Mimosa tree shoots

Asked June 25, 2015, 9:25 AM EDT

My in-laws have a Mimosa tree. Last spring, 2014, it was dead on the left side. Probably due to the harsh winter. It had shoots coming out on some of the branches on the right and at the base, mostly shoots from the underground, extended-out roots. This year, 2015, the whole tree was dead, so they cut it down leaving the stump for now. They just noticed that they have shoots coming out, once again, from the underground, extended roots. They're about a foot tall. I'm an avid gardener (but mostly veggies and flowers), so they're asking me if they dig those up, can they replant them to grow a new tree. To be honest, I have no clue about trees and bushes! So I'm hoping someone, who's a master gardener, can answer my/their question. :) Thank you very much! Alicia

Westmoreland County Pennsylvania

1 Response

When trees are in trouble such as an extreme defoliation or heavy damage, the roots try to survive by sending up that kind of shoot. The shoots are supported by the existing roots and can't be cut off and transplanted successfully. If your parents want to kill the stump completely, they can cut off all the shoots and paint the wounds with concentrated roundup, then cover the stump with a garbage bag. I've done this successfully with a maple tree.
Once the tree stops producing sprouts, it will be truly dead roots and all. Dead stumps do attract insects such as beetles, ants, termites, and decomposers such as fungi and bacteria. Therefore your parents might want to dig out the stump or apply a product from the garden store that causes stumps to decay rapidly.