If you have a problem tree in your yard, just cutting it down might not be enough. It’s not uncommon to find a stump sprouting new branches anywhere from days to months after a tree is cut down. Trees can be surprisingly tenacious—if any part of the tree, especially roots, is still touching soil, there’s a chance of regrowth.

While, in the case of small trees, pulling the stump may be an option, that creates the risk that some roots will remain, and the tree will still regrow. Killing stumps is often the best solution to ensure trees are completely removed. Luckily, there are a few ways to do that.

At Lineage Tree Care, we have years of experience grinding and removing stumps all over Washington State, and we’re here to help. Our experts put together this complete guide on how to stop tree stumps from sprouting.

Stop Tree Stump from Sprouting

How To Stop Tree Sprouts From Stumps in Four Simple Steps

1. Grind the Stump Down

Grinding a stump often prevents new growth, but the process is also laborious and can be dangerous if done incorrectly. A quality stump-grinding machine will set you back by at least a few grand. Apart from the high overhead fee, you might not fully utilize your grinder unless you have a lot of stumps in your yard. Most homeowners find it more cost-effective to hire a professional for stump grinding.

2. Apply Herbicide

Spraying or painting herbicide on a freshly cut tree is a simple, hassle-free way to avoid unwanted regrowth.

For maximum efficacy, you’ll need to treat the stump immediately after you cut down the tree. Even a 30-minute delay will compromise the formula’s effects. That’s why this option is best if you haven’t cut the tree down yet or you’re dealing with a new tree growing from the stump.

The stump should be cut no more than one to two inches from the ground. It takes several weeks for a herbicide to kill a stump and prevent sprouts. In the meantime, you can also apply the herbicide to any new growth that appears. It will kill the sprouts.

3. Poison the Stump

If applying herbicide fails to stop new growth, you could try stump-killing chemicals. These products contain hazardous compounds designed to eliminate any plant they contaminate. Unlike herbicide treatments, you need to pour the chemical directly inside the stump.

Likewise, be aware that even when applied inside the stump, you may unintentionally kill or damage nearby trees or plants depending on the formula chosen. Organic alternatives like potassium nitrate are the safest option.

To start, drill holes into the stump. Create several four-inch-deep holes with four-inch gaps in between, although deeper cavities will allow the chemicals to penetrate the roots faster. Afterward, pour the stump-killing solution into the holes.

4. Burn the Stump

Note: Make sure you meet any legal requirements before attempting to burn a stump.

If done correctly, burning a stump is a sure-fire way to stop a tree stump from sprouting. First, drill multiple holes into the stump, then scoop potassium nitrate and water into them. This mixture speeds up wood deterioration.

Next, fill the holes with scrap wood, then ignite the stump. You can also use flammable liquids, such as kerosene, but be aware that these options can be harder to keep under control.  Regardless of the accelerant you use, never leave a burning stump unattended. Burning a tree stump usually takes between 12 to 24 hours, depending on its size, girth, and age.

Prevent Your Tree Stump From Sprouting for Good

Need some help removing a tree or stump or preventing stump regrowth? Our specialists have the skills, training, and resources to handle it safely, quickly, and cost-effectively. Give our team at Lineage Tree a call at (425) 800-8015 for more information on how to stop tree stumps from sprouting forever.