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Removing suckers

Is there a right way to remove suckers on hazelnuts and flowering cherries, or is it just one of those ongoing jobs? Also, the cherry has surface roots which are so large it's difficult to mow over. Can I remove any of these roots?


MOST species of Corylus, which includes the edible hazelnut, have a bushy habit, with many stems arising from suckers around the base of the plant. So there's really nothing you can, or should, do to prevent them growing, apart from pulling out the odd one to control the spread of the plant.

With the flowering cherry, just pull suckers out rather than prune them off. Don't attempt to remove any of the cherry roots - it will probably just encourage more suckering and there's the risk of opening up the root system to disease.

I'd stop mowing close to the tree and apply a layer of bark or wood chip mulch over the area to cover the exposed roots and keep the grass down. You could spray the grass with herbicide first or smother it with a layer of newspapers or weedmat before laying the mulch. Don't put mulch hard up against the trunk or you run the risk of encouraging rot in the bark.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 171, 2005, Page 24

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: October 25, 2005