En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 07, 2009

From: Hilliard, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants, Compost and Mulch, Propagation, Trees
Title: Eliminating suckers from roots of Moraine locust in Hilliard, OH
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We removed a large Moraine Locust tree and also the stump. Now little trees from the roots are coming up. How do we get rid of these so something else can be planted?

ANSWER:

Moraine locust is apparently a patented selected cultivar of Gleditsia triacanthos (honeylocust). The cultivar lacks the thorns that are so vicious on the original plant, have smaller seed pods and therefore less mess on the ground. They are susceptible to several pests and diseases and can become a weed problem and invasive. Obviously, you already know that since you have had it cut down. Now to get rid of the suckers that are still coming up. They are the plant's last-ditch struggle to survive, which is every organism's primary purpose.  Those "little trees" coming off the roots are, in effect, branches the roots are putting out to get some leaves growing to manufacture food for the roots through photosynthesis. The roots are a storage area for nutrients and will continue to try to stay alive. Of course, you want to nip off those suckiers as soon as they stick their heads up. Eventually, if you got them all, the roots would starve, but this could take a while. 

So, take the battle to the root. Get a bottle of wide-spectrum herbicide and some disposable foam paintbrushes. Dig down to where you can get at the main root. Cut off a slice of that root, exposing a fresh surface. Quickly, within five minutes, before the tree can begin to heal itself, paint the raw surface with the herbicide. This should go down into the circulatory system of the root and begin to kill it. This will also take a while, depending on how much root there is. If you are really determined, you could dig down and locate some more roots going out from the main stump and treat them the same way. Be very careful with the herbicide, avoid spilling it on the ground and contaminating the soil, and don't use spray. A spray could easily stray onto another, more valuable plant, and cause more damage than you intended. Hopefully, this will stop the development of the suckers and permit you to begin planting in the fall. We would also suggest that you remove as much of the root from the ground as possible, and then work some compost into the bed before starting to put in new plants. 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Overwatering Texas Mountain Laurel from Rosanky TX
June 06, 2012 - I just read your article in the Statesman about over watering Mt.Laurel. Now I know why my lovely 15 year old tree is dying. We put in new grass this winter and I watered too much. Is there any hop...
view the full question and answer

Should Texas live oaks be mulched under drought conditions?
July 19, 2011 - Should we mulch our live oaks in pastures for water retention?
view the full question and answer

Holding soil on a bank in Goldsboro, NC
July 25, 2010 - I live in Goldsboro, NC on a small ridge with a very steep bank on one side of our property. What native plants can we plant on the bank to help hold the soil. Also, what would be best to plant on t...
view the full question and answer

Amendments for faster-growing trees from Bulverde TX
July 04, 2010 - What faster growing trees will grow in black gumbo clay that is about 12 inches deep above caliche rock in full sun with a sprinkler system set on 1 inch/week? How many and how much amendments such...
view the full question and answer

Blackened leaves on purple sage in Utopia TX
December 08, 2010 - I live in Utopia Texas and have a 5-ft. Texas Purple Sage that has developed a black appearance on the leaves. What is this and what can I do about it?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center