How to Get Rid of Crepe Myrtle Suckers

Crepe myrtles are cherished for their vibrant blooms and elegant structure, adding beauty to gardens and landscapes. However, as much as we adore these trees, they can sometimes produce unwanted growth called “suckers”. If you find yourself grappling with these persistent intruders, fear not! In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to effectively get rid of crepe myrtle suckers and restore the beauty of your tree.


Understanding Crepe Myrtle Suckers

Crepe Myrtle suckers are shoots that grow from the tree's roots or lower trunk area. These suckers are the tree's way of trying to propagate itself, often triggered by stress factors such as pruning, injury, or poor growing conditions. While they might seem harmless at first, Crepe Myrtle suckers can quickly become a nuisance, stealing nutrients and energy from the main tree, leading to a weaker and less attractive tree.


Step-by-Step Removal Process

1. Identify Suckers: Before you start the removal process, identify the Crepe Myrtle suckers. These growths typically emerge from the base of the tree or its roots and appear as shoots with leaves that differ from the rest of the tree.


2. Timing: Generally, the best time to remove suckers is during the dormant season, typically in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. This is when the tree is least active, minimizing stress on the main plant. 


3. Tools: You'll need a few basic tools for the removal process, including sharp pruning shears, a hand saw (for larger suckers), and a pair of gloves to protect your hands.


4. Pruning: Carefully prune the suckers as close to the base as possible. Make clean cuts to avoid damaging the main tree. If the suckers are too small for pruning shears, you can simply pinch them off.


5. Avoid Tearing: When removing larger suckers, it's important to avoid tearing the bark. This can create wounds that may lead to infections or further sucker growth. Use a saw for larger suckers, making a clean and precise cut.


6. Consistent Monitoring: After removing the suckers, monitor the tree regularly to ensure they don't regrow. If you notice new suckers emerging, promptly remove them to discourage further growth.


Preventing Future Suckers

While removing existing suckers is important, preventing their recurrence is equally vital. Here are a few steps you can take to minimize the likelihood of crepe myrtle suckers in the future:

  • Proper Pruning: When pruning your Crepe Myrtle, follow proper pruning techniques to minimize stress on the tree. Avoid aggressive or excessive pruning that can trigger sucker growth.
  • Healthy Growing Conditions: Ensure your Crepe Myrtle is planted in well-draining soil with proper sunlight and water conditions. A healthy tree is less likely to produce suckers.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree. This helps retain soil moisture, regulate temperature, and prevent weed growth, reducing stress on the tree.
  • Regular Maintenance: Regularly inspect your Crepe Myrtle for any signs of stress, disease, or pest infestations. Promptly address any issues to prevent the tree from producing suckers in response to stress.

With a little care and attention, you can effectively remove Crepe Myrtle suckers and maintain the elegance of these beautiful trees. Remember, patience is key, and consistent monitoring will help prevent future sucker growth. To learn more about what’s growing on at the garden center, check out Mike, the Garden Guru, and his webinars with new plants, products, and expert planting advice. To keep inspired and grow with us, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok to dig into the joys of gardening!