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Crab Apple Trees

Q.Crabapple suckers

Anonymous added on November 8, 2014 | Answered

May I say what a wonderful gardening site you have here? I’m not a very good gardener, but keep trying. I have a crabapple tree which grows 12 feet from a large variegated weigela shrub. When pruning the weigela, I noticed 4 large crabapple suckers growing out from the middle of the shrub. One seemed to actually be coming out of one of the weigela branches. We have treated them as suckers (i.e. cut them off) but are worried that the weigela doesn’t look at all well. I would be grateful if you could advise what should be done, and whether they are likely to take over the shrub.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on November 8, 2014

Weigela typically makes its rebound in the spring, so I would not worry much if it does not look great right now after pruning. In the spring it should come back fine.

If it is truly crabapple suckers, you may want to check and see if anything is stressing the crabapple tree. Trees put out more suckers when they are stressed. Lack of water or nutrients, or a pest or fungus infestation can stress a tree.

But as you said it appeared that one of the suckers was growing out of the weigela branch, I am inclined to think that the suckers are actually from the weigela and what you are seeing is the weigela attempting to revert to a non-variegated state. This can happen sometimes with these plants. Just keep removing the suckers as you see them. Weigela are very hardy and can take this kind of pruning. If you don't remove them, then they could cause the whole plant to revert.

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