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My intention is to ask for help - not to offend any one!!!  But I need to kill a cottonwood tree.  I will keep this as short as possible.  2 years ago I took down a cottonwood tree in my backyard.  My friend and I rented a stump grinder and got as much of the stump as 5 hours would allow, but there was still a chunk of that stump in that hole.  As I went to take the grinder back, I told him to mix up the 4 bags of cement that we had left from something else and pour them in that hole - so he did.  I have battled shoots popping up and as i removed the shoots if i could get to the root that was sending up the shoots, I drilled holes in it and used saltpeter and roundup to kill it - so far - so good.  However, recently there was a shoot come up and as i used my shovel to get it out - I hit cement.  I used my shovel to lift up the corner of that piece of cement and that stump has sprouted about a thousand shoots.  They are now growing and pushing up that 4 bags of cement that we poured over that stump.  I need to kill the shoots and the stump.  Anybody got any suggestions?  Thanks in advance,  Lee Tipton

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What a wonderful Halloween story.  The tree that would die.  It's even pushing up from the crypt.

pruning shears?  Maybe silver ones?

my brother who has cut down more than his share of trees told me as he watched us cut down the cottonwood that will not die:  "You may cut that tree down - but you are never getting rid of it".  

So far - he is correct.

Eventually if you keep cutting it's above ground shoots (or even better hitting them with roundup) the tree('s root system) will eventually die (2 years at least).  If you let a shoot hang around it will send the photosynthetic sugars down into the root system and sustain it.

You could also erect a lightproof canopy over the whole area and every week lift it up and remove what ever shoots you find. That guarantees no food production.

i have doing a lot of studying about this situation.  I am leaning toward uncovering the 4 bags of cement and getting my 16 year old grandson that wrestles and his 6' 5" dad to pull it out of the hole.  Then running a hose from my hot water heater out there and boiling it for a while.  I have heard that this is very effective, requires no poison and basically is a win win.  I bet it would definitely kill those shoots that are under that 4 bags of cement.

that may not kill the entire tree. I've often found that shoot removal is the best way to do it. I often use a shovel and thwack the heck out of those shoots to help damage roots more. I have an oleander I'm going through the same thing with and outside of yanking up all of the roots I'd rather spend 10 minutes a weekend hacking away shoots. Eventually it'll stop putting up new shoots and your tree and roots are dead. Nature finds a way.

Cottonwoods are relentless.  In the backyard of the house behind me - there are now growing 2 cottonwood trees.  There were 3 - but I convinced the land lord to give me access to the property because after i took down the cottonwood tree on my fence line - I put up a $3.000 chain link fence with a cement casing at the bottom to keep any dogs from digging underneath the thing.  The land lord offered to pay for half but I did not accept because I want control of that fence.  There was a cottonwood that sprang up right on the fence line and it was the one I wanted to kill.  We got over there and cut the sprouts off at the ground, then we drilled holes in the stumps and poured in stump killer, then we sprayed the heck out of it with Roundup.  One thing about those areas of growth - once I start cutting down and making efforts to kill it - it seems to stop growing there.

But the stump under my fence line is another story.  I am certain that is where the 3 new trees in the neighboring back yard came from.  And although I could not see everything - I did see a lot of new growth under that cement.  And it is enough growth that it pushed that cement up out of the ground.  And there has been NO photosynthesis going on down there for 2 years now, but it still found a way to multiply.  Probably from the 2 trees that are still growing in the neighboring back yard huh? 

You should try rock salt and boiling water on that oleander.  I dislike those things as well - but at least it is not a tree.

Yes, you should salt the ground.  Tradition.

Using hot water is a myth which is used to claim fixing all kinds of things. People love the idea of boiling water. Steam is very powerful stuff, but boiling water is only 212F. When you dump it onto 60,70,80F soil guess what the temp of the water becomes 1/2" below the soil surface? Maybe 70,80,90F. 1" below? 3 feet below where the roots are and the soil is 50F. The tree would just consider that a nice foot bath...please sir, may I have another?

Adding the concrete as you found is the best thing you could do to promote growth. Helps keep in moisture and of course is a defense against pruning.

As Powell already said, just keep pruning the new growth. A weed whacker works. But you have to stay on top of it. If you don't want to keep pruning the light barrier works very well. You can get a huge billboard tarp for about $75 delivered. Put that over the entire area, as far out away from the stump as you can and cover with some dirt. You can dig the dirt from around the stump before hand if you want. Or truck in some gravel or whatever. The cover protects the tarp from UV somewhat so it will last 5-10 years. I don't see a need to lift the tarp to prune growth. Let the new growth waste it's energy looking for light. The tarp will also block some water. It will also solar heat the soil which will effect new growth but not the roots.

The more you can bury the edges of the tarp the less likely new growth will come out at the edges. New growth won't grow back into the ground looking for light. Growth coming out the edges would have to be trimmed. You can't have seams either or holes of course.

This can be a temp thing (if 5 years is "temp") or you can build a landscape feature on top.

The tarp is more of a set it and forget it type deal.

I do not know why I didn't think of this before - but I know what to do - and I have done it before. 

The quickest and surest way to get rid of a stump, and shoots if necessary is to put a bag of charcoal on them and keep putting charcoal on it until it it gone.  This one is at least 2, if not 3 feet down, so there is no danger of it catching anything else on fire. 

I got this.

Until some kid falls into the pit...just sayin.

not in my back yard.  I have 6 foot fences AND gates surrounding that back yard with a padlock and a heavy duty chain locking those gates.  I live in an area where the homeless congregate - and they like to set up housekeeping in unlocked areas.  I am gone 12 hours per day - I keep that place locked up tighter than a drum!!!

I heard of burning out stumps in the olden days but never have done it. I do think this is used for stump removal, not so much for root removal because of a lack of O2 as you get lower. That normally isn't a problem because once burned down 6-12" it can be covered with dirt and planted so the roots rot...for tree that don't regenerate from root of course.

And of course green wood is tougher, just takes longer.

You can increase the O2 by adding oxidizers, removing ash, or blowing air in. I have used a DIY foundry for metal working and a 1.5-2" metal pipe with a hair dryer on one end works really well. Disable the heating element first. I use aluminum foil to seal the hair dryer outflow to the pipe. I use a 10' pipe because that's what I had around, 5' is probably enough to keep the dryer far enough away to not melt.

While I was double checking my understanding of stump burning I ran into this video by USU Extension who I've always found to be very useful. Also learned that RoundUp becames inert on contact with soil...never knew that.


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