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Stump Sprouting? Here’s What You Can Do

Sometimes tree stumps continue to sprout even after you’ve cut them down. Just because the tree is dead, the stump may still be alive and as a result you will continue to see sprouts until you take some kind of action to prevent this from happening.

A tree stump sitting in your yard can become a home to invasive plant species, which cause unsightly sprouts to appear. There is also the possibility that the tree stump is still alive and will continue growing. The roots may spread and damage pipes, sidewalks, and other parts of your property.

Stump Sprouting? Here’s What You Can DoIf you notice problems like this occurring, there are a few steps you can take. You can apply a stump killer to the tree itself, which will spread to the roots and largely prevent them from growing out of control. Ideally, you should do this right before or right after cutting down the tree. There are some risks involved when using herbicides, however, such as the potential for harm to the other plants in your yard, so take great care when applying them. You can also pull any sprouts you see out by hand. Both of these methods will help to curb the problem but will not make it completely go away.

If you want to take more effective measures, you can apply chemicals deeper into the stump and allow them to kill it. Sometimes this will take several applications but it is still the easiest way to prevent the tree from growing out of control. You’ll start by drilling holes across the surface of the tree trunk; the deeper, the better. Then take a commercially available stump killer and use it to fill the holes.

As we’ve mentioned, there can be risks involved in the use of herbicides so take care to read all of the directions and warnings on the product you’ve chosen. Broadleaf weed killers, for example, are made from a chemical called glyphosate, which is effective but can spread to other trees and shrubs that the roots of your stump are mingling with. You’ll also want to make sure you are wearing safety gear when using these products, such as goggles, a long sleeved shirt, and gloves. Keep any hazardous chemicals out of the reach of children at all times.

If you decide you want to take an even more effective approach to the removal of a tree stump, you can rent a stump grinder. This method takes quite a bit of work, so keep your weekend free to get the job done. Stump grinders are usually gas-powered and can be rented for around $100-$190 per day. Once again, safety is paramount! When you rent the equipment, have the dealer show you all of the controls and tell you how to use the machine safely. You will need goggles and hearing protection for this job as well.

Before you grind the stump, take care to remove any rocks from the base of the tree. Rocks can damage the equipment so make sure you get them all. If you have a chainsaw, use it to cut the stump as close to the ground as you can. This will save you a great deal of effort in the actual grinding process.

Finally you can begin grinding that tree stump. You’ll use the hydraulic lever on your stump grinder to raise it several inches above the stump. Once the machine is in position, start it up and slowly lower it into the stump. With the lever, move the machine from side to side and it will clear away the wood. Eventually, you will grind the stump all the way into the ground. You can then fill the hole with topsoil.

There are several other methods for removing a tree stump besides grinding. Burning them is another effective method, however you’ll need to check your local ordinances to see if this is currently permitted in your area. If you discover that it’s allowed, you can drill a few 8 to 10 inch holes in your stump, making sure to clear out all the debris in each one. Then you will scoop potassium nitrate into each of the holes and follow up by filling them with hot water. The potassium nitrate will dissolve and become distributed throughout the stump. After you’ve done this, take the scrap wood you’ve removed from the holes you made and light them. They will smolder, eventually turning the whole stump into ash. Remove the remains with a shovel.

Another option is to rot the stump. For this method, you will also make use of potassium nitrate and a drill. Simply drill a few holes in the stump and fill them with potassium nitrate and hot water. Once you have done this, the stump will slowly soften. As it does so, you can chip off chunks of it with a shovel until it’s completely gone.

Whichever method you choose, make sure you remove all of the large roots around the stump. Once you’ve done this, you won’t have to worry about that tree stump sprouting with invasive plants anymore.

In many cases, your best option will be to hire a professional to remove a tree stump. Often, this method will save you money in the long run and you can ensure that it is done correctly and safely. Whatever you decide to do, good luck!