Whether due to death, disease or wrong placement in the landscape, there are times a tree requires cutting down leaving a stump behind. Many times a tree stump can grow back, producing new branches from the cut area, as the roots remain alive deep within the soil. There are commercial products gardeners can purchase to kill the tree stump, but there are also home remedies that can take care of the problem. When using any product to kill the stump and its roots, it will generally take some time for it to die, sometimes up to a year.
Cut the stump as close to the ground as possible using a hand saw or chainsaw. Once only the stump remains, make several vertical and horizontal cuts through the top portion approximately 1 to 2 inches deep.
Drill six to eight 1/2-inch to 1-inch wide holes, depending on the size of the stump, into the freshly cut trunk that are approximately 6 to 8 inches deep. The holes need to be wide enough to pour salt into them and deep enough into the trunks flesh for the salt to be absorbed through the roots.
Fill the holes with Epsom salt or rock salt, poking it down into the hole with a stick if needed. Completely pack each hole with salt for the best results.
Pour approximately a 1- to 2-inch layer of salt over the top of the freshly cut stump. It is best to apply the salt mixture to the stump while the cut is fresh so it will better be absorbed into the stump's inner layers and into the root system.
Cover the stump with a thick black trash bag and secure by strapping it to the trunk using a bungee cord or rope. This will keep any light or moisture from reaching the trunk and keep the salt in place.
Allow the plastic bag to remain securely in place over the stump for at least three months or until the stump is completely dead. Remove the plastic bag and check the stump for rotting and decay, a sure sign the stump in addition to its roots are dead and will not resprout.