Growing Things: Dealing with raspberry blight

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Q: We have a plum tree, that has produced very minimal fruit in the past few years. We now have a lot of suckers growing in the lawn. Is there a way to stop this from occurring?

A: I would be a very rich man if I had come up with the easy fix to suckering trees. In short, the answer is no there is no silver bullet solution to this issue, unfortunately. Some experts believe that pruning is the key to controlling suckers.

Overpruning a tree can certainly encourage suckering but regular healthy pruning might be the way to keep suckers at bay. I know that’s a difficult sentence to comprehend but overpruning simply means pruning too severely.

If you do that you will encourage the tree to sucker. By healthy pruning, I mean removing water sprouts and excessive growth in the middle of the tree and keeping your pruning to only that which is necessary.

The suckers will likely continue but perhaps with less vigour. To remove them now I recommend getting right down to where the sucker is originating from and cutting it off with a sharp pair of pruners.

Try to cut it as low as you possibly can. In fact, if you can dig back a little of the soil or lawn whatever is there and cut the sucker even with the root it is coming from. This is a bit of a time-consuming method but over time it will work.

Just as a note of interest plum trees are often grafted onto a hardy rootstock. It is the rootstock that is being so persistent in sending up the suckers.

Q: I just read an article you wrote and one of the tips was that you can reuse packing peanuts in the bottom of large planters to make them lighter.

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