We have maple tree stumps that every spring grow shoots like crazy. How can I get the stumps to die? We live in the country (well water) so we’re concerned about contaminating the water supply.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Sandy: The roots of some maples can be very aggressive. This is true even after the trees have been removed if the stumps are not ground out. So, this would be one option for dealing with the suckers. Having the stumps ground out will help prevent any suckers from forming. This would be the most expensive but most effective method. Cutting back the suckers with a pair of pruners as soon as you notice them will eventually slow them down. They are pushing out growth in order to photosynthesize, but if you do not allow this to happen the roots will not survive. Slowly but surely this process will work, but you have to stay on top of it and not let the suckers get out of control. You can either just cut them back or cut them back and then apply a small amount of Roundup to the tip of the sucker. You can purchase either a ready-to-use spray or a concentrated form and apply with a paint brush. Using such a small amount of this product will not contaminate your well water since it will be taken up and absorbed by the plant and will not ever come into contact with your water source.