My Tree Stump Is Growing Back: How To Kill A Zombie Tree Stump

Zombie Tree Stump
zombie stump
(Image credit: Matfiej)

After cutting down a tree, you might find that the tree stump keeps sprouting each spring. The only way to stop the sprouts is to kill the stump. Read on to find out how to kill a zombie tree stump.

My Tree Stump is Growing Back

You have two options when it comes to getting rid of tree stumps and roots: grinding or chemically killing the stump. Grinding usually kills the stump on the first try if it's done properly. Killing the stump chemically may take several tries.

Stump Grinding

Stump grinding is the way to go if you're strong and enjoy running heavy equipment. Stump grinders are available at equipment rental stores. Make sure you understand the instructions and have appropriate safety equipment before you start. Grind the stump 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm.) below ground to make sure it's dead.

Tree services can perform this chore for you too, and if you only have one or two stumps to grind, you may find that the cost isn't much more than the rental fees for a grinder.

Chemical Control

Another way to stop tree stump sprouting is to kill the stump with chemicals. This method doesn't kill the stump as fast as grinding, and it may take more than one application, but it is easier for do-it-yourselfers that don't feel up to the task of grinding stumps.

Begin by drilling several holes in the cut surface of the trunk. Deeper holes are more effective. Next, fill the holes with stump killer. There are several products on the market made expressly for this purpose. In addition, you can use broadleaf weed killers in the holes. Read the labels and understand the risks and precautions before choosing a product.

Anytime you use chemical herbicides in the garden you should wear goggles, gloves and long sleeves. Read the entire label before you begin. Store any remaining product in the original container, and keep it out of the reach of children. If you don't think you'll use the product again, dispose of it safely.

Note: Any recommendations pertaining to the use of chemicals are for informational purposes only. Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and more environmentally friendly.


Jackie Carroll

Jackie Carroll has written over 500 articles for Gardening Know How on a wide range of topics.