Tree Care- What is an effective way to eliminate sucker growth?

Posted by Rachael Monico on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 @ 06:00 AM


Tree sucker growthSucker (basal shoot):
  • A fast growing shoot or stem that grows underground from a plant that causes the tree to weaken by draining water and nutrients 


Why do they occur?

  • Suckering is a tree's self-defense mechanism in response to stress to the following:
    • Drought
    • Over fertilization
    • Excessive watering 
  • Due to an exposed graft union (the area where 2 plants have grown together for hardiness benefits)


Tree sucker growth


Prune shoots after they are identified as they grow rapidly and become large quickly 

  • Remove small suckers by hand using a twisting motion. The lack of clean cut makes it more difficult for new suckers to grow
  •  Larger shoots may require hand pruners, loppers or even a hand saw.  Be careful not to damage the bark. When making a cut, get as close to the ground or even underground if possible. Open wounds exposed to sunlight can trigger more sprouting
  • For shoots that are sprouting feet away from the base of the tree, mow over slowly or use a sharp spade to dig out the tree root that is causing the issue. Be careful not to damage nearby healthy roots
  •  Mechanical ways of shoot removal are the safest and most effective methods. If you prefer chemical controls, contact a licensed arborist for a recommendation



Tree sucker growth


Most trees are susceptible to suckering if they are exposed to stress but you will find certain trees are prone to suckering such as Crabapple, Linden, Maple, Lilac, and any fruit trees that are grown on a graft union. Although suckering is inevitable for some trees, there are steps you can take to help minimize suckers, prevent them all together, and improve your tree care.

  •  Check the root ball of the tree when you are purchasing it to be sure the tree is planted at the proper depth.
  •  Make sure new trees do not have sucker growth already
  •  Water and fertilizer at recommended levels.
  •  Keep two inches or more of mulch around the tree to help stop sprouts from coming up through the ground.

  Contact A Licensed Arborist

Topics: CMs A Cut Above, Tree Care, Ask The Arborist, landscape, pruning

Growing beautiful roses - no need to get stuck!

Posted by Rachael Monico on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 @ 10:49 AM

Who doesn't like beautiful roses? There are colors and varieties of roses to suit everyone's color pallettes and size requirements. However, like Tobias, roses prefer a nice sunny spot to hang out. The location should be in full sun for at least 5-6 hours for best results. If your planting bed is shaded, a rose garden is probably not in your future. Sadly, you may need to get your rose fix at your local florist's shop.

When pruning Hybrid Teas, prune back to the first set of five leaves, preferably to an outer facing bud. The outer facing bud will encourage outward growth and ensure proper air circulation. Any diseased or dying canes should also be removed.

Tobias suggests a site where the water will drain properly because neither cats nor roses like wet feet! Low lying areas where water collects should be avoided.

Fertilize regularly. A 5-10-5 fertilizer is preferred. Two to three applications should be made during the growing season. Apply fertilizer in the spring, as the buds begin to swell. The second application should be made in June. The third application, weather permitting, should be made in mid-August. If weather continues to be hot and dry through the end of August, skip the third application to avoid new growth that will not have time to harden off before the first freeze.

Mulch! Mulch will help to conserve moisture and keep the roots cool while minimizing weed growth.

Above all, Tobias and I remind you to stop and smell the roses!


Topics: gardening, do-it-yourself, rose care, pruning, roses

Ask the Arborist - Pruning an Unruly Lilac

Posted by Rachael Monico on Fri, May 28, 2010 @ 10:49 AM

Rachael's been so busy lately that I thought I'd give her a little break this month and tell you a little bit about pruning lilacs. Time is of the essence with these beauties. The health and vigor of a lilac depends on regular maintenance of the shrub. Regular pruning an care encourage a good overall shape and prolific blooms. If your lilac has been neglected for many years, the process of regaining control will take a few seasons to complete, but is certainly do-able.

It is important to prune the lilac as the blooms begin to fade. The next season's buds are set almost immediately after blooming. By pruning as the current season's blooms are fading, you can avoid pruning off next season's flowers.

Essential tools for lilac pruning are loppers and hand pruners. Before making your first cut, make sure all blades are sharp and clean to avoid spreading disease. Remember to always wear your safety glasses when pruning. It is easy to get poked in the eye when examining and pruning shrubs.

Start by removing 1/3 of the oldest, largest canes by pruning them all the way to the ground. You may not need to remove 1/3 of the plant every year. the goal is to have 8-12 stems of various ages, but all stems should be about 1"- 2" in diameter. Remove all pencil-thin, weak stems.

Remove any branches that are rubbing against each other or are rubbing against a fence or structure. rubbing causes open sores on the branch, making the shrub susceptible to insects and disease.

Another step in the pruning process is deadheading. While deadheading spent blossoms can be very helpful for younger shrubs, it is not necessary for older, larger shrubs. Not to mention, it is nearly impossible to remove every spent flower head on a mature lilac!

Time is limited but lilac pruning can still be done this season. If you have any questions on pruning lilacs or would like us to tackle your overgrown lilac for you, give us a call today.

Well, that's it for now. Stay tuned for more DIY posts from CM's!

Tobias and Rachael

Topics: gardening, do-it-yourself, landscape, bed maintenance, pruning, lilac