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Suckers From Tree Roots

Flips's picture

I don't see too many questions on this forum regarding trees and shrubs but here goes anyway. 


I have a tree (unknown variety) on my boulevard that is approximately 25 yrs old.  Every year I get these suckers growing up from the tree roots through the grass on my lawn.  I have tried hand clipping them close to the ground but they just grow back.  In order to keep them from getting any bigger I usually cut the tops off  the suckers with the lawnmower. 


Does anybody know of a safe way of getting rid of the suckers permanently without  damaging the tree?

(post #82509, reply #1 of 27)

There are a couple of green thumbs around here, they'll be along shortly.
Seams like the lawnmower has it cover tho.


Edited 5/19/2008 7:49 pm ET by Henley

(post #82509, reply #2 of 27)

Taunton has a forum for gardeners that I've fequented from time to time and they are pretty friendly and helpful--it's called "Over the Fence"--you might try clicking on them and asking your question there. I don't have a good answer for you.

(post #82509, reply #3 of 27)

They're part of the tree and nothing you can do about them.   The root system will continue to send them out regardless of what you do unless you remove the tree.  I say learn to live with it if you really like the tree. 


Got any pics of the leaves of the mature tree? Or are they the same as the shoots?

(post #82509, reply #4 of 27)

woowee baby, that was a big file.


 On a different puter so can't shrink it now.




.

 

(post #82509, reply #5 of 27)

my internet connection prevents me from opening files that large -

if you or someone else will shrink them, I might be able to help -

what area of the world are you located?

"there's enough for everyone"
"there's enough for everyone"

(post #82509, reply #6 of 27)

resized


 

(post #82509, reply #8 of 27)

Green thumb here. That wound on the trunk looks suspect. How is the overall health of the tree- any thinning of the crown or branch die-back? The wound might be a canker- a fungal growth that kills sections of the bark. The tree might be responding by sending up these suckers.

Not a lot can be done at this stage. Might do well to have someone look at it in person.

Steve

(post #82509, reply #9 of 27)

I think you menat that for the OP, I just resized the pics.


 

(post #82509, reply #7 of 27)

Looks like an aspen from what little I can see.

Nope, keep cutting them.


They can't get your Goat if you don't tell them where it is hidden.

Life is Good

(post #82509, reply #10 of 27)

Is that parkstrip irrigated with a sprinkler system?  If so, that may be the culprit.


Tree roots go to the nearest source of moisture and a lawn area that is watered by sprinklers provides plenty of that.  Unfortunately, it's mostly on the surface, so the roots don't go deep to get to it. 


My daughter and SIL have a similar situation with a tree in their front yard.  Last year, I suggested that they aerate the lawn and change their sprinkler timer to longer and less frequent watering (i.e. get the water deeper into the lawn).  It seems to have helped since they have fewer suckers this year than they had before.


If your city has an arborist, they may be able to suggest some other ideas to reduce (or eliminate) the problem.

(post #82509, reply #11 of 27)

Thanks to everyone for responding.  To answer a few of the questions, I live in Toronto and no the lawn does not have a sprinkler system. 


Sorry about the picture size.  It was my first time posting pictures and I didn't know they could be resized must less how to do it.


I do have one idea in regards to this problem.  My plan is to  cover the grass area around the tree trunk with a dark colored plastic sheet for several weeks, which would prevent the suckers from receiving any daylight.  This would kill the suckers and grass under the sheet but would it be harmful to the tree?  I don't want to injure or kill the tree in the process.  Do you think this would work?


 

(post #82509, reply #12 of 27)

"This would kill the suckers and grass under the sheet but would it be harmful to the tree? I don't want to injure or kill the tree in the process. Do you think this would work?"

only in the short term - it's not hard to 'kill' the suckers (which are properly called 'turions', in case you ever appear on Jeopardy), tho the grass will be a casualty - it will not hurt the tree (I don't recognize the species from that photo) but the suckers will return, about the time the grass is looking good again -

one possibility is to apply (spray) a solution of 'TreeHold' (a concentrated formulation of Napthelene Acetic Acid, a naturally occuring plant growth regulator) - that chem will probably be hard for you to get a hold of - it should be a part of a good arborist's toolbox - one of two applications a year for a couple of years should greatly reduce the number of suckers -

"there's enough for everyone"
"there's enough for everyone"

(post #82509, reply #13 of 27)

I've heard of good results using Sucker Stopper, on one of our local garden talk shows
http://www.montereylawngarden.com/faqs/suckerstopper/ but with as many as you have I have no idea if it would solve your problem. Maybe if you could partially remove the top few inches of dirt to expose the suckers better, then spray them ..

http://www.woodsshop.com


Edited 5/20/2008 10:17 pm by JoeWood

(post #82509, reply #14 of 27)

After the suckers have been killed off, I would put several inches of mulch around the tree.    Would the mulch prevent the suckers from coming up again?

