Adding Pine and Cedar Stump Grindings to a Flower Bed

Have I made a major mistake in my flower bed? I just backfilled some holes in my flower bed with the sawdust and dirt from some ground up stumps from pine trees. The oldest of the stumps may have been five or 10 years old. The newest just three weeks old. I didn't think about the effect that the sawdust would have on the soil until I was about finished with the last hole which happened to be from a small cedar tree stump from about two years. At this point, I panicked and I decided to get some information on what effect this may have on the flower bed and any future plants. I had been piling grounded up leaves in this bed, so I have mixed them in also. I read you article about using sawdust in the garden. I am not feeling great about what I have done to my flower bed. Will I have to wait a year to plant? Will cow manure help?


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March 17, 20170 found this helpful

Cedar is a type of pine. You should be ok.

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April 8, 20170 found this helpful

What? Can you elaborate on how cedar is a type of pine?

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May 14, 20170 found this helpful

Cedar isn't a type of pine. Trying to learn about the relationships among plants by using common names is confusing. There are several trees called cedar that aren't closely related. If you're interested in the fascinating topic of botanical classification, you might audit a course at your local university or learn from a local botanical or native plant society.

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March 18, 20170 found this helpful

As long as the bed is not next to the foundation of the house you are ok. You don't want termites.

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March 19, 20171 found this helpful

I'm not sure anyone is really addressing the question you asked.


Most true gardeners will say not to mix more than a very small amount of sawdust in your flower/garden bed as it is slow to breakdown and robs nitrogen from your soil. Maybe the fact that most of the stumps were 10 years old may shorten the breakdown period but that is questionable. A small amount of cedar may not be a problem but still - there is still a breakdown period.
You may be able to add nitrogenous fertilizer and it may help it break down faster and give back to the soil some nitrogen. Then again, you may have to wait a year to plant your flowers.

I believe you should call or visit your agriculture agency and tell them what you have done and ask them for help. Google agriculture agency and your zip code for information. You may be able to get your soil tested and get recommendations on how to save your flower bed.

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