How to Remove Smoke Bush Suckers


Smoke bush is an attractive shrub that may stay compact and bushy if a gardener prunes it back yearly or it may grow into a lanky shrub as tall as 12 feet. Some gardeners know the smoke bush shrub as Rhus Cotinus, but whatever you call this unusual shrub, it is sure to add visual interest to any landscape. The smoke bush will spread actively by putting out suckers around the base of the shrub. Control the spread of the smoke bush by pruning back these suckers in early spring.

Step 1

Inspect the smoke bush in early spring, prior to the beginning of the growing season. Look around the base of the shrub to find suckers that are growing.

Step 2

Pull up these suckers from the soil, taking care to remove all of the tiny root systems as you pull them up. Suckers are new and tender plants and remove easily from the soil when you pull them as long as you remove them each spring while they are still new.

Step 3

Use the trowel or the long weeding tool to dig up suckers that have grown into larger, undesired growth. The roots of this type of growth will be larger and you will need to dig them out carefully with the one of these tools to remove them. Take care not to disturb the roots of the smoke bush as you remove these stubborn suckers.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Trowel
  • Long weeding tool


  • The American Flower Garden; Neltje Blanchan, Leonard Barron; 1909
  • Tree and Shrub Expert; D. G. Hessayon; 1990
Keywords: smoke bush, Rhus Cotinus, smoke bush shrub

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributer to Natural News. She is an avid gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and computer user. She is interested in natural health and hopes to direct her focus toward earning an RN degree.