The Q&A Archives: How do I remove a 15 year old apple tree?

Question: We have had very little success with our backyard apple tree. Last year we decided to cut it down but we only cut off the all the branches from the trunk hoping that would kill it and make it easy to remove in the future. Now we see multiple shoots and fresh growth coming from the trunk of the tree. Is there a way to kill the tree so that removal is somewhat easier for us to do? Have we only made the matter worse by cutting it in half?

Answer: I'm afraid your only recourse is to cut the tree down completely and then remove the stump and as much of the root system as possible. I'd recommend digging or grinding the stump. You can treat the stump with one of the many products on the market rather than have it ground down, but you may still have suckers emerging from any remaining roots. The roots will have stored energy and will produce suckers. By cutting down the suckers as soon as they emerge you'll eventually sap the roots of all their energy and the roots will die.

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