How To Stop Tree Stump From Sprouting (8 Simple Methods)

There are many reasons why we should destroy tree stumps. First, they may not be an attractive addition to the landscaping and could look worse over time.

Secondly, tree stumps can continue producing root growth even after being cut down or torn up, disturbing and displacing other plants’ root systems around them.

Finally, though this is less of a problem for those who live in colder climates, tree stumps will often attract insects and pests that will bore into the wood to create their nests.

Do Tree Stumps Stop Sprouting?

Do Tree Stumps Stop Sprouting
Photo by KayVic P

You may have heard or read that if tree stumps are not removed, they can continue to sprout and produce roots.

This is true for certain species like red oak, maples, willows, lindens, beech, ash, and many others.

Why Do Trees Sprout After Being Cut Down?

Most trees will sprout after being cut down, whether deciduous or coniferous trees.

In some cases, the stump has retained enough stored sugar and nutrients in its roots, which are enough to allow them to regrow into new trees.

Biologically, sprouting can be explained as a survival mechanism. If left alone, sprouts will grow into trees despite not having a stable root plate.

Sprouts, as already explained, are not desirable and need to be removed. Lucky for you, there are plenty of ways to get rid of them, although some work better than others.

For some trees, cutting down the stump or tearing it up doesn’t mean it will stop growing. Some tree stumps tend to produce sprouts above the cut, which can worsen if you don’t dispose of them with care.

However, with the help of proper methods and tools, you have nothing to worry about.

How To Get Rid of Tree Stumps in Yards Completely?

You can remove tree stumps in several ways. If the tree was cut recently, it is still fresh such that even with sawing or splitting the stump into pieces, it’s tough to pull everything out of the ground.

However, if the stump has been there for an extended period, it might have softened so much that even breaking it off at ground level remains a viable option.

There are many different ways to get rid of tree stumps. However, as with anything, some methods work better than others. In this post, we will go over the most effective options.

1. Burning


Fire has always been a great threat to any form of life, and sprouts aren’t an exception. Burning tree stumps may be an old way of getting rid of them, but it works fine.

Fire will destroy all the stored sugar and nutrients, and if that’s not enough, it will reduce the entire mass of the trump into a pile of ash.

Fire is very effective, but it is not always practical as it will burn any grass and other plants in the area. If you decide to explore this option, you must be extra careful.

Another downside to this method is that you need a lot of kindling or fuel to get the fire going, especially if the trump is fresh. This is because it will need to dry up before the fire can consume it.

2. Nailing

Copper nails

As a nutrient, copper has always been a significant agent in tree growth. However, the opposite is also true. Excessive doses of this element are a sure way to kill plant life, and you can use this to your advantage.

Instead of burning trumps, you can hammer copper nails into them. The copper will eventually combine with oxygen under suitable conditions to form oxides of coppers, which are toxic to plant life.

Copper nails are not as quick as fire, but they are very effective in the long run.

To increase the copper’s rate of oxidizing, you can soak the copper nails in plain white vinegar or household ammonia before hammering them into the tree stumps.

You will also want to hammer as many nails as possible to increase copper concentration. The best way to do this is to hammer them a few inches above the ground in a ring-like shape all around the tree trump.

3. Herbicides


We all know that herbicides control undesirable vegetation, such as weeds in your garden.

And yes! They can prevent trumps from sprouting.

It may sound impossible until you try it out. Just spray a suitable herbicide within 15 minutes of cutting down a tree stump.

A suitable herbicide, in this case, can be either the 8% Triclopyr or the 20% Glyphosate.

Triclopyr is often used in broad-leaf weed control but can also kill woody plants such as young trees, stumps, and vines if administered correctly. 

Glyphosate is also a good alternative.

4. Pulling or Dragging

This is perhaps the least effective method of getting rid of sprouts, but it works. Puling and dragging will get rid of sprouting as it does to weeds. If you do it right, you can even eliminate the roots.

One good way to pull trumps is by digging a hole around them and yanking them out along with the part of wood it was growing on.

Another way to do that is using a stump grinder tool to grind off the roots after cutting off all other parts from the sprouts.

Source: The HomeDepot

5. Stomping or Breaking

Stomping or Breaking
Photo by Mathias Reding

Stomping might be the answer if you have difficulty getting rid of tree stumps and sprouts.

It is even simpler than pulling. You will need suitable tools such as a heavy-duty shovel and some hard work. You will want to remove all the soil around the stump and hit it until it is broken.

Remember, the main agenda is to destroy the roots. After they have been exposed, hit them repeatedly until they are destroyed.

You can also work around the roots with your shovel to loosen them up before you start attacking the stump itself.

6. Tree Stump Remover Chemical

Tree stump removers are an excellent solution to all your tree stump problems. They work by reducing the natural decay time of trumps.

This chemical contains potassium nitrate. By using it, you will be able to reduce the stump into a pile of mush in a matter of weeks, maybe four to six.

It will work best by applying a deep injection, and some trees are so dense that you need to do more than one application.

Another alternative would be nitrogen-rich fertilizers. With this, you will need to soak the tree stump and the ground around it, then cover the stump with a plastic cover to ensure it doesn’t retain moisture.

For increased efficiency, consider applying organic mulch over the plastic cover to absorb all moisture from the surrounding.

When soaked with moisture, the mulch will also help keep the plastic cover in place.

After 4 to 6 weeks, you will realize that the stump has become soft enough to be removed manually. If not, you can repeat the process.

7. Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt

This may be your best bet if you want to avoid herbicides and other chemicals. Epsom salt will work by dehydrating the plant, thereby starving it of water.

Epsom salt is a compound of calcium, sulfur, and magnesium. You will need to drill holes into the stump and fill them with Epsom salt for best results.

As a dehydrating agent, Epsom salt will prevent the roots from absorbing water and nutrients.

You should also pour little water over the salt to let it melt and settle in the drilled holes properly. Cover the trump with a plastic tarp to prevent rainwater from washing away your salt.

The downside here is that its time consuming and may sometimes fail because it is a natural method.

You will need to keep repeating the process until it works. It’s also worth mentioning that its effect on large stumps is limited.

8. Blocking The Sun

Blocking the sun will make it unfavorable for trumps to sprout. Instead, it will encourage their natural decomposition.

The best way to do this is to place a dark object such as a tarp or trash bag over the stump. The sun’s rays are the primary source of energy for most plants, so blocking them off will ensure the death of the vegetation.

You may want to combine this method with Epsom salt for better results. This is the cheapest and the most time-consuming. But it still works!. 

Key Takeaways

Tree stumps are a nuisance in any garden mainly because they are hard to get rid of. We wear ourselves out trying to destroy them manually most of the time.

However, with these simple tricks, you can forever get rid of them without hiring an extra hand.

The next time you face a stump that never stops sprouting, you don’t need to hire stump removal services. If you do so, you will find yourself paying a lot of money for a job you could have easily done by yourself.

About UpBackyard Team

The UpBackyard editorial team is a group of enthusiastic writers with a keen interest in Gardening, Backyard & Home Improvement. We learn a lot & so will you!

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