The Root Of The Problem: Zombie Trees That Come Back After Death


When you take down a tree in your landscape, you may think the job is over, but some trees reappear like zombies all over your yard and even into your neighbor's yards. The only way to get rid of them is to completely kill the trunk and roots before having it ground or pulled up. 

What Are Root Suckers?

In their natural habitat, some trees will form dense stands by sending up shoots or suckers from their roots. This ensures that even after a natural disaster or forest fire destroys the tree, it will survive and renew itself. A distinct advantage for forest trees, it isn't such a desirable characteristic in your yard. The roots of these trees are independent entities that live on after the tree has been cut down and even after the stump is ground out.

Trees That Produce the Most Suckers

The most egregious of the root-suckering trees include the following:

  • The Populus family, which includes poplars, aspens and cottonwoods. Of these, the white poplar is the most invasive. There are non-suckering varieties available for landscape use.
  • The Eleagnus family, which includes Russian olive and Autumn olive. In fact, true olives in the Olea family are also notorious for root suckering.
  • The European black alder not only produces root suckers, but spreads prolifically by seed.

Popular Landscape Trees that Sucker

  • Mimosa, beloved for its fluffy pink flowers and graceful arching growth habit, is another tree that spreads from root suckers and seeds. It is listed as an invasive species in many states.
  • Willows spread by root suckers and can be a real nuisance in areas near water.
  • Southern crabapple graces many a yard with its beautiful spring flowers and fall fruit, but is well known to produce suckers even after being cut down.
  • Pawpaw, grown for its fruit, truly will produce the famed "pawpaw patch" of root suckers if left to its own devices.
  • Mulberry is a popular easy-to-grow fruit tree in the Southern states, but it is known to sucker many feet away from the parent tree and also spreads rampantly from seed.
  • Hickory trees, grown as shade trees and for their gorgeous golden fall foliage, are notorious for suckering for years even after being cut down.

In order to prevent these trees from rising like zombies from the ground, you need to have a professional tree service kill the stump and roots before you have it ground or dug up. You can do this yourself, but the professionals have stronger chemicals that do the job faster, so the unsightly stump isn't sitting for months before being removed. Contact a professional tree removal service, like Brown's Tree Service, to have them put a stop to your zombie tree suckers.

About Me

how to identify tree illnesses and infestations

I spent my youth in the city, but when I got married, I moved out into the country with my new husband. We bought a house on a beautiful, wooded piece of land. It is the sanctuary that I had been missing all of my life. Unfortunately, having not grown up around trees, I was unaware of the fact that several of the trees were being killed by a nasty little beetle. Since those trees were removed, I have taken the time to learn how to identify tree illnesses and infestations before they become so serious that the trees need to be removed. Find out how to identify these issues here on my blog.

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