growing a tree from suckers
I had a beautiful lemon tree that froze two years in a row, the 2nd year severely. It went completely dead and I had to have it cut down. Supposedly the trunk was ground down but now I have an amazing amount of bright green suckers coming up from the ground where the roots of the lemon tree were. Can I let these grow and will they become a tree? I don't care if this would be a lemon tree - I just like trees and would be happy with a non-producing one. If not, do I have to have the entire main root system dug up and hauled off? Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
You can train these suckers into tree form, but it is unlikely it will be of the same variety of lemon you had planted there before. Most citrus trees are grafted onto inferior but hardier rootstocks. When the scion tree dies, these root stocks start to grow again as suckers. They will naturally grow in a bush like form, but you can choose one or two strong ones and train them up into tree form. As long as you don't mind that they will not produce fruit, there is not problem in letting them grow.
If you don't care about having a fruit bearing tree, you can certainly let the suckers grow, because they are obviously hardy in your area. You can either let it grow in a bush form by letting all the suckers grow, or encourage a tree form by cutting off all but the largest sucker, and pruning it as necessary to shape it.