The root meristem can regenerate following removal of its stem-cell niche by recruitment of remnant cells from the stump. Regeneration is initiated by rapid accumulation of auxin near the injury site but the source of this auxin is unknown. Here, we show that auxin accumulation arises from the activity of multiple auxin biosynthetic sources that are newly specified near the cut site and that their continuous activity is required for the regeneration process. Auxin synthesis is highly localized while PIN-mediated transport is dispensable for auxin accumulation and tip regeneration. Roots lacking the activity of the regeneration competence factor ERF115, or that are dissected at a zone of low regeneration potential, fail to activate local auxin sources. Remarkably, restoring auxin supply is sufficient to confer regeneration capacity to these recalcitrant tissues. We suggest that regeneration competence relies on the ability to specify new local auxin sources in a precise temporal pattern.