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Many types of fruit trees produce suckers around the base of the tree. Crown suckers arise in the area immediately surrounding the tree trunk (Photo 1), and root suckers can arise from roots further away from the trunk. Not only are suckers around trees unsightly, but they can also harbor insect pests like wooly apple aphid and provide points of entry for diseases like fire blight. If suckers are profuse, they interfere with in-row weed management and can absorb systemic herbicides such as glyphosate. Some rootstocks used for fruit trees such as M.7 for apples and Mazzard for cherries are genetically predisposed to produce suckers. M.9 clone RN-29 is more inclined to sucker than other M.9 clones. In some cases, sucker growth is a symptom of partial incompatibility between the rootstock and scion. Suckers can also result from injury to the crown, such as extreme cold or mechanical damage. Whatever the cause, managing suckers takes time and expense. This fact sheet reviews mechanical and chemical control methods to manage suckers surrounding fruit trees.



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