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Trees/Liquidambar and sucklings


Good afternoon Jim,  

I live in Australia and we have 12 Liquidambars along our drive way, they are spectacular.  My question: how to best remove sucklings on the lower section of the tree trucks?

Thank-you in advance for your response,


An epicormic shoot is a shoot growing from an epicormic bud from underneath the bark of a stem or branch of a plant. Epicormic buds lie dormant beneath the bark, their growth suppressed by hormones from active shoots higher up the plant. Under certain conditions they develop into active shoots, such as when damage occurs to higher parts of the plant, or light levels are increased following removal of nearby plants. Epicormic shoots occur in many woody species, but are absent from many others, such as most conifers. This is a natural process usually started by increasing light on the trunk--such as removing the nearby tree that shade the trunk area or heavy pruning of the upper branches.  

The tree is adding foliage to compensate for lost foliage. These can be removed by pruning them. I would just cut the ones on the lower half to 1/3 of the trunk.

Refrain from pruning the suckers until late fall when the tree is dormant. Pruning outside the dormant period is counter-productive, as new sucker shoots will emerge from the wounds left from the removal.

Make two pruning cuts with a pruning saw to remove larger suckers. Make the first cut on the underside of the shoot several inches from the trunk or limb where it attaches. Cut about half-way through the shoot. Make the second cut just above the first cut on the top side of the sucker. After these cuts are made, the top of the shoot above the cuts will break off leaving a stub that will be easier to remove.

Cut the remaining stub at a 45 degree downward angle just outside the branch collar or bark ridge. Do not cut into the trunk or branch.

Prune smaller suckers less than 1/2-inch in diameter with pruning shears. Make one cut at a 45 degree angle just outside the branch collar or bark ridge.  


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Jim Hyland


I am an expert in Forestry, Forest Entomology, Forest Pest Control, and Forest Health. Extensive knowledge in Identification of insects and diseases of trees. Expert on Bark beetles and other insects that attack forests. Also a Registrated Forester with extensive knowledge in the management and care of forests.


34 years as State Pest Management Chief in a Southern state. Extensive knowledge in Forestry.

BS with major in Forest Management and Entomology
Registered Forester
Certified Pesticide Appicator

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