I had a 30ft (9m) chinaberry (Melia azedarach) removed that the previous owner left for me, four months ago. It had multiple split trunks at the bottom that made every arborist that looked at it concerned, and it was positioned close to the front of the house, so a storm could easily knock one of the major trunks onto the house. The tree removal people cut it down to an inch from the ground. I left an option open to have the stump ground down but didn't have that done.

Now, I haven't been making it a priority to remove it, but I just noticed what looks like chinaberry sprouts coming from the edge between the bark and the wood. As I have read online so far, this sounds bad because I didn't apply an herbicide to prevent this from happening. So, now I am wondering how to best proceed with killing off the chinaberry for good.

Apparently, since it was a four months ago, applying glyphosate to the stump won't help to kill off the roots. Is that right? Should I apply glyphosate to kill the sprouts and possible future sprouting? I already have some potassium nitrate (stump removal chemical) that I was thinking about applying inside the stump.

Also, from what I've read from other chinaberry sufferers is that they have roots all over the place. However, I don't seem to have roots from the chinaberry exposed anywhere.

My gut is telling me to apply glyphosate and then drill holes into the stump and apply the potassium nitrate. But, I also want avoid a dead lawn where I can't grow anything to replace it. There are two live oaks near it that were being dominated by the much taller chinaberry that need help growing especially in the central Texas climate.


3 Answers 3


The chinaberry tree is considered invasive in many states and I note with horror that even with seedlings "any root fragments left behind will resprout". This site recommends cutting and then a herbicide and then goes on to caution that seeds can lie dormant for many years before sprouting.

You could get a chainsaw and make a new cut lower down on the stump and then carefully follow the herbicide instructions. As a former licensed pesticide applicator the recommended compounds (imazapyr, picloram, and triclopyr) are not anything I would apply without a complete set of impermeable clothing, and face mask with filter.

Unless you have the gear and experience to do the job safely this looks like a job for an arborist.

  • I did indeed contact an arborist yesterday. She actually did recommend applying Roundup on the sprouts. I have a feeling that the one true answer to this won't be know for a while..
    – dols
    May 15, 2012 at 20:45
  • Glad to help, let us know how the roundup works.
    – kevinskio
    May 15, 2012 at 21:09
  • Well, I'm applied roundup to some of the sprouts that crop up. There haven't been many, with an occurrence every two months or so, and they are really easy to spot, bright light green stalks that I can just kick over with my shoe. If there were a ton of sprouts, I'd apt to be more concerned.
    – dols
    Dec 21, 2012 at 22:46
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    Low down tree stumps make a great location for compost piles. Keep any sprouts that emerge trimmed. If you keep the pile damp, you should get a nice crop of mushrooms in a year or so. The wood will decay, and the roots will die. Drilling into the stump, and adding high nitrogen fertilizer will help with this process. Stump-B-Gone, sold in some garden centers is pure potassium nitrate. Oct 12, 2019 at 17:30
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    that's a pretty interesting solution @WayfaringStranger . 8 years later, the stump has been decomposing from the center, hopefully the decomposition radiates outward. I put mulch on the top of it, which may have helped with the decomposition.
    – dols
    Apr 22, 2020 at 21:57

if your chinaberry stump is in a favorable location, try burning it down with charcoal briquets. just set them around the stump, apply lighter fluid and light it just like you would a charcoal grill. Make sure it's not windy and the surrounding vegetation is'nt too dry. I have had good success with this method for chinaberry stumps as well as oak.


I killed a pesky orange tree stump that kept throwing up sprouts by drilling 3/4" holes from the cut side down into the stump and filled the holes with herbicide. Problem solved!

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