how to stop tree roots from growing back

How to Stop Tree Roots From Growing Back

Sometimes, we ignore the network of roots beneath the tree in our yard until they cause damage. When they damage our driveway or foundation, we need to remove them. Despite our love for the tree, removing the roots becomes necessary. However, the good news is that you can eliminate the roots by yourself in several ways.

Do Roots Continue to Grow After Tree is Cut Down?

When a tree is cut down, its roots may still grow and spread through the soil, which can cause the tree to regrow from the stump or generate new shoots from the roots. What seems like new trees sprouting near the stump might be shoots growing from the roots. To avoid further root growth, it’s important to know how to stop tree roots from growing back.

It is important to note that some tree roots may stop growing once the tree is cut down or the stump is removed. This happens because the roots need energy from sprouts or leaves to keep growing. If no sprouts or leaves provide the energy, the roots will eventually die.

If you notice small plants growing on the remaining large roots, they may continue to grow and damage your lawn. Learning how to prevent the regrowth of tree roots can help you solve this issue early on and avoid any potential future harm to your home’s structure.

Preparing for Root Removal

To remove tree roots effectively, many people use a chainsaw to cut down the tree stump and a reciprocating saw to cut through large roots. However, it is essential to note that these tools should only be used if you are knowledgeable about proper usage and follow appropriate safety measures to minimise the risk of harm.

To begin with, wear tight-fitting clothes, including a long-sleeved shirt and full-length pants. Also, don’t forget to wear goggles and gloves to safeguard your face and hands from scattering debris. Ensure your worksite is clear of any obstructions that could damage your machine or put you in danger, such as big and small rocks, excess dirt, or other undesired objects.

Methods on How to Stop Tree Roots from Growing Back

Removing tree roots can take a long time, even using the best methods. It’s important to be patient and willing to try different techniques if one doesn’t work. However, never mix these remedies at the same time.

Homemade Remedy

To remove the roots, use milder materials, such as salt and boiling water, instead of harsh chemicals. These options are almost as effective and won’t harm other nearby plants.

Additionally, they are cost-effective, so you won’t spend much money if they don’t work.
If you prefer faster results, you can use chemical herbicides instead of the previously mentioned methods, which may take longer.

To use the following homemade methods, keep a drill nearby to make holes in the stump or above-ground roots. While some of these techniques can fully break down small tree roots, you may also need to excavate the remaining dead roots of larger trees.

Boiling Water

  1. Try to uncover and reveal as many underground roots as you can.
  2. To get the best result, use a chainsaw to cut the stump as close to the roots as possible.
  3. Drill 7.6 to 10.1 cm deep holes in the stump and large roots that grow over the ground.
  4. Pour boiling water over the roots, covering as many as possible. This method quickly harms and shocks the roots, but you may not see immediate results. Check back after a few days and repeat the process if necessary.

Epsom or Rock Salt

  1. Drill holes 7.6 to 10.1 cm deep to remove the stump and roots. Also, drill holes in the large above-ground roots.
  2. Fill each gap with salt, careful not to let it overflow, especially if other plants are nearby.
  3. Try repeating the second step every few months until all the roots have died. You can confirm that the roots have stopped growing when the remaining ones become hollow and wilted, and no new sprouts are visible on or near the trunk.


  1. Uncover the roots. Employ a shovel and dig as extensively as feasible.
  2. Get rid of the remaining stump and large roots; you can drill holes into them and fill the holes with vinegar until they’re full.
  3. If sprouts or leaves begin to grow on the remaining stump, use vinegar to spray them.
  4. If the roots are still alive after soaking in vinegar for a month, repeat step two every month until they die. Consider trying a different method if no progress is made after several months.

Chemical Herbicide

To kill roots quickly, you can use chemical herbicides. You can find many herbicides at stores, but check the label to confirm that a product has the ingredients you require.

When using chemical herbicides, taking safety precautions to protect yourself and others is essential. Wear gloves and full-length clothing to avoid direct contact with the herbicide. Choose clothing that you can dispose of afterwards. Keep in mind that chemical herbicides can harm more than just plants.

