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Sunday - November 28, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Bumelia sending up shoots in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a bumelia that is sending up shooters everywhere in my yard. Everywhere!! I started to dig them up, but many come from deep roots and my digging seems to have encouraged the tree to send up more shooters. Ideas on how to control?

ANSWER:

Sideroxylon lanuginosum (Gum bumelia) is a member of the Sapotaceae Family of plants, and we did some research trying to determine if that family was more prone to putting out root sprouts, or shoots. This was never mentioned in the literature we saw, so we are just assuming that it is a common habit for this plant. There really is no quick and easy solution to this problem, shared by many other trees and shrubs. Usually, it is for propagation of the species, as plants create clumps of plants, all interconnected by roots, with shoots coming up to form branches, produce leaves and begin providing food to the whole plant. Live oaks and sumac are other plants that have this habit. You cannot use an herbicide to kill the shoots, because it will go to the roots of the shoot, which are also the roots of the main plant, and kill that. It's a war you probably won't win, but you can employ delaying tactics, such as regular close mowing, if the roots are coming up in lawn, and cutting off the shoots down 2 to 4 inches beneath the soil surface. See this previous answer for suggestions on appropriate tools for this operation.

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