Written by Brian Barth and published on https://homeguides.sfgate.com/.

Your faithful old tree has finally fallen. Maybe it got too sick or it was struck by lightning. In any case, most dead trees are reduced down to stumps. After that happens, you might have an odd question: can a tree grow back from a tree stump?

Can Stumps Grow Back?

Gardeners often fret over plants that are hard to grow, but plants that are hard to kill pose another challenge. The stumps of most woody species regrow after they are cut, and some tenacious trees and shrubs sprout again and again, even if they are repeatedly cut to the ground. Almost all deciduous species possess this trait to some degree, though it is not as common among evergreen coniferous shrubs and trees.

Stump Sprouting

Stump sprouting is a natural mechanism for plant regeneration. It allows a forest to return after a fire and prevents the death of saplings after they have been browsed by deer. A root system stores some of the energy produced in photosynthesis and directs it into new growth from the stump. Stump sprouting can be managed intentionally to create shrubby forms of large trees and to stimulate the growth of long, straight sprouts to harvest as fence posts, garden stakes and decorative materials.

Inherent Problems

A tree that has a single trunk makes numerous sprouts after it has been cut so only a stump remains. If the sprouts are allowed to grow, a multitrunked tree develops over time, with the long limbs growing at an angle to the stump. Those new trunks are prone to storm damage, often cracking at their connection to the stump. Repeated cutting worsens the problem. All new foliage generates energy that is stored in the roots, which is why some stumps seem to sprout indefinitely. The root crown gets bigger every year in a tree or shrub managed this way, making digging out the stump more difficult that it would be otherwise.

Mechanical Control

If all new growth is removed as soon as it emerges from a stump, the energy reserves in the root system become exhausted and the plant dies. Mowing the sprouts of a stump in a lawn achieves the goal, though the stump must be cut flush to the ground for the mower to pass over it. Remove the stump of a small tree or shrub with a shovel and pick ax. Using a backhoe or stump-grinder is the only option for removing a large tree stump. When using tools or equipment that causes wood chips to fly into the air, be sure to wear protective eyewear.

Chemical Control

A broad-spectrum herbicide, such as glyphosate, offers a less laborious solution for killing a stubborn stump. Do not dilute the glyphosate and use it in the concentrated form. Paint the herbicide on the all surfaces of the stump late in the growing season for the best results. Injuring the stump, or trunk, by drilling holes or hacking into it with a hatchet allows better penetration of the herbicide chemical to the actively growing plant cells. Once the chemical enters the plant’s “blood stream,” it is distributed quickly throughout living tissues, and the plant is unlikely to live another season.

Original post here https://homeguides.sfgate.com/can-stumps-grow-back-90467.html.

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