The Secrets of Tree Sucker Removal

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Have you noticed an odd branch growing from the base or the roots of your tree? Unless a professional tree trimmer pointed it out, you may have thought it looked much like the rest of the tree, but after time you realize it looks complete different. Maybe the leaves look different, or perhaps it produces inferior fruit, or maybe it’s a different kind of tree all together. What’s going on? Your tree has likely developed a sucker or water sprouts.

What Are Tree Suckers and Water Sprouts?

Sometimes a tree starts looking more like a shrub, with a bushy clump of young stems sprouting from the base or from a spot on the trunk. Allowing suckers and sprouts to remain on your tree will only take away from the vegetative and fruiting wood you want to grow strong. But what exactly is a tree sucker or water sprout?

  • Tree sucker: Adventitious, vegetative growth arising from the root system of a tree
  • Water sprout: Vertical, vegetative growth coming from the trunk or branches

Tree Trimming Companies Know When to Say “So Long Sucker!”

Tree suckers and water sprouts can appear for a variety of reasons. Mostly arising in areas that are newly exposed to sunlight, these pesky sprouts signify a tree is under stress. Trees that have undergone storm damage or over-pruning and thinning will develop suckers or sprouts to compensate for the loss of leaf surface. It’s important to know how to eliminate them, and when possible, how to prevent them in the first place.

  • To improve a tree’s appearance, a tree trimmer often removes the sprouts partially or completely to the tips of the branches (i.e. lion-tailing). This must be done with extreme care, because it can stress to the tree. Because a tree grows suckers when it needs an increase of photosynthesis, the sprouts can protect the bark directly exposed to sunlight by providing shade for it. This prevents sun scald, which can injure trees, especially in warm areas like Texas.
  • Heavy winds can cause lion-tailed branches to break because the leaves are on the tip instead of spreading out along the branch to better deal with wind pressure. When well developed, tree trimming companies can prune it to preserve more of the branch rather than having the whole stem removed back at the trunk.
  • It’s best to remove weaker suckers growing in undesirable places like over a structure or by major branch unions. It’s crucial to allow the rest to develop and self-regulate. Some suckers and sprouts will dominate and shade out the others, which means they can eventually turn into tissue that resemble a branch.

Tree sucker removal can trigger the growth of more suckers and sprouts, which is why you need a professional tree trimmer to assist. They understand how suckers work and the importance of not clearing out sucker growth on unhealthy trees or trees that may be in decline or under stress. If you’d like to keep your trees in the best possible health, contact one of the reputable tree trimming companies near you.