tree suckersNot all ‘new growth’ is healthy growth. While spurs of trees can sometimes signal a healthy, growing grove (like aspens) other spurs – or shoots – can signal something much more ominous. If you notice a tree that seems to have branches growing out of its roots or base – that is a sign the tree is being zapped for nutrients – and those ‘branches’ are the culprits.

What are Suckers?

Tree suckers may not be common knowledge, but if you are a homeowner who has experienced them, you may know them well – because they can kill your trees. Suckers are simply shoots or sprouts that develop from the root or base of a tree. They often grow vigorously and can compete with the main tree for resources such as water, nutrients, and sunlight. If left unchecked, suckers can weaken the overall health and vigor of the tree by diverting energy away from the main canopy and root system.

Preventing Tree Suckers

Unless you know what suckers are, it can be very difficult to understand that your tree may need attention. One easy way to prevent suckers is by tapping into your local resources. Mr. Tree offers tree safety inspections. This includes determining the health and risks posed by your trees – this can be a great starting point for anyone who isn’t sure what to look out for. Additionally, you can prevent these nutrient ‘suckers’ by:

  • Pruning Regularly: Regular pruning of your trees, particularly at the base and along the trunk, can remove existing suckers and prevent new ones from forming. Use sharp, clean pruning tools and make clean cuts to minimize damage and encourage healthy regrowth.
  • Mulching Around Trees: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or bark, around the base of your trees. Mulch helps retain moisture in the soil, regulates temperature, and suppresses weed growth, reducing stress on the tree and discouraging sucker formation.
  • Maintaining Soil Moisture: Adequate watering is crucial for tree health and can help prevent stress-induced sucker growth. Water trees deeply and consistently, especially during dry periods, to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.
  • Avoiding Mechanical Damage: Be cautious when mowing, weed-whacking, or performing other yard maintenance activities around trees. Mechanical damage to the base or roots of trees can stimulate sucker growth as the tree responds to injury.
  • Monitoring for Signs of Stress: Keep an eye out for signs of stress in your trees, such as wilting foliage, yellowing leaves, or stunted growth. Address underlying issues promptly, such as compacted soil, nutrient deficiencies, or root damage, to prevent sucker formation.

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Trees

In addition to ‘clipping your suckers’ this Spring – Mr. Tree suggests doing a few more things to get your trees ready for the warm season. This will help keep your trees healthy and give you some extra relaxing time below their shade. The tips above for preventing suckers is a great place to start!

  • Inspect and Prune
  • Fertilize and Mulch
  • Water Wisely

If you have concerns about unhealthy trees near your home or want trees removed because of the danger they pose, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Mr. Tree! We offer free quotes and great tips to help keep your trees healthy and your homes safe. Schedule an estimate today!