Chemicals to treat stumps and prevent regrowth of trees and root grafting

Written by angela ryczkowski
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Chemicals to treat stumps and prevent regrowth of trees and root grafting
Stumps can be treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Many property owners, managers or landscapers are faced with problem stumps that resprout, sending up unsightly and sometimes hazardous shoots. Several herbicides can be used to successfully prevent cut trees from resprouting. Using the correct application method, following directions on herbicide labels and choosing the correct herbicide for the problem tree or shrub are all important factors in preventing pesky regrowth. The list of chemicals here are common active ingredients in many brands of herbicide.

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Amitrole is applied as a foliar spray that is most effective when all plant parts are wet. It should only be used on non-cropland and when there will be no spray or drift. It works well to control ash, blackberry, Douglas fir, elderberry, locust, poison oak and salmon berry.


Bromacil can be broadcast in the spring to control woody plants on non-cropland. It may persist in the soil for several years and should not be applied near standing water or adjacent to areas with desirable trees or shrubs. Many pesky species are susceptible to basal bark treatment with bromacil.


2,4-D can be applied as a water-based foliar spray during active growth periods or as an oil-based basal spray. Thorough coverage is necessary and some difficult species may require retreatment. 2.4-D, when used as a stump treatment, can control alder, cherry, cottonwood, locust, madroño and oak.


Dicamba can be used as a foliar, cut surface, basal or stump treatment. Dicamba can easily run off or contaminate adjacent trees and crops. Dicamba works well as a stump treatment for the following species: alder, quaking aspen, cherry, cottonwood, elm, locust, madroño, oak and willow.


MSMA can be applied as a cut surface treatment. Treated areas should not be grazed for one year following application. MSMA works well to control cherry, cottonwood, Douglas fir, elm, locust, madroño, oak and pines.


Picloram can be used as an all-season broadcast, stump, injection or frill treatment to control woody plants. Picloram can persist in the soil for years, should not be used on frozen soil and can easily damage desirable plants. Picloram works well to control alder, aspen, cherry, cottonwood, Douglas fir, elm, locust, madroño, oak, pines and willow.


Glyphosate can be used for stumps or as a foliar treatment. Stumps or vegetation that have been previously treated with chemicals may be resistant to glyphosate. If rain falls within six hours of application it will reduce effectiveness. Glyphosate works to control alder, ash, aspen, cherry, cottonwood, elm and Russian olive.


Imazapyr can be used in forest and non-cropland areas. It may injure crops or lawns and may persist in the soil for years. Imazapyr works well to control resprouting on most pesky tree species.


Triclopyr can best control woody plants if applied during early summer. Any drift may severely injure desirable plants. Lactating animals should not graze in treated areas for one year following application. Triclopyr can effectively control most tree species' stumps but may require reapplication in elms and Russian olives.

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