Removing Tree Stumps with Salt

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After a tree is cut down it may take many years for the roots and trucks to die. Often stumps will go on living for many years to come with new roots developed and sprouts not only appearing at the stump but in the tree’s general area. If stump removal and stump grinding is not an option for you (although they are relatively inexpensive) and you don’t feel the need to burn the stumps or use toxic chemicals, then the use of rock salts might just be for you!

How it is done

  1. Have the tree lopped to as close to ground level as possible. Make sure it is safe and not a tripping hazard.
  2. Drill holes into the side of the stump at a downward angle as close to the top of the stump as you can. Make sure the holes you drill are at least 2 cm in diameter.
  3. Drill additional holes all around the stump. The larger the stump – the more holes it will have.
  4. Fill the holes with rock salt. Compress the rock salt in using a rod.
  5. (Optional) If you are not concerned about nearby vegetation sprinkle salt around the base of the stump.
  6. Cover the stump and salt with soil. Give it a good soak with water so the salt dissolves and enters the soil.
  7. Water the stump every 2-3 days for 5-6 weeks. This helps the salt enter the stump.
  8. If you notice any growth during this period repeat the salting process. Patience is the key to success!

If you’d like the stump to rot faster now that it’s dead, have a read of this organic stump removal process.

Best way to kill a tree stump

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Poisoning a tree stump

Poisoning a tree stump*

After a tree is removed, often the stump will continues to grow and there will be sprouts of growth on the stump in the few weeks after it is lopped. If left untreated then the stump could potentially regrow into another near full sized and slightly disfigured tree. Removing the tree stump is the only way to prevent the tree stump from regrowing if poisoning and kill the stump is an unacceptable option.
The first thing that needs to be done is the tree must be cut to ground level, or the lowest level permitted by the terrain. Within 30 seconds of causing an injury to the stump or its roots a generous application of tree poison needs to be applied. Any delay in applying the poison may allow the tree’s cells to close up and the stump won’t accept the poison as readily. Use a chainsaw to cut grooves in the stump and roots and quickly apply the poison using an applicator or spray bottle. Drilling holes into the tree’s stump and roots is an equally effective option.

There are many products on the market that would be suitable to poison a tree stump. Glyphosate based liquid poisons are highly effective (such as Round-up, glypho 450, zero, etc) when applied in this manner. Make sure they are applied in dilute form and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Wait around 6 weeks and then reapply in the same manner – making grooves in the timber before a quick application. If the poison is undiluted it will damage the cell membranes of the stump but not be absorbed by the plant which how they cause the stumps to die.

A common concern with glyphosate based poison is that it is considered a nasty toxic herbicide. In fact, it is one of the least toxic herbicides and it is not soil residual. This means that in 14 days from application it would be impossible to detect in the soil as it leaves without a trace. There is zero chance that glyphosate would poison plants that it was not applied to. So don’t get over zealous with your application and accidently exposed the other plants when you were applying it. There is the risk if it rained within 6 hours of application the poison could spread – so check the weather before applying. Also, in winter trees can have greater┬áresistance to herbicides as the tree’s growth slows during this time.

For stumps that just refuse to die there are some serious heavy duty poisons available. Tordon has an injection poison, which is injected into tree stumps roots and causes rapid death. Graslan and Tordon have pellets which require drilling into the tree stump and inserting the pellets that get slowly absorbed. There are basal bark forms from Access, Garlon 600, and Starane which are also highly effective for those hard to kill stumps. We suggest using a glyphosate poison, but if it isn’t working then try the cut stump method with any product from Access, Garlon 600, Tardon, and Starane – they are guaranteed to do the trick.

If you can’t be bothered with poisoning your stump you could always get a professional arborist to come around and poison or remove the stump for you. Try the crew at Sydney Tree Removals as they are highly affordable and have an excellent reputation.

*The drill holes in the picture are incorrect, the ideal place to drill is just into the cambium layer which is just inside the bark.