Ask the Arborist-Tree Shoots
We received the following question from Patti: "We have an Autumn Purple Ash tree which grows 'shoots' from the ground right at the base of the trunk. If we don't trim them down every few weeks or so, it becomes a 'bush' and looks very unsightly. Is there something wrong with the tree, or is there something else we can do to stop this?”
Thank you for your question Patti!
There are several reasons why a tree will start to grow ‘shoots’ or suckers from the base of the trunk. For some trees, like many varieties of Crabapple trees, suckering is simply part of their growth form. The tree can be completely healthy and grow suckers profusely just because that is how it wants to grow. If this is the case, there are a few ready-to-use products on the market that are meant to slow sucker growth. However, if this is a new issue for a mature tree, it is most likely a response to some sort of stress affecting the tree. Stress factors can include insect infestation, disease, or if the tree has recently been over-pruned or has suffered significant storm damage. Sucker growth can also be an indicator that the tree has been planted too deep or that there is a moisture issue.