vitex. The area I want to put the Vitex plant has failed more than once but I just move the failed plants to a more hospitable area.

  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 05, 2012
    This evening I went to Lowe's and they were all out of the Vitex! I'm going to keep looking though, there is a Home Depot and a Calloway's here in Denton. I like the Crepe Myrtles, I have a few in other areas but I like the Vitex better for that spot. The Crepes seem to look ugly for so much of the year too. I love it when they bloom out though. Connie that sounds so pretty, post a picture! :)

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 06, 2012
    @Susan T: Seek out a local nursery. They often have a better selection, and more-informed help, than certain other places you might patronize (how was that for diplomatic). @Sherrie: A full day of Florida sun is fine. They had some at Lindley's in New Smyrna last time I was there.

  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 06, 2012
    I will Douglas, thanks...there are a couple I know of I've been wanting to get to anyway... I wish that was all I ever had to do, I love gardening. I'm wanting to make some raised beds in the backyard for veggies and herbs. I am sure you will be hearing more from me on that. lol...I have been thinking of using little plastic kiddie pools instead of building them out of lumber, just for ease and costs sake.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jun 06, 2012
    Susan with Crepe Myrtles and Vitex I think you will be thrilled. So easy to care for and beautiful, too. I got lucky and bought a vitex at my local nursery. They always have healthier and better plants than the big box stores.

  • Exa H Exa H on Jun 06, 2012
    I have seen pictures of a stump that was drilled out to make a planter. It was spilling over with blooms, and was very pretty. Another idea that comes to mind is to drill it out enough to support a cedar post made into a bottle tree. I love bottle trees! There is something magical about the sun shining through the colored glass bottles that I find very attractive. Good luck with your stump no matter what you do.

  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 22, 2012
    Okay, here's the best I can do for now!

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jun 22, 2012
    You have done a wonderful job & I love photo 3. Susan, the vitex I just bought is far smaller than yours. I guess we must be patient. I can't wait for the blooms.

  • Becky H Becky H on Jun 22, 2012
    Looks great; you're well on your way to landscape recovery, and who knows? Maybe you'll like the new better than the old.

  • Becky H Becky H on Jun 22, 2012
    Sherrie S., where did you find your Vitex?

  • Carroll A Carroll A on Jun 23, 2012
    Looks great! Love the birdbath idea. Great way to work with that stump.

  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 23, 2012
    Thank you :) The guy that cut it made it very level so the saucer sits well.

  • CONNIE W CONNIE W on Jun 24, 2012
    Susan love photo #3. I have the same frog on the ball, and also use in a bird bath. Love though that you added the stones.

  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 24, 2012
    That's funny Connie! Frogs are so fun in the garden! The stones sparkle but it doesn't show much in the picture...I've seen some neat ideas on here with those little glass stones glued onto things like old bowling balls and used as yard-art. I love how the ideas just flow from everywhere on the site!

  • CONNIE W CONNIE W on Jun 25, 2012
    Susan - I have gotten some great ideas since joining this site. It is my favorite!

  • I like your saucer/bird bath. Very nice

  • Julie S Julie S on Jun 26, 2012
    Maybe someone already had this idea, but you could drill/dig out part or all of the stump, leaving a wall around, and put some dirt in and plant flowers, or something like hen and chicks, in it. The hen and chicks should come back every year. Sorry about your tree.

  • Hilliriah Jacobs Hilliriah Jacobs on Sep 27, 2013
    @Julie S i was about to give that same advise

  • Marilyn Barris Marilyn Barris on May 14, 2015
    Fairy Garden! Would be magical in the midst of your beautiful flowers, but I'd recommend a path thru the flowers if little ones will be playing in it!

  • Joann Jarvis Joann Jarvis on Jun 16, 2015
    I was just going to suggest as Marilyn Barris, a fairy garden would be darling. Many of us would love to have a tree stump to do a gnome or fairy garden!! Let us know.

  • Deborah Deborah on Sep 10, 2015
    Hollow and plant the stump, add a pergola over your seating area to shade your ivy.

  • Brenda Turnquest Brenda Turnquest on Sep 11, 2015
    Since you already have the garden there, put a roof on your stump and decorate the stump with faux windows and a door and some steps to look like a fairy house. Or you can cover a bowling ball with pretty glass stones and set it on top. By the way your ivy should be fine. I have mine in full sun and it does well.

  • Susan T Susan T on Feb 27, 2016
    I didn't realize I was still getting comments on this post! I haven't looked in a long time...Thank you! I love the idea of the fairy house for the stump! I'm getting bored with the saucer on top and it gets nasty quickly in the sun. All the ivy did burn up and for the last 3 years I had profusions of bright orange and yellow Coreopsis that took over the whole area. I Had to take the Vitex out because it had so many bees going back and forth to the Vitex tree across the walkway that we had to dodge going to and from the door and bees kept getting in the house. I put it in a pot in the backyard. So now it is bare and ready for something new! Here's a picture of my daughter Jillian and grandkids, Jacob & Jessa when the Coreopsis there.

  • Mae Garrels Mae Garrels on Oct 15, 2017
    You could hollow some out of the center, then put plants in it, something that would hang over the sides might be nice too. Succulents of all sorts are in big right now and there are many that would do the stump justice! It will not take long for that stump to die out so enjoy it while you can. As it disintegrates, it will feed the plants....and the ground also where it once grew. I cut down a tree five years ago, used the stump as I suggested above, this past spring raked all that was left of it into the soil around it......... still miss the shade of the tree though!