Growth at the Bottom of an Apricot Tree

Apricots are one of the first fruits to flower in the spring. Various apricots require distinct chill requirements, that’s the amount of hours between 45 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Apricot varieties need 300 to 800 chill hours. For warmer climates choose varieties with low chill requirement. Many apricots are grafted to a hardy rootstock, which can develop quick growing branches at the base of the tree, known as suckers.

What are Suckers

The term sucker is employed for development that forms on the trunk, roots or limbs of a plant. Suckers that develop from the limbs or the trunk over the graft are known as watersprouts, while those that develop at the base of the tree under the graft or from the roots are only known as suckers or epicormic sprouts. They soared from dormant buds on older wood and develop very rapidly in one season.

Why Can Trees Produce Suckers

Suckers are produced because of stress. Normally, the stress that causes suckering on apricots is a small incompatibility of the rootstock and the number grafted onto it. It also can be a wound or water stress. The fast produced leaves growing on the sucker supply extra photosynthesis to nourish the tree through the strain. Apricots are related closely to plums and occasionally are grafted onto plum rootstock, which tends to sucker to form thickets.

How to Remove Suckers

Suckers should be cut off as they appear. The sucker should be eliminated as close to the trunk or root as possible. To get suckers that originate at roots, you may have to dig down to reach the base of the sucker. If a stub is left, then several more suckers may sprout from it, producing a great deal more bushy growth at the base of the plant.

Uses for Suckers

If the tree is either old or severely stressed, there may be a number of suckers and a lot of dieback on the upper branches. A well developed sucker can be used to revive the tree. In this case, buds from the upper portion of the tree can be grass grafted to the sucker. After the graft is well developed and growing, the older tree can be cut down, along with the brand new one pruned and trained as a replacement.

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