It's a wise decision to remove a sickly or dead tree from your lawn, both from a safety and an aesthetic standpoint. The issue is what to do with the stump after the tree comes down. Stump grinding is generally the preferred solution. It's quick and it doesn't require any heavy equipment to be driven onto the lawn. The following guide can help you recover the area after the stump is ground away.
Step #1: Gather the chips
Chances are there are a good deal of chips and sawdust where the stump used to be. Wood is a carbon-rich material, so it robs nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes. Nitrogen is a necessary nutrient for plant growth. Raking up the bulk of the chips and sawdust can help alleviate this problem. Use the removed chips to mulch your garden beds or toss them into your compost pile.
Step #2: Seed the stump with fungus
Although grinding removes a huge portion of the stump, there is still quite a bit of the old root mass underground if the tree was large. This portion is going to decompose over the years, causing both a settling in the soil and some nitrogen loss in the area. One way to speed up decomposition is to break off a piece of rotting wood from another stump, perhaps from local public lands or a different stump on your property, and place the rotting wood in the hole on top of the remaining root mass to help "seed" the roots with fungal spores that speed the decomposition of the wood.
Step #3: Fill it in with plenty of soil
The next step is to add soil. A combination of topsoil and compost provides a good growing medium for both grass and flowers. You will need to fill it in slightly above grade since it will settle over the next few days. Get your soil from a dependable source so you can be assured that it is weed-free. You don't want weeds to get a foothold in a newly cleared area.
Step #4: Choose your planting style
Many homeowners rush to lay sod over a recently cleared area, but you may want to consider waiting if the tree was large. That large root mass that remained after the stump was ground can take a long time to decompose. As it breaks down, the ground will continue to sink in the area. If you opt for an annual flower bed, you can simply add more soil each spring before you plant. Once the ground quits settling, then you can replace the flower bed with sod.
Talk to Tree Landers or another stump removal company in your area for more tips on helping an area recover after grinding.