Those sprigs are probably tree suckers – an attempt by your tree to grow more branches. They use up a lot of the tree’s energy and don’t help with your tree, so it is best to remove them. If the suckers were coming out of the roots, then you could possibly start a new tree with them (which would require taking some of the root), but it sounds here like the suckers are coming out of the trunk. Starting a new plant with them would be largely unsuccessful. Remove the suckers and leave them be.
I recommend reading both articles I have linked to below about tree suckers. They have some great information about proper removal and prevention.
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