How do I remove large root suckers from around oriental persimmon?

Asked August 5, 2015, 12:17 PM EDT

I have a 15-year-old oriental persimmon grafted onto a native persimmon. The area underneath and around this tree has not been well maintained. I am ready to clean up around and under it but have found dozens of root suckers ranging in size from 2 to 15 feet. They are located throughout the area of the canopy of the tree and a few are coming up even beyond the drip line. The 15-foot sucker is about 4 feet away from the base of the tree and about 2 inches in diameter. My question is, is it safe to cut all these suckers to the ground all at once? Is it possible that removing them all might shock the main tree? Is the main tree benefiting from the energy derived from all the leaf growth on the suckers or is it strictly a one-way street in which the suckers are simply sapping the energy away from the main tree?

Frederick County Maryland

1 Response

Any benefit that the parent tree receives from the suckers would be minimal. However, they are connected. Remove the 15-foot sucker and the others. If you are really worried, you can remove the suckers gradually − about half now and half next year (but get that 15 footer out now). Suckering is typical of persimmons. So try to keep up with it in the future.