Roots – How to Kill

Q: I recently had two trees cut down because their roots passed beneath my sidewalk. The stumps and roots remain. I’m concerned that the roots will continue to grow. How can I kill them?

A: Some trees, like oak and pine, rarely send up root sprouts after the main trunk is cut down. Others, like sweetgum and ‘Bradford’ pear, sprout for years. Keep your eyes peeled this spring. If there are no green sprouts from the stump or the area around it, the roots are dead. They will slowly deteriorate over the next few years and your sidewalk will be safe. If sprouts do appear, be persistent about clipping them at the soil line. With no leaves to make food, the roots will eventually die.

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