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How to Get Rid of Suckers at the Base of Trees

By Alexis Lawrence ; Updated September 21, 2017

Though they are not actually weeds, but parts of the tree itself, suckers can still be detrimental to the health and growth of nearly any tree from which they grow. These offshoots, which sprout from the base of the tree’s trunk or main branch use the same resources that the tree needs to thrive, including the soil’s nutrients and moisture. To keep the tree healthy, it is generally best to get rid of suckers at the base.

Keep an eye on your trees all year long so that you know immediately when suckers appear at the base. Schedule a specific time in early spring before the beginning of the blooming season each year to check the trees on your property closely for signs that suckers are forming.

Get rid of the suckers that you find at the base of a tree immediately, regardless of their size. If left to grow, suckers continue to mature and rob the tree of vital resources.

Grasp each sucker between your fingers and pinch hard to sever the stem of the sucker. Do this right at the base of the tree or at ground level, so that when you tear the sucker free, none of the sucker is left above ground.

Use pruning shears to cut a sucker down from the base of a tree if you waited too long for removal and the sucker is too strong to tear. Again, make the cut right at the tree’s base or the ground to remove all of the sucker above ground level.

Avoid using herbicides to eliminate suckers on any type of tree. Though herbicides may work to kill suckers, just as they do any other weed, herbicides also get into the soil around the tree. While a small amount of herbicide won’t kill a full-grown tree, it does weaken the root system and may cause future issues.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears

About the Author


Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.