Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


Make sure you treat the live stump sapwood with herbicide immediately. Waiting even 15 to 30 minutes allows the tissues to dry and callus, blocking the absorption of chemical.

If a stump sprouts leafy shoots, do not cut them off. The more foliage available to be doused in glyphosate, the more chemical absorbed and transported to the roots. This results in a faster, more complete killing of the stump and roots.


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.

Garden Guides