Tree shoots or suckers can be found both in the lawn and at the base of the tree. They can be an unsightly nuisance when found in your turf. When growing from the base of the tree, they are known as basal shoots, but when they are growing from the root of the tree out in the lawn, they are aptly named root shoots, root sprouts, or suckers.
Cause of Suckers
A number of things can cause suckers. It’s common to see shoots come up in the lawn from a remaining root system of a tree that has been cut down. Usually if tree shoots are sprouting at the base of the tree that is a sign of some kind of a stress on the tree. If it’s a root sprout that is typically just the tree reproducing. One of the more common shoots that we see around Colorado would be Aspen shoots. Because of how Aspens reproduce, growing in aspen “groves”, they send out many shoots. Trees that sucker the most would be Aspens, Canada Red Cherries, and Cottonwoods.
The below photo is of an ash tree that is suffering from Emerald Ash Borer damage. This damage can cause the tree to sucker.
Improper watering will cause tree roots to stay shallow. Shallow frequent watering will cause this because it trains the roots that they don’t need to dig deep to attain water. The same goes for too much water, this will train the roots to stay shallow; this is because the oxygen in the soil is getting replaced with water.
How to Control
In the spring some trees will produce seedlings. We usually have a pretty good control rate with One Earth on seedlings. Unfortunately, if it’s a tree shoot, it has the tree roots to feed off of and weed controls will not be effective on those. We don’t recommend putting a chemical on the shoots, if too much of the product is absorbed that can harm the tree. So, we would just suggest to mow those down.