The Q&A Archives: Black Locust

Question: We cut down a mature Black Locust tree approximately 6 months ago. Since then, we have had hundreds of new trees popping up thru the ground. We did drill holes in the stump and added a stump remover product shortly after the tree was removed. In the last couple of months, we have snipped the tops off the 'babies' popping up ALL over the place and dabbed the fresh cuts with poision ivy killer. I am overwhelmed with the amount of work needed to keep my front and back yards from looking like a jungle. My back yard is only about 2-3 years old and I'd hate to loose it. We just reapplied more killer to the stump and we'd like to know if we're on the right track and what else you might recommend. Our neighbor hated the tree and finally we removed it instead of trimming it back. Had we known what would transpire we never would have done this. We did not plant the tree - it was here when we bought the house 15 years ago. Any recommendations would greatly be appreciated!!!!


Cathy (with a C) :-)

Answer: How disappointing to end up with hundreds of little locust trees after all your work! I wish I had some encouraging news for you, but here's what's going on. When you cut the tree down, even though you applied stump killer, the roots were not affected by the chemical. The roots will continue to send out new shoots until they exhaust all of their stored energy. This may be a single season or it may continue for several years. It all depends upon how extensive the root system is. The only way to completely stop the process immediately is to have the stump ground down and the roots dig and removed from your yard. You are helping the cause by cutting down each of the sprouts as they emerge. It takes energy for the roots to develop the sprouts and if you keep them cut down as soon as they come up the roots will eventually deplete their stored energy and will die out. But, as long as the sprouts are allowed to remain they will, through a process called photosynthesis, send new energy back to the roots. Therefore, it's important to continue to cut the shoots down whenever they appear. I know it sounds like a never ending battle but you will succeed. It will just take some time.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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