Stump Sprouting – Stopping It from Growing Back

What does stump sprouting mean and how do you stop this process on cut trees?

Most times when trees are cut, stumps are left behind. In other cases, such stumps are removed too. However, this isn’t our focus.

Rather, we’ll be discussing stump sprouting. In a lot of instances, trees are removed because they are unwanted in a specific area.

As such, the sprouting of such stumps will also present an unwanted situation.

Causes Of Tree Stump Sprouting

When you notice a sprouting tree stump, there could be multiple explanations. The easiest one that comes to mind is that such a stump is still alive, hence its continued growth.

Another valid explanation for stump sprouting is the takeover of such stumps by invasive plant species.

These invasive plant species takeover the stump, making it their home. For better understanding, any sprout that emerges acts as a parasite (for invasive plants). In other words, such plants will be using the resources supplied by the root systems of the old stump.

This new growth will need to be gotten rid of.

Having found the causes, we will be discussing the many ways sprouting stumps can be eliminated or stopped. It is important to note that when left unattended, sprouting stumps can replicate similar challenges presented by the previously felled tree.

Here is how to stop a tree stump from growing back.

Ways To Prevent Tree Stump From Sprouting

This section of the article will be discussing all sorts of strategies that help prevent stump sprouting. These range from the very basic to the more complex strategies.

Nevertheless, we reassure you that none of these methods (especially the “complex”) is really difficult.

These are measures anyone can take once you have the right tools. Luckily, the tools required aren’t that difficult to find. Tree stumps need to be effectively killed or destroyed to prevent sprouting. The following are useful tips to try out.

  • Pulling Out Sprouts By Hand

Pulling stump sprouts by hand is among the easiest ways to get the job done. However, is this reliable? Not at all! This will only provide short term relief until new growth appears. Pulling these by hand only focuses on the effect and not the cause.

Nevertheless, some people still prefer this method as it takes little time.

The best advice we can give is to urge you to find a more permanent solution. Such a permanent solution will be to take more far-reaching measures that destroy the stump, making it impossible to sprout again.

To do this, you’ll need to kill it from the inside out. More on this will follow shortly.

  • Calling A Tree Removal Service

Tree removal and maintenance services provide all forms of tree care including stump removal. If you fear the possibility of sprouting tree stumps in the future, you can ask for both tree and stump removal. In most cases, including stump removal will come at an added cost.

Tree removal services offer complete solutions to all types of tree-related problems. After calling your preferred service, they come around to inspect the problem and offer far-reaching solutions through recommendations. Work begins immediately you approve.

This is about the easiest way to tackle a sprouting stump problem. You won’t need to worry yourself with how to get the job done as these tree professionals have you covered.

A decaying stump isn’t an ideal environment for sprouts to flourish. Hence the need to rot the stump. We are talking about adopting artificial measures to create such unfavorable conditions. Important tools required include drills and glasses to protect your eyes.

Use a half-inch drill for this job. Holes should be drilled across the top and sides (at a downward angle) of the stump. A spacing of about 5 to 6 inches should be allowed between holes. The deeper the holes, the better. Having drilled the holes, get some potassium nitrate, and pour it into such holes.

Another name for this chemical is saltpeter. Having poured your potassium nitrate, apply some water on it. This should be done slowly to help the chemical compound dissolve. When dissolved, it gets absorbed into the stump. What happens is that it helps accelerate the decomposition or destruction of the stump.

Sufficient time should be allowed for the dissolved chemical to penetrate all parts of the stump. The result of this strategy is that the wood decomposes. This is evident when the wood becomes soft. A shovel or other equipment can be used to chip off portions of the stump until it fully removed.

Note that decomposition won’t happen immediately. This is a slow process that takes time. Nevertheless, it gives you the result you seek. You can remove sprouts by hand while also focusing on the cause. When the slow process of destroying the stump is fully complete, you won’t have to worry about sprouts appearing again.

  • Paint Stump

Will painting stop a tree stump from growing? Yes. But it is not about using ordinary paint.

Painting is another way to arrest sprouting stumps. However, we aren’t talking about any paint. Rather, this process includes the use of the brush-killer herbicide. The brush-killer herbicide should contain either glyphosate or triclopyr.

These are active ingredients that help breakdown sprouting stumps.

Stump painting is done systematically for the best results. The issue of safety comes first. By safety, we’re talking about protective gear to protect your skin and eyes. Therefore, a good pair of rubber gloves plus safety goggles are necessary.

After getting these, choose clement weather to carry out this job.

This should be no signs of rain. To be doubly sure, finding out the weather forecast will be helpful. About a cup of brush killer herbicide should be sufficient to get the job done. Having poured this into a plastic container or bucket, get a brush with which to use in painting over the stump.

The brush bristles are immersed in the brush-killer herbicide until saturated. This is generously applied to freshly cut stumps. All exposed parts should be painted over. However, doing this once won’t get the job done. You’d have to paint the stump once each week to ensure the stump is completely damaged.

For old stumps, some form of chopping off of the old layer may be required. This is done to help expose fresh parts of it. The brush-killer herbicide is then applied as usual. It still has the same effect as on fresh stump.

  • Remove Large Roots

The removal of large roots from sprouting stumps helps starve them of vital nutrients to survive. This strategy can be used in combination with any of the methods listed here. The removal of large roots (especially those for big trees) might prove quite difficult. However, there is machinery or equipment that help get the job done more efficiently.

Removing large stump roots yourself can sometimes seem impossible. You can leave all of that to the experts. In other words, by calling a tree removal service, you’re letting them get the entire job done. You only need to point to the direction of the stump and give way. This is difficult work and will cost more to get roots removed.

When used in combination with any of the strategies mentioned here, it succeeds in containing the problem fast enough.

  • Stump Grinding

Stump grinding is a more thorough way of eliminating the problem once and for all.

A piece of equipment called a stump grinder is needed. Now, you’d either have to hire one or call in the professionals to offer this service. Stump grinding is part of the many solutions tree removal services offer to clients.

The situation is assessed to find out whether grinding will best serve the purpose or not. If you prefer handling the job yourself, you’d need an entire day to focus on getting it done.

First, you have to rent the equipment or grinder. Next, having a detailed understanding of its basic operations is also as important.

Attention to safety is paramount. A little ignorance about its safety precautions can cost you dearly. Make sure to read all the safety instructions that come with such equipment. Never be in a hurry to jump into the process. Sort everything that has to do with safety and directions for use first.

Quickly search around the stump to ensure there are no stones or hard objects that could damage the grinder. For an even better and easier stump grinding job, the stump can be further lowered.

A chainsaw will be necessary to get this done.

Lowering or further cutting the stump lower makes it much easier to grind. That way, no extra effort will be expended in getting rid of the stump. The machine is controlled and guided to do what it does best.

  • Drill Holes And Pack In Epsom Or Rock Salt Or Kerosene

Drill holes deep enough into the stump. These holes are then filled with Epsom or rock salt. There are many helpful remedies and this is one of them. When holes are drilled into a stump, kerosene can be poured into such holes with the purpose of burning.

However, fire isn’t introduced immediately. Rather the kerosene is allowed to soak into the wood before lighting. The stump is burned, thus destroying any sprouts present.


Stump sprouting is a condition a lot of property owners face when trees are cut. Here, we have considered several ways to contain the problem. These are tips that have been tried with great results obtained.

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