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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

Contorta question

I have a contorta tree that is planted in a moderate sized container, with perhaps 2 gallons of soil. We have had the tree for perhaps 8-10 years. My problem is that the tree sends an endless number of suckers from the base. At the same time the main tree has gotten weaker and weaker until it finally died and all that is left are them many suckers that pop up from the lower trung or upper part of the roots. Is this related to a graphing issue? Do all contorta trees send up so many suckers? Is there a way to avoid this issue?

Plant is on the right:

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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

It seems like the new growth are still "contorting". Do you think they are root stock growth? Are the leaves, bark, general characteristics the same?

Hmm... Is it hazel or willow? Both hazel and willow tends to throw basal growth.
... or something else? I think there's a contorting Cersis.... I have a contorting citrus but I know this one isn't that.

If it was a grafted tree, perhaps the graft was buried too deep?

If not, I suppose if the main trunk was somehow ailing or stressed, it would've sent out side shoots as a survival ploy. On the other hand, if you didn't prune off the basal shoots, they may have drained its resources.

If the growths are the same as the original tree, then I suppose the thing to do now is to cut off the main trunk, choose one to grow, and prune off the rest? ... or isn't there a Bonsai styling where you keep the dead tree as part of the overall design?

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