Kill a stump and root system

Asked March 7, 2018, 10:51 AM EST

Hi! I just had an arborist remove a maple from my property leaving a stump of about 10” diameter. He made several deep cuts in the stump and told my wife we could kill the stump and root system with bleach and salt...she forgot to ask what type of salt and how! Can you assist in how we can kill stump and extensive root system? Thank you, Tom Aitchison

Clackamas County Oregon

1 Response

I would not advise using bleach and/or salt to kill a stump and root system as you would risk damaging your soil and other landscape plants.The chemicals in bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and salt (sodium chloride) can cause major undesirable changes in soil chemistry, depending on how much you use in a given area. While they are sometimes used as a "home-made" herbicide, they are not registered and labeled for this use, so there is no official guidance I can give on rates of application. If you wish to apply a chemical product to kill a maple stump and root system, there are many effective products legally registered and labeled for use as "stump killer" and "brush killer". These will have guidelines for safety and specific instructions for cut-stump application.

If you wish to avoid use of chemicals altogether, cutting the stump very low to the ground, repeated cutting or mowing of sprouts to starve the root system, and covering with heavy black plastic are possible options.