This tree is a magnificent oak that's well over 80 years old. It's hard
to say how high but I would guess it's well over 30 feet tall.
It's very healthy but this year, I have noticed that on the lower
brances -- which are about 10 feet off the ground -- there are about a
half dozen suckers. Right now, they are clusters of leaves.
Should I remove them?
You can trim an oak for looks if you like. If the leaf clusters do
develop into branches, it's quite possible that some will die later on,
depending on availability of light, etc. The leaf clusters started up
because of sufficient light, water, and nutreients in the soil. Most
trees will develop such adventitious growth on branches and trunks when
the conditions are right.
Actually, short of poison, it's hard to kill an oak. I cut down a 15
year old 8ft high "sapling" that had never grown much on acount of heavy
shade, and for the next four or five years, new growth started from the
roots every spring, and regrew a few times during the summer when I
mowed over it. I gave the trunk (nice and straight) to my brother to
make a walking stick - he said it was too heavy, because of the dense
wood. It was 1-3/4" thick. It made a good quarter staff, though. :-)
On 2 Oct 2005 06:31:28 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
First, "sucker" is a misnomer. These interior branches do not suck
anything out of the tree (no net loss, at least). They grew there
because the tree was under stress and needed them (usually because the
previous stripping of the sprouts led to sunscald). They are taking
light and turning it into energy that the tree can use to carry out
its business and/or store away for future stresses.
Yes, the sprouts will often die before becoming significant branches.
Then it will be fine to remove them. No, you will not kill most trees
by removing them before they die. But you will add stress, and each
tiny step down this road could add up to catastrophe during the next
big drought, or the root trenching when you have to replace an
underground utility, or the ice storm that breaks the top out of the
And, when some of them do become significant branches, you will have
something to leave behind if the outer parts of the branch are damaged
(by storm or truck or whatever). The result of "lion-tailing" or
"poodle-dogging" is that when the end breaks (which happens more often
because all the weight is at the end of a long, non-tapered pole), the
entire branch must be removed.
In short, don't remove anything green without a good reason.
ISA Certified Arborist #TX-0236
Thanks -- I left them on.
It has been very dry here since late July and I have been paying
special attention to this tree (making sure it gets enough water) -- I
didn't want to see anything bad happen to this great tree.
Good strategy--trees often get overlooked during droughts. Make sure
you are watering the whole tree--the important feeder roots grow
mainly in the top 12-18 inches of soil and spread outward in a flat
mat as much as 2-3 times as wide as the tree's height. In other
words, you should be giving your whole yard a nice, slow soak.
Sometimes people water trees by sticking a hose at the base of the
trunk, which is bound to help but won't really affect much of the root
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