Saving Pink Trumpet
I recently moved to a new house and inherited a diseased pink trumpet tree in the front yard. One of the branches had a caterpillar coccoon and I removed it in summer last year. This summer, all its leaves were infected, so I to cut the tree down. While I was waiting for stump removal, the shoots beside the main trunk started to grow really tall (now at 5 feet). Even the main trunk stump (about 5 feet) has sprouted fresh (red) branches. Now I am hopeful that the tree can be saved. Q1: If I save 2-3 of the new shoots, will it grow into a full tree again? Should I also keep the stump that's sprouting branches? Q2: How can I separate the new shoots and replant (vegetative propagation)? If this is possible, can you please describe the process in detail? Thanks much! Asma
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The suckers (those shoots) can be removed from the mother plant to grow new trees. Simply remove the dirt from around them and cut them away from the mother taking as much of a root system as possible with it.
If it does not seem the sucker has a root system of its own, gently scrape away a little bit of the bark below the soil line, but do not remove the bark all the way around the sucker. Then cover the damaged bark back up with soil. This will force the sucker to grow its own roots. Every few weeks, check back on the sucker and see if roots have grown yet. Once roots have grown, you can remove it from the mother.
Pot up the sucker in a pot and put it in a place that gets light but not direct sunlight. Keep it well watered and when it starts to grow new leaves on its own, it is ready to be planted in the ground.
The mother stump can grow back but it will never be a tree again. It will grow bushlike from now on. This is not a bad thing. My neighbor took out a massive magnolia tree and now has a very nice magnolia bush in its place.