[NAFEX] stump dissolver

Jwlehman at aol.com Jwlehman at aol.com
Sun Nov 14 10:51:59 EST 2010

In a message dated 11/14/2010 8:51:31 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
jerrydana5 at aol.com writes:

> 1.  I have a stump from a Sassafras tree I cut down in the middle of the 
> yard.  Does anybody know of something I can put on it to "dissolve" or make 
> the stump soft so I can chop it out?
Sassafras is a soft wood and I'd recommend cutting it off at ground level, 
take an electric drill and drill holes in it maybe 1/2 x 6 inches deep 
spread some decaying vegetative matter in the holes to help seed it with fungus.  
In a very few short years you'll have a hole in the ground where the rotten 
stump was, in the meantime as it is at ground level you can mow over it, 
drive over it and you won't know it's there until there is a hole in the 
ground where the rotten stump was.

>  2.  I have a couple of shrubs which in my garden I've been cutting back 
> in hopes of killing them and it hasn't worked.  The roots are very deep and 
> I cannot dig them out.  Is there something I can put on them to kill them? 
>  I eventually want to use the soil so don't want to put anything on it 
> that will render the soil useless.  

Yes, the root system will send up many shoots and you will have little 
sassafras trees trying to grow everywhere. Tordon (carried by farm stores) which 
can be purchased in small containers works very well.  Simply cut the 
shoots off again at ground level put a few drops of Tordon on the cutoff portion 
and the roots will draw it in and then be killed.  Although I have not 
tested it thoroughly but in some cases I have used Roundup diluted with 50% water 
and then applied to the stump of cut off trees and shrubs and it seems to 
work.  When you apply this to the top you will notice that in a matter of a 
few seconds it is drawn into the stump.  Apply it several more times that a 
good dose of it will be sucked up into the root system.  No need to apply so 
liberally that it runs down the sides as it is absorbed by the phloem 
exposed on the top then carried to the roots. This must be applied immediately 
after cutting off.  If you wait for a short period of time the surface cells 
dry up and will not absorb the chemical.  

I have a new six acre pond and the cattail clumps are getting established 
around the pond's edge.  About three weeks ago as a test I went to about six 
of those clumps cut off several of the stalks about 3 inches above the 
ground and applied a mixture of about 25% Tordon, 25% Roundup and 50% water.  One 
clump had about two dozen cattail stalks and I cut off maybe six scattered 
throughout the clump them applied the mixture.  All of the clumps or 
clusters that I treated are dying whereas untreated clusters are still very green 
and alive. Next spring I intend to treat all of the clusters as I don't want 
the pond's banks lined with cattails. 

One word of caution on the Tordon container. It comes with a funky little 
cap you pull up then turn the container over and apply the liquid to the cut 
off stump.  It is the poorest designed applicator I've ever seen as it 
leaks, leaks and leaks and more and runs down the side of the container exposing 
it to your hand. My cynical guess is Tordon likes it because you waste so 
much and they sell more chemical. They have been selling it in the same 
container for years. I wear heavy rubber gloves when I'm applying it.


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