Q.West Tennessee: Problem With An Old Purple Leaf Plum Sending Out Dozens Of Suckers.
An old inherited purple leaf plum has been sending out suckers in the surrounding grass for a couple years. I usually mow them or, if they are close to the tree or other plants, cut them with secateurs. Now, though, the suckers have multiplied. There are dozens ranging in distance from less than a foot up to 70 feet away, and because some are hidden between shrubs etc it’s difficult to catch each one before they get woody. I used a systemic brushwood killer dripped (not sprayed) on the cut stumps of invasive Privet and Ariala Spinosa (Devil’s Walking Stick); 2 two doses over about 6 months eradicated them. I’m confident I could use the same method on these suckers without affecting adjacent plants, but I wondered if it would work satisfactorily. I would like to cut down or severely cut back the parent plum which has become too large for a driveway and overhead power lines, but suspect it will encourage more suckers. Aside from cutting or pulling up the suckers, what options do I have?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Id say that your best option is to kill that tree with any method that you can. It seems to be in distress. With this being said, it will do anything to stay alive. It is going to take some diligence to rid your yard of this. I'd say to continue with your plan, and keep on top of it. They will continue to grow back at every chance.