How to Kill Hawthorne Stumps


You cut down an undesired hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis spp.) shrub or tree (Crataegus spp.), only to find the stump is still alive, sending up annoying sprigs of stems. Killing the small stump by digging it up is an option, but a labor-intensive and lengthy option. Using a systemic herbicide only on the stump and foliage efficiently kills the plant remains without disrupting the garden and breaking a sweat.

Step 1

Make a fresh cut on the stump with a pruning saw. You want to expose the living sapwood of the stump where you make the cut. Take off only 1 to 2 inches, and see if any live sapwood is revealed. If not, make another cut 1 or 2 inches further down.

Step 2

Spray or brush the exposed sapwood of the stump with herbicide with the active ingredient glyphosate immediately after the cut is made. Saturate the cut wound on the stump with the herbicide.

Step 3

Monitor the stump for the next 2 to 8 weeks, looking for signs of leafy sprouts that indicate the stump and roots of the hawthorn are still alive.

Step 4

Spray or brush the glyphosate-based herbicide onto any leafy sprouts emanating from the stump. The chemical absorbed by the leaves is transported to the roots, killing them, too.

Step 5

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 as needed to kill the stump. When leafy sprouts no longer grow from the stump, the plant is dead.

Tips and Warnings

  • If no live sapwood is found after cutting the stump down again and only a few sprigs of sprouting foliage exist, much more time will be needed for the repeated spraying of herbicide to kill the plant. Consider digging out or chopping the stump down to below the soil level if you need immediate results.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand-held pruning saw
  • Glyphosate-based herbicide
  • Spray bottle or paint brush


  • Univ. of Minnesota: Removing Trees and Shrubs
  • Washington State Univ.: Chemical Control for Woody Plants, Stumps and Trees
Keywords: Rhaphiolepis, Indian hawthorn, killing shrubs

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for The Public Garden, Docent Educator, numerous non-profit newsletters and for's comprehensive plant database. He holds a Master's degree in Public Horticulture from the University of Delaware and studied horticulture and biology in Australia at Murdoch University and the University of Melbourne's Burnley College.