We have several trees in the yard which have been variously identified as poplar or cottonwood. We recently had to remove one as it was lifting our deck. Now we have suckers everywhere. We need help with controlling them as the suckers are coming up in the flower beds everywhere. We live in the high desert of central Oregon. Any help will be appreciated. My idea is landscape fabric but my husband thinks the suckers are too strong & will just push up the fabric. Help! Beth A.
If you want to avoid chemicals, your choices are limited. You will need to either cover the stump with light blocking black fabric or have it ground. Then you can either continue to break off the suckers as soon as you see them (if you are diligent about this it probably won’t take longer than one season, maybe two) or you can put down black plastic (probably not possible in the flower beds) or maybe thick landscape fabric. Without a source of glucose, the roots will not be able to continue to send up new shoots and will eventually die.
Alternatively there are chemicals that can be painted or sprayed onto the cambium of the stump (or exposed roots). These are most effective when applied within an hour of cutting down the tree.
Thanks so much for your reply. We are trying the 1st option as we cut the tree down about 4 weeks ago, so probably way too late for the 2nd option. Thanks again!
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.