How and when do I prune suckers from the base of my tree?


How and when do I prune suckers from the base of my tree?


Remove suckers with a hand pruners as soon as they appear from their point of origin.  Often this requires pulling a little bit of soil back to find the base and clip it off while still less than 6 to 12 inches in length.  If suckers are not removed at their base, the little stub left behind will resprout with multiple shoots making the problem even worse.  Suckers grow most vigorously in spring.  If only a few suckers are present and relatively small, waiting to prune until early summer can reduce the likelihood of vigorous regrowth, but there will still likely be regrowth later in the season.  Regular pruning of suckers throughout the growing season as they appear is the best way to keep them well-managed.

The use of herbicides to destroy the suckers is not recommended.  An application of a herbicide to the suckers may damage or kill the tree.  While there are some products aviallbe that claim to preven suckers from growing ("sucker stopper"), they are not recommended for use on trees because of their limited effectiveness and potential to harm the tree. 

Click here for more detailed information on how to manage suckers on fruit, ornamental, and shade trees.

Answered by
  • Specialist
  • Consumer Horticulture Extension
Last updated on
March 19, 2024