Suckers are growths that appear from the root systems of many trees and shrubs. Left alone, they will take nutrients away from the main plant.
Suckers can appear from the root systems of many trees and shrubs. You may see them shooting up in borders, lawns, between paving stones or through paths.
Cherries and plums are particularly prone to suckering. It is part of the natural habit of these trees and is one way the can spread, rather than relying on seeds.
Some trees and shrubs are naturally shallow-rooting, which makes them more prone to suckering as the shoots can easily break through to the surface from the roots.
On grafted trees such as apples and pears, they grow from the rootstock. Since the rootstock is not the same variety as the tree being grown for the fruit, the suckers are an unwanted drain of the plants resources.
Suckers can appear after root damage, resulting from digging or mowing, so it is good to be careful when working close to trees.
Suckers should be removed, by gently pulling or by using secatuers on woody material. This will make sure that all of the nutrients drawn up by the roots from the soil go to the fruit tree and not support the growth of these unwanted shoots.
If the suckers are from ungrafted trees, so are the same plant material as the fruiting part, they can be replanted as a way to propagate new trees.