Cuda52774
Cool Member
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:24 pm
Location: Atlanta, Ga

Quick question: Definition of suckers.

What are they and what do they do? I get the feeling that they are branches that try to grow from the bottom of the trunk but have never seen a true definition of what they are or their affects if you get them.

Are they all bad or do they have a use?

Cuda

kdodds
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

From the best of my understanding, low growing branches are not necessarily suckers. Suckers grow from low down, or from the roots, and grow very quickly. The result is that they draw strength/nutrition/water/etc. away from the rest of the tree. You'd really only want to keep such a thing if you're looking for another "trunk". However, IME, these growths are not usually the best candidates for bonsai as they tend to be weaker, long term, lignify poorly or slowly, and continue to put forth (usually more rapidly than the rest of the tree) new growth.

alexinoklahoma
Senior Member
Posts: 273
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:21 pm
Location: Central Oklahoma

Plus, 'suckers' generally do not contribute much (if any) to thickening the nebari...or 'gaining mass' of the trunk, so to speak. Suckers just suck the 'energy' away from what was formerly the 'leader'; suckers tend to be more vigorous than old leader so tree is no long 'balanced' of growth-energy.

I use terms pretty loosely there, but I bet you see the picture of how suckers can dominate efforts to maintain one trunk or such ;-) Rarely are suckers useful for bonsai 'planning/development', per se.

I have always been of the opinion that suckers originate off of 'roots', or from root/above-ground tissue interface (forget 'real' name), or even from roots far from trunk like in numerous oaks. If its a branch off of the trunk (proper), not a sucker (right?) UNLESS the branch is below a graft, then its a sucker no matter the angle you look at it ;-)

If I remember right, most suckers are poor transplant 'candidates' as they usually root poorly - they do grow fast, but can't make roots worth a darn, IME.

Alex

Cuda52774
Cool Member
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:24 pm
Location: Atlanta, Ga

So, generally bad. Thanks for the info guys!

Cuda
Image "Let's put a happy little tree right there."

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