How To Stop A Tree Stump From Sprouting

How To Stop A Tree Stump From Sprouting

Many times, a tree stump will be left behind after a tree has been removed. There are a number of reasons why this is sometimes done. However, it is usually best to remove the stump entirely in order to keep it from sprouting again.

To stop a tree stump from sprouting, you should first try applying a stump killer. Then, you can try to rot the stump by shielding it from the sun. If these methods do not work, you will have to physically chop it up with a stump grinder or remove it entirely.

In this article, we will cover all of these steps and the proper ways to execute them. Always make sure that you are complying with local ordinances when working with herbicides. By taking these steps in this order, you can methodically get rid of your tree stump as easily as possible.

Why Remove a Stump?

There are many reasons to get rid of a tree stump. The first being that they can be considered unsightly. Obviously, the tree was removed for a reason. No one wants a stump sticking out like a sore thumb.

Depending on the layout of your yard, the stump may be in the way of sprinkler systems or other utilities. If this is the case, your only option is to remove it. The sooner the better since the roots may continue to grow after the tree has been removed.

Another reason to remove a tree stump is that they become breeding grounds for pests. Rats, hornets, and other animals use tree stumps as pre-made homes. They must be removed in order to ensure that your yard remains free of these vermin.

Can a Tree Stump Grow Back?

Perhaps the biggest reason to get rid of an errant tree stump in your yard is that they can grow back. However, the saplings that grow in stumps cannot grow into viable trees. They can only become issues later on, so they must be removed.

While a new tree can sprout from an old tree stump, the root system will not be able to sustain it. Because of this, you need to remove the stump completely and plant a new tree. That is, if you decide you want a tree there.

As a tree stump sprouts, it will create softer wood for the trunk of the tree. This is one of the reasons why a tree sprouting out of a stump will not be viable. The wood is not as strong as it would be if it had sprouted from the ground.

5 Ways Stop A Tree Stump From Sprouting

Method 1: Apply Stump Killer

The first way you should try to get rid of a tree stump is by applying a stump killer. This comes in many forms but generally uses the chemical, potassium nitrate. The weed killer, glyphosate, can also be used, but this is not recommended due to its toxicity.

A recommended natural stump killer is Epsom salt.  Epsom salt is powerful enough to kill a stump if it is soft enough. With enough applications, it could potentially kill the stump and allow you to shovel it out.

To apply the Epsom salt, simply spread it around the roots of the tree stump. Perform several applications over the course of several weeks and monitor your progress. As the stump begins to die, you can begin to dig it out with a pick or shovel.

Method 2: Rot the Stump

You can also try to rot the stump from the inside. This is an effective way to make sure that the entire root system is destroyed as well. It is important to make sure of this so the roots don’t grow into your pipes or other utilities.

To rot the stump, drill holes in the top of it. Then pour Epsom salt into the holes. You can also drill holes into any roots that are showing above the ground and pour salt into these. Then, fill the holes with wax to seal them.

The stump may take anywhere from weeks to months to completely rot. It is important that you remove any rotting pieces as they free themselves from the soil. This will ensure that it is removed completely and evenly.

Method 3: Shield It From the Sun

Another way to kill a tree stump is to remove its access to the sun. This can be done by using a tarp or other covering. Make sure that it is completely covered and that no sun is getting through. Use two tarps if necessary.

What this accomplishes is the starvation of any new saplings. Without the nourishment of sunlight or rain, they will not be able to grow into dangerous, unviable trees. It will also eventually kill the stump itself.

The downside of this method is that it could take up to six months. Of course, there’s also no guarantee that it will work at all. Because of this, you may want to try some of the more fast-acting options first.

Method 4: Use a Stump Grinder

One of the best ways to get rid of a stump completely is to grind it up. This will require the rental or use of a stump grinder. These can usually be rented from any equipment rental house or a friend who is a landscaper.

A stump grinder works by chopping the stump up into small, manageable pieces. This is accomplished by a large circular saw mounted on a wheeled cart. By positioning over the stump, you can efficiently and deeply cut into it.

Stump grinders are a great way to remove the existing, superficial stump. However, they are not a guarantee that you will be rid of the entire root system. For that, you will have to remove the entire thing. 

Method 5: Remove the Stump Completely

The key to removing a tree stump is to remove the taproot. The taproot is the main root that connects the stump to the entire root system. It keeps the root system alive even after the tree has been cut down.

To remove the stump completely, you will have to use a stump grinder to remove the superficial wood, then dig deeper into the soil to reach the taproot. Once you have reached it, if you cut it free of any attached outer roots, you can completely remove it.

Removing the taproot will kill any outer root systems in your yard. This will prevent them from growing and potentially wrapping around your sprinkler or sewer lines. This is one of the most important reasons to remove a tree stump.

Related Questions?

Can you burn a stump to get rid of it?

It is possible to burn a stump down to ash in order to get rid of it. However, this method is not recommended due to burning restrictions in many areas. It is also not the safest method and should not be attempted unless you are a professional.

Can vinegar kill trees? 

Vinegar will not kill trees or remove stumps or roots. It will, however, kill any living leaves which can help mitigate the spread of pollen and spores. If you are considering removing a tree for allergy reasons, killing the leaves with vinegar instead could be a good option.

Do copper nails really kill trees?

There is an old wives tale that says that copper nails can kill a tree. Many people believe that this means copper nails can also help remove a tree stump. Unfortunately, this is simply an urban legend and copper nails will not do anything to hinder tree growth.

Michael Oconnor

I am a writer and editor from The Bay Area, CA. When I'm not typing, I enjoy hiking, woodworking and gardening. I love sharing tips and discovering new trends in home improvement.

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