Stump Sprouts – Developing Into a Tree

Q: In my yard I have an oak tree stump that remains from a tree cut down two years ago. In the meantime, several new sprouts have emerged from the stump. I have kept one of these sprouts and cut back the rest. The current new sprout has vigorous growth and is now almost twenty four inches tall.

If I continue to encourage this sprout, will it ever develop into a tree? I have always been told that these sprouts from a stump never amount to anything.

A: The sprout will indeed develop into a tree but I’m inclined to agree with your other advisors. If the stump is small it is possible that the new tree, as it grows, will envelop it and seal it from the weather.

On the other hand, if it is large, the stump attached to the new sprout will decompose eventually and this may harm the sprout. In addition, the sprout will likely only have roots on the side away from the original stump, making it more likely to fall some day. You are welcome to leave the sprout alone to see what happens – after all, that’s how gardeners get educated!

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