(post #82509, reply #15 of 27)

sorry, I missed this when you posted -


the mulch will not stop suckers, they can only be discouraged - if they are never allowed to get 'strong', i.e. get several leaves and photosynthesize, then generally they will decline - hormone based controls work about the best since they actually communicate with the tree -


 


 


"there's enough for everyone"
"there's enough for everyone"

(post #82509, reply #16 of 27)

I missed this thread also.


But I agree with Stash.  The wound looks bad.  The likelyhood of a shorter than expected lifespan plus these suckers equates (to me at least) that the tree should be replaced with a more regionally appropriate species.  Perhaps a nice maple?


 

(post #82509, reply #17 of 27)

If it were me I would build a bed around the tree. Basically take out the grass or kill it then mulch the area around the tree. As the suckers come up and they will, spray them with something like round up.

 


 


 


 


“Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem.”
                Reagan....


Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
-Truman Capote

 

 

 

 

“Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem.”
                Reagan....

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
-Truman Capote

(post #82509, reply #18 of 27)

If'n it is an Aspen tree as previously surmised, those suckers is how they multiply.  They have big root zones that will never stop shooting them up.


I'm think'n the use of Round Up will kill the main tree through the root connection.


But then, that'll make the decision of the new maple tree all the easier!


 

(post #82509, reply #19 of 27)

I'm think'n the use of Round Up will kill the main tree through the root connection.


But then, that'll make the decision of the new maple tree all the easier!


I am not familiar with aspen trees as we don't have them but in my experience with our hard woods the round up won't kill the trees in this manner involving suckers.


The new Maple tree is a good idea!


 


 


 


 


“Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem.”
                Reagan....


Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
-Truman Capote

 

 

 

 

“Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem.”
                Reagan....

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
-Truman Capote

(post #82509, reply #23 of 27)

You can kill a group of trees with RU on one but I doubt the suckers will move enough of the agent to the roots to cause any harm to the main tree.  Had a sweetgum that was too close to the power lines for me to cut dropped by a crew.  Asked neighbor if he wanted his smaller adjacent ones cut too.  Yes, no, yes. No.  So we cut mine and I did my usual painting of the cut stump with RU to prevent the stump from growing new shoots from it.  Turns out the adjacent sweetgums were suckers from mine and are now dead.  woops.


Always thought maples made large roots near the surface as they got older and destroyed sidewalks. 

(post #82509, reply #24 of 27)

I guess he didn't mind eh?   LOL

 


 


 


 


“Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem.”
                Reagan....


Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
-Truman Capote

 

 

 

 

“Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem.”
                Reagan....

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
-Truman Capote

(post #82509, reply #27 of 27)

>I guess he didn't mind eh?<


He doesnt have a choice, hehe.  Fortunately they're small enough that the power lines aren't a factor when he drops them. 

(post #82509, reply #25 of 27)

"Always thought maples made large roots near the surface as they got older and destroyed sidewalks."


 


Now that you mention it, my momma's two maples have roots that ride high. 


 

(post #82509, reply #26 of 27)

are they red or sugars? 


I've got a combination of reds & sugars I've planted from saplings and interesting to compare they're growth rate and style. 


Maples are one of the nicest trees one can find IMO but just like every other tree they have to be in the right spot or they can be a big PITA. 

(post #82509, reply #22 of 27)

That's not an aspen. Aspens have heart-shaped leaves.

BruceT
BruceT

(post #82509, reply #20 of 27)

Betcha that's a "Wild Plum". They'll sucker easy as far as 50' from the trunk.

Does it flower and form fruit?

You won't convince it to quit suckering. At least I can't mine. I'm about to remove mine but mowing takes care of it untill it's time to mow again and I see that they grow about twice as fast as the grass. Good luck.

(post #82509, reply #21 of 27)

Well them yellow flowers is called dandy lions. Best bet to kill them is in the fall. Once they've popped up you're dead. I pay my kids a nickel a piece to pluck em and blow the white stuff all over the neighbors yard.


Edited 7/13/2008 12:18 am ET by leftisright

 

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