To ensure safety, it is important to prevent pets, children, and others from entering the work area until the herbicide has thoroughly dried. After completing the task, remember to change your clothes and wash your hands.

Physical Method — Digging The Root Out Manually

If you have smaller roots in your yard or have used one of the methods mentioned before and there are still some remaining roots, manually removing them is a viable option.

Materials Needed:

  • Garden hoe
  • Drill
  • Shovel
  • Reciprocating Saw or Hatchet


  1. Take out most of the soil surrounding the remaining tree stump and roots. This will make it easier to remove the roots by hand or machine since the soil won’t be compacted around them.
  2. To make it easier to remove the roots, use a homemade remedy, store-bought root killer, or herbicide to weaken them. Wait a few weeks to a month for the solutions to take effect before manually removing the roots.
  3. To remove bigger roots, employ a hatchet or a reciprocating saw. Take the same safety measures you would for using a chainsaw, such as wearing long sleeves and pants and keeping both feet firmly on the ground.
  4. To make it easier to break down, alternate your strikes with a hatchet on the stump or roots in a V-shaped pattern.
  5. Taking a break when you start feeling tired is vital to avoid accidents that are more likely to happen when you’re fatigued.
  6. To easily remove a large root, begin from the outermost edge and gradually move towards the centre instead of removing the whole root at once.
  7. Take a shovel or a garden hoe to dig up the small roots after removing the large ones.

Reasons to Remove Old Tree Roots

Roots of overgrown trees can cause various risks to indoor and outdoor areas. This includes minor issues like dislodging pavers and major ones like damaging a home’s foundation. Even after a tree is removed, its roots can continue to grow if not properly removed.

You can use the same removal methods to stop the growth of any kind of root permanently. Even if you have to remove older roots in the ground for a while due to landscaping or other issues, it’s best to remove the tree and roots all at once. Roots from a long-gone tree can also cause problems in your sewage line. That’s why it’s important to know how to stop tree roots from growing back.

Why Is Root Removal Necessary?

Roots in your garden can lead to various issues, such as slope erosion, soil disturbance around garden beds, harm to concrete paths and driveways, and damage to sewer lines, drains, and other pipes. It can even become a problem with your neighbours if the roots start to damage their area as well.

Hiring an expert to remove roots from pipes, sewer lines, and drains is best to avoid any risks associated with working in these sensitive areas. Old tree stumps can attract pests like termites, mice, and rats, which can cause severe damage and infestation to your house.

Go DIY or Hire Tree Wise Men

If you need to remove a tree from your yard because it is sick, dead, or no longer suitable for your space, cutting it down and removing the stump is not enough. The roots below can keep growing if you do not take the time to eliminate them.

There are a lot of benefits you can get when DIYing. For one, you can cut expenses by hiring professionals. If done correctly, root removal can be a straightforward process that brings many benefits and peace of mind. That’s why having the knowledge on how to stop tree roots from growing back is crucial. However, there are instances when doing it yourself is not applicable.

If all else fails, it’s best to get in touch with a professional arborist with experience in root removal. Contact Tree Wise Men today for expert help with your garden. Our experience and expertise will ensure your garden stays healthy and safe for years.

We provide stump grinding services that eliminate the stump and its roots, including cleaning up any remaining green waste to leave your garden looking great. Don’t hesitate – reach out to us now!


Tree Pruning Perth
Tree Wise Men Perth Logo Icon

You Might Also Like

what trees can be cut down without permission

Understanding Permissible Tree Removal: What Trees Can Be Cut Down Without Permission?

By Alan Tweed | 03/01/2024

Understanding the rules about cutting down trees can be like trying to find your way through a maze – it gets pretty tricky, especially when figuring out what trees can be cut down…

What Trees Are Protected in Australia

Protected Trees in Australia – The Lowdown For Each State

By Alan Tweed | 01/02/2024

What trees are protected in Australia? Tree protection laws in different Australian states and territories vary considerably. However, they all stem from their respective state and territory parliaments, serving a shared objective. These…

Get a Quote Now

Fill in the form below and one of our friendly arborists will get back to you shortly.

Get a Quote Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.