Root Suckers - live cherry tree

Asked August 17, 2016, 10:11 AM EDT

My lawn is becoming populated with dozens of suckers that are coming off of the roots of an ornamental cherry tree. Some of the suckers are more than 35-30 feet from the trunk. In some places, I can feel fairly large roots comes within half an inch of the surface. Sometimes I can't reach any noticeable root system after pulling up the sucker unless I dig down a little, and then I find a fairly small root branch. First, does this sound like the correct diagnosis based on the limited info I've provided? Second, What can I do to control the suckers? I've heard of a product called SuckerPunch that is supposed to be sprayed on the open cutting where a sucker has been pulled off, though sometimes that break is under the ground and I can't reach it or see it without digging. Any help would be appreciated. (I'm not able to take photos at the moment, but could later) Thank you Steve

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

Root shoots can be a terrible pain to manage and unfortunately are going to be a constant battle with certain species of trees. I looked at the label for the Sucker Punch product and I'm not sure it's going to be effective in this situation. This product is designed to control reoccurring areas of suckers at the base of trees. It is painted on using a small brush. Even if you applied this to the cut base of root shoots it would not necessarily keep new shoots from emerging in other areas the lawn.
The ultimate solution is to remove the tree which is sending out the root shoots and grind out the stump. Then replace with a tree species that doesn't produce root shoots. If that is not an option, then manage by continuing to physically remove the root shoots (mowing or hand removal). Take care if you decide to try using an herbicide like RoundUp (glyphosate) or other. The roots of the root shoots are still connected to the main tree and may damage it.
Good luck and thanks for using Ask An Expert!