Fully Licensed & Insured. All Tree Services

How to Stop Tree Roots From Growing Back

Removing tree roots is just as important as cutting down the trunk. You might be wrong if you think your job is done after you’ve cut down the tree and removed its stump.

The roots underneath will continue growing if you don’t remove them. Skip the risk of dealing with overgrown tree roots by taking the necessary actions that ensure complete elimination.

Let us walk you through this guide and learn how to stop tree roots from growing back and why seeking an expert arborist’s help is your best option.

Will Roots Keep Growing After Cutting the Tree?

Many believe cutting down a tree will also stop its roots from growing. This common misconception is far from the truth.

A tree’s roots may continue to grow and spread through the soil after cutting it down. This allows the tree to reappear from the stump or produce new shoots from the roots.

Various factors, including the type of tree, the soil, and the environment, can affect how far the roots spread. Sometimes, roots can keep growing for years or even decades, ruining your landscape.

Understanding how to stop tree roots from growing back and prevent future damage to the home’s structure is vital.

Why Root Removal Matters

Overgrown roots pose several threats to your landscape. Since these bothersome remnants can and will continue to develop even if the tree is no longer standing, tree root removal becomes necessary.

Roots remaining in the ground after tree removal can cause a variety of issues, including:

  1. Structural Damage – Tree roots can penetrate and grow underneath foundations, sidewalks, and utility lines, resulting in expensive property damage.
  2. Interference with New Landscape – Existing roots can interfere with your plans to create a new landscape design for that particular area in your property.
  3. Unwanted Tree Regrowth – As previously stated, roots can produce new branches, regrowing undesirable trees or shrubs.

Avoiding these issues requires complete tree and root removal to ensure structural safety within your property. 

Ask the Experts: How to Stop Tree Roots from Growing Back

Even with the best techniques, removing tree roots might take a long time. You have to be patient and willing to apply various methods if one strategy fails to do the job. But remember to refrain from using these techniques at the same time.

Now that you know why tree root removal is important, let’s look at some techniques for keeping tree roots from sprouting back following tree removal.

Preparing for Root Removal

The most common and dependable way of removing tree roots involves using a chainsaw to chop down the tree stump. Some also use a reciprocating saw to cut huge roots if necessary.

Knowing how to utilise these instruments properly is essential to reduce the risk of injury. For starters, wear proper attire, such as a long-sleeved shirt and full-length slacks.

Wear gloves and goggles to safeguard your hands and face from flying debris. Check your worksite for any obstructions that could cause delay and damage your machine or put you in danger, such as excessive dirt, large and small pebbles or other unnecessary objects.

DIY Remedy

Start removing the tree root with softer materials before applying more heavy-duty methods.

Salt and boiling water are nearly as effective as chemical herbicides and root killers without the side effects of destroying surrounding plants. These solutions are also highly cost-effective, preventing you from spending much on the process.

However, it’s important to know that these techniques may take longer. Hence, if you want a quick result, you may apply chemical herbicides and move on to the next step.

Epsom or Rock Salt

  1. Drill some holes with a depth of 7.6 to 10.1 cm to remove the stump and roots. You will also need to drill holes into the large surface roots.
  2. Fill the holes with salt. Ensure it does not overflow, especially if there are neighbouring plants. 
  3. Repeat the second step every few months until each root is dead. When the roots become hollow and withered, and no new sprouts are present on or around the trunk, the roots have stopped growing.

Boiling Water

  1. Dig up and reveal as many roots as you can.
  2. Cut the stump closer to the roots with a chainsaw.
  3. Drill holes with a depth of 7.6 to 10.1 cm into the stump and the overgrown roots sprawling from the ground. 
  4. Ensure to cover as many roots as possible when you pour boiling water. It can swiftly damage and shock the roots, although the results may not immediately be visible. If necessary, repeat the process after a few days.


  1. Dig up and uncover as many roots as you can with a shovel. 
  2. Eliminate the existing stump and overgrown roots by drilling holes into them and filling the gaps with vinegar. 
  3. Spray vinegar into the remaining stump once you see leaves or sprouts growing. 
  4. Repeat the second step every month until the roots are dead. Try a different technique if there are no changes made after months. 

Digging the Root Out

You will need to gather the following equipment to remove smaller roots in your lawn or those remaining ones from prior methods:

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

Remove the soil from the remaining tree trunk and roots for easier removal. Apply homemade remedies, store-bought root killers, or herbicides to weaken the roots, making them more manageable after a few weeks.

For overgrown roots, utilise a reciprocating saw with proper safety precautions or, if you prefer, a hatchet, but it may take more effort. 

Alternate right and left strikes with the hatchet to make a V-shaped cut. Ensure to take pauses when you feel tired to avoid injuries and accidents.

Start from the farthest point and work inwards when dealing with an overgrown root to ensure safety. After removing the major roots, dig and uncover the remaining smaller roots using a garden hoe or shovel.

Using Chemical Herbicides

Chemical herbicides are a promising option for prompt tree root removal. You can buy one in stores, but always read the label and confirm the necessary contents.

Prioritising safety when utilising chemical herbicides is critical. Wearing protective gloves and full-length clothing is essential to avoid direct contact with the chemical, as it can harm more than just plants. Choose clothes that you can directly dispose of after use.

Moreover, keeping children, pets, or anyone out of the work area until it is safe and the herbicide completely dries is a must. Remember to change your clothes and thoroughly wash your hands after completing the task. 

Top Reasons to Get Rid of Old Tree Roots

Tree roots in your landscape can cause several problems, including soil disturbance, slope erosion, damage to concrete roads and walks, sewer lines, drains, and other infrastructure. It is even more concerning once the roots start to cause harm to your neighbours’ property.

Additionally, pests such as mice, rats, and termites might plague old tree stumps or roots, causing severe damage and infestation to your home.

Although you can solve the problem yourself, DIY remedies take time and effort. Hence, your best option is to hire a professional arborist to remove roots from sewer lines, pipelines, and drains, minimising any risks of dealing with these delicate structures.

Seek a Professional

When DIY tree root removal becomes too tough to handle due to it being laborious and time-consuming, seeking the experts’ help is your best way out. 

You don’t need to spend all your time waiting for weeks or months to stop tree roots from growing back in your yard. We at Trees Down Under are the professional arborists you need to deal with extensive root systems and stubborn tree roots. 

We can eliminate all your uncertainties about the proper tree removal methods. Our professional arborists have the expertise and equipment required to safely and efficiently remove tree roots. 

Our team minimises your property’s potential damages through our effective and hassle-free root removal service

Remember that Trees Down Under is your best choice when addressing tree roots. Contact us today for enquiries and bookings!

Trees Down Under