Sucker – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Horticultural Terms Glossary

What is a sucker in horticulture?

In horticulture, a sucker is a type of shoot that grows from the rootstock or base of a plant. Suckers are often unwanted growths that can drain the plant’s resources and hinder its overall growth and development. They can arise from underground roots or above-ground stems and can vary in size and appearance depending on the plant species.

How do suckers affect plant growth?

Suckers can have a negative impact on plant growth in several ways. They compete with the main plant for water, nutrients, and sunlight, which can weaken the overall health of the plant. Suckers can also divert energy away from the main plant, leading to reduced flower or fruit production. In some cases, suckers can even overtake the main plant and become dominant, causing the original plant to decline or die.

What are the different types of suckers?

There are two main types of suckers: water sprouts and root suckers. Water sprouts are fast-growing shoots that emerge from the branches or trunk of a plant. They are often vertical in orientation and can be found in trees such as apple, cherry, and pear. Root suckers, on the other hand, are shoots that arise from the roots of a plant and can grow some distance away from the main plant. Examples of plants that produce root suckers include raspberries, roses, and aspen trees.

How can suckers be removed or controlled?

To prevent suckers from negatively impacting plant growth, it is important to remove or control them effectively. One common method of removing suckers is to prune them off using sharp, clean pruning shears. It is important to cut suckers as close to the base of the plant as possible to prevent regrowth. In some cases, applying a growth inhibitor or herbicide to the cut area can help prevent suckers from reappearing.

What are some common plants that produce suckers?

Many plants are known for producing suckers, including fruit trees, ornamental shrubs, and perennial flowers. Some common plants that produce suckers include roses, raspberries, aspen trees, and lilacs. These plants can quickly spread and form dense thickets if suckers are not controlled.

How can suckers be used for propagation in horticulture?

While suckers are often seen as a nuisance in horticulture, they can also be used for propagation purposes. By carefully removing and transplanting suckers, gardeners can create new plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant. This can be a cost-effective way to propagate desirable plant varieties. Suckers can be dug up and replanted in a new location, where they can establish themselves and grow into healthy, mature plants.