Managing Suckers on Trees

a small tree with sucker growing from the baseSuckers are vigorous upright growing stems that form at the base of a tree or from the root system.  They are problematic because they can reduce flowering and fruiting, alter the form of the tree, harbor pests and diseases, and look unsightly.

Remove suckers with a hand pruners as soon as they appear from their point of origin.  Often this requires pulling a little bit of soil back to find the base and clip it off while still less than 6 to 12 inches in length.  If suckers are not removed at their base, the little stub left behind will resprout with multiple shoots making the problem even worse. 

Regular pruning of suckers throughout the growing season as they appear is the best way to keep them well-managed.

More information about managing suckers, including information on why you should not use sprays on suckers, can be found in this article:  Managing Suckers on Fruit, Ornamental, and Shade Trees


Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on June 3, 2022. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.