Combating Tree Sprouts & Suckers

Has your beautiful green turf been taken over by tree sprouts? Tree sprouts and suckers can invade the nicest yard and create mowing issues.

Suckers are vigorous vertical growth coming from the roots or the lower main stems of a plant. Suckers are usually considered undesirable; you want the plant but not the suckers. In addition to mowing hassles these stems zap nutrients from the main plant. Some examples of suckering ornamentals are lilac, Chinese elm, cottonwood, birch and silver maples. Keep this in mind when planning your next yard project. You might want to consider finding trees and shrubs that are non-suckering.

While the above-mentioned species are known for their suckering tendencies most trees and shrubs are capable of suckering though they usually do not as long as they are healthy. Stress factors affecting tree health may cause unwanted sprouting. These include:

• Drought

• Insects / Diseases

• Nutrient deficiency

• Hard pruning (removing more than 1/3 of a tree)

What you need to know before tree removal

Many species will try to regrow when cut down. Shoots can run many feet away in all directions and become a real nightmare unless properly treated. The best method is to treat the cut stump as soon as possible with an approved herbicide to cover the entire surface of the stump. Removal of the stump by grinding needs to be done at a later time to allow the herbicide to translocate to the tree roots. I recommend at least 2 weeks. This should curtail sprouts and allow the stump to dry down for easier removal.

Points to consider with your ornamental trees and shrubs.

• Plant non-suckering varieties

• Ensure proper tree health including; watering, insect and disease control, proper nutrients

• Treat suckers and stumps with herbicide before stump removal

Contact your County Extension Agent or Con's Weed Control Service for herbicide recommendations.

Enjoy your yard!


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