How to stop an old tree stump from suckering

Stopping an old tree stump from suckering (sending up new shoots) can be a bit of a challenge, but here are some steps you can take to prevent or manage the suckering:

Physical Removal

If the stump is accessible and not too large, physically removing it entirely can prevent suckering. This might involve using a stump grinder to grind down the stump below ground level. It needs to go down low enough to ensure that the remaining roots can’t produce new shoots.

Chemical Treatments

There are chemical treatments available that can help prevent stump sprouting. These treatments usually involve applying a concentrated herbicide to the stump immediately after cutting it down. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and use appropriate safety precautions.

Regular Pruning

If the stump has already started suckering, you’ll need to be vigilant about pruning any new shoots as they emerge. Regularly cutting back these shoots can weaken the stump’s ability to regrow and eventually exhaust its energy reserves. If the root system is sending up suckers over a wide area, turning the area to lawn can help deplete energy reserves as all suckers will be hit repeatedly by the mower. Depending on the size of the root system and species of tree, this may take many years. Poplars and limes are particularly tricky.

Cover the Stump

Try completely covering the stump with a heavy, opaque material like a tarp or black plastic. This can deprive it of sunlight and slow down its ability to generate new shoots.

Copper Nails or Pipes

In the old days if people wanted to know how to stop an old tree stump from suckering, you’d probably have been told to try inserting copper nails or pipes into the stump. The idea is that copper is toxic to plants and could potentially hinder the growth of new shoots. However, this method might not be very effective on its own.

Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water over the stump might kill off some of the roots and prevent suckering. However, this method can also harm nearby plants and soil organisms, so use it with caution.

Consult an Arborist

If the stump suckering is particularly stubborn or if you’re dealing with a large tree, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional arborist. They can provide advice specific to your situation. They might recommend techniques like stump grinding, which can help eradicate the issue more effectively.

Know you know the key ways of how to stop an old tree stump from suckering. Remember that stopping suckering from an old tree stump might require a combination of methods. It might take time and consistent effort to see results. Additionally, ensure you’re aware of any local regulations or guidelines regarding tree removal or treatment, as these might vary based on your location.