Populus tremuloides quaking aspen

Asked July 31, 2018, 4:21 PM EDT

Dear Expert,
We planted several quaking aspen too close to our buildings many years ago, so we have cut them down this last spring. The problem being the roots are still sending out shoots and we don't know how to rid the lawn of them, even though we had the stumps ground out.
We would be very appreciative if you could advise as to how we can handle this problem.
Best regards,
Mary Lou Johnson

Sanders County Montana trees and shrubs home horticulture horticulture

2 Responses

This is a common issue with established trees, especially those members of the Willow family such as aspen, cottonwoods, and willows. These trees will readily sprout or sucker from roots once the main tree has been damaged or taken out completely. Ideally, you should treat the stump immediately after it is cut with a product to kill the roots; usually an herbicide labeled for such an application. Only the outer inch or so of living tissue, the cambium layer, of the stump surface needs to be treated. The stump can be ground down after a week or so, once the root killing compound has translocated into the roots.

In your case, you'll have to treat the sprouts/suckers individually by either mowing or cutting them off when they appear or clipping them and treating the surface of that sprout/sucker with an herbicide approved for that use. Glyphosate and triclopyr are two common herbicides used for such a treatment.

Until the root mass is either starved out by continually cutting the sprouts/suckers or killed by an herbicide translocated throughout the root mass, you will continue to experience sprouts/suckers emerging in your lawn. You can contact your local county Extension office or Weed District office for assistance with products you can use.

Good luck and I hope this information is helpful.

Dear Dave B,
Thank you so much for clarifying the problem we are having with the Aspen sprouts. I wish I would have contacted you last fall when we cut the trees down. It would have saved us a lot of grief.

At least now, we know exactly what we can do to rectify our matter.
With regards,
Mary Lou