What kind of tree does stump suckers give you?

drrich2(6)March 19, 2012


Bought a coral bark Japanese maple. Held its ground the first summer, grew very, very well the second summer, but probably too much, since I used some dead fish & Japanese beetle bodies around the base, which may've given too much long, stringy growth that had bad tip die back through the winter.

Last Spring, looked like the tree was coming through, soon to break dormancy, but it never did, turned brown and apparently was very dead.

Later in the year, it sent up suckers. I figured they were probably from below the graft & would be plain old Japanese red maple, but got to say, they're all a nice coral pink.

The original tree before it died:

What it looked like when I photographed it today:

Sooooo...what am I looking at for the future. A 'coral bark' bush?

And since I've got a maybe 20' Yellow Poplar in the backyard that has a severe old trunk injury & might or might not come out of dormancy, but also has a couple of suckers coming from from the base, I'm also curious about the sucker-to-tree question for this reason. I've got a friend who thinks Yellow Poplar trees producing from a sucker on an old stump don't tend to do well over time, but I think he's basing that on short experience.

When somebody prunes a branch, they're supposed to do it near the branch collar, so the tree can make an effective scar and encapsulate the area, from what I understand. Obviously when you've got a sucker growing out the side of a stump, that stump is going going to conveniently be absorbed. Part of the stump is dead, and extends way past the branch collar the sucker comes off of.

So, what comes of this? Would you let the coral bark be, or wait & eventually cut off everything but one 'trunk,' or what?

If you had a Yellow Poplar where the body died but a sucker came off the base, would you replace the tree with, oh, say, a 5 or 6 foot new one, or instead cut off the original tree and lead a stump, and let a sucker try to make a new tree?


P.S.: I know some people don't like synthetic tree rings. This is a rental place, and I don't want the riding lawn mower getting to close it to the tree. The ring is not what killed the tree.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Sooooo...what am I looking at for the future. A 'coral bark' bush?

===>>> yes.. unless you start removing leaders..

select the best.. and start removing some.. but since every leaf is a food making machine.. i might not take them all at once ...

IMHO.. coral bark is foo foo.. i lost one.. and my best guess is that the red bark cant handle my z5 winter ... something about red bark holding more winter sun generated heat.. as compared to the standard gray ... but that is all in my head ..

as you suspect.. USUALLY understock would be the standard green species ... but it wouldnt surprise me that someone may have come up with 'rooting' maples ... and if so.. then suckers would be true to form ...

i dont know what to tell you on the poplar ... w/o a pic ... another of my unsubstantiated theories.. is that trying to grow a large tree on a rotting wreck of the old tree.. usually leads to the new tree falling down ...

rotting wood needs water, and sucks it up like a sponge .. and steals nitrogen while rotting.. so trying to grow a vigorous plant in the middle of it all may not be the best circumstances for long term success ... [and yeah.. i know weird things happen out in virgin forests .. but they wont kill you when they fall] ...

you said: If you had a Yellow Poplar where the body died but a sucker came off the base, would you replace the tree with, oh, say, a 5 or 6 foot new one,

==>>> no i would get rid of any poplar.. and plant just about ANYTHING ELSE ... and that would include a tulip tree .. which is not really a poplar .... but still has many of the problems of a poplar ...

man you did some stream of consciousness.. lol ... i think i got most of the questions ...

i would take at least two of the trunks off the maple now.. and maybe another in fall ... and there is no real reason you might not like a multi-trunked plant.. rather than a single trunk ... but too many would not be pleasing to the eye.. IMHO ...


    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:14AM
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Quick note as I'm in a hurry: Yellow Poplar IS Tulip Tree. If that thing were a cottonwood, for example, it'd already be gone!


    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:48AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

not quit ... tulip poplars and yellow poplars are Liriodendron tulipifera ..

which is neither a poplar..

nor a tulip.. since that grows as a bulb in the ground ...

i have 5 Liriodendron tulipifera ...

they tend to break in storms.. like a poplar ...

they have surface roots like a poplar ...

and you might think the flower somewhat looks like a tulip.. but not really ...

and apparently.. some buck absolutely hates just one of my trees ... as he scrapes the heck out of it every year ...

in my opinion.. they are one of the 'fast growing' trees.. that has many problems... and i would question whether they are appropriate for a SMALL suburban lot ... especially one that is trying to grow out of a rotting mass of dead wood ...

since the new tree is small.. its not really a threat ...

and since its a rental.. its not really a problem.. nor your problem ...

watch.. learn.. and enjoy ...

if it were your house.. i would suggest a heritage tree of your choosing.. over this one ....


    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:56AM
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Just a quick add to what Ken said. The most common coral bark is 'Sango Kaku'. 'Sango Kaku' is most commonly sold grafted to understock that is not 'Sango Kaku'. I have a rooted cutting of 'Sango Kaku' growing on the back porch. If my rooted cutting sends up suckers, they will be the same as the top growth already present. This appears to be the case with your tree, too.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:18AM
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Richard, a young Norway maple got ran over by a car once. We removed it in order to replace. The old "dead" root mass sat in the boneyard utterly neglected for the better part of that summer. I noticed it had a strong will to live so I took it home and planted it, cutting away all but the best sucker. It quickly grew to be a strapping tree, so much so that some years later, we decided that I should cut it down. Our front yard is small, the tree was getting huge quickly, and we didn't want that little postage stamp yard to be quite that shaded out and dominated by such a tree.

But, it grew extremely well and was in fact a very nice tree.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 6:29PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

The title of this thread made me giggle. We had to have an oak taken down. it wasn't one of our largest. My husband didn't have them grind the stump and this past fall, I realized we have a quite lovely oak bush growing. I just can't bring myself to kill it. It is really so amusing to me.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 7:23PM
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Your 'Sango kaku' was probably a rooted cutting so hold on to your suckers, they look like the real thing.
As to your second question familiarize yourself with the term "second-growth". This refers to forests which have regenerated after some kind of disturbance such as fire or timbering. Some of our most beautiful forests today are second growth in fact the most well-known Cypress Swamp in Maryland located in Prince Frederick is second growth.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 10:00PM
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Thought I'd mention, it was indeed labeled a Sango Kaku.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 11:01PM
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