Suckers are those extra growths that occur from the bottom of the tree, usually unwanted and unsightly. They sap away at the growth of the tree and require trimming to keep them in check.

Certain plants are more prone to developing unattractive suckers and are, therefore, higher in maintenance.

Here are a few of the usual suspects:

  • Cherry
  • Magnolia
  • Crapemyrtle
  • Anything grafted

If you notice that a multi-stemmed tree has spindly and clustered growths coming from the base, it is time to get the pruners out.

Cut them off as close to the ground/base as possible. If you leave too much stem, they will continue to be a nuisance.

They can be cut off at any time, but dormancy (winter) and full growth (summer) are the best times for removal. Cutting too close to the fall allows for new growth to begin again before there is time to harden off. This could endanger the plant itself.

Are they detrimental to the health of the tree/plant?

No. Though they utilize energy that could go into flower or leaf production, the biggest reason for removal is aesthetic.