What Is the Best Way to Kill Tree Suckers?


Kill tree suckers by pruning them with sterilized shears. It takes less than five minutes to remove one sucker. The required supplies are rubbing alcohol, a medium bowl, a clean towel and pruning shears.

  1. Sterilize the pruning shears

    Dip the blades of your pruning shears in a bowl of rubbing alcohol. Dry them thoroughly with a clean towel. Keep the towel and bowl of alcohol nearby.

  2. Remove the sucker at its base

    Amputate the sucker at its base. This reduces its ability to reappear in the same location. Do not cut into the supporting branch or root. It is better to leave a tiny portion of the sucker stem intact than to damage its support structure.

  3. Re-sterilize your pruning tool after each removal

    Sterilize your shears after you clip each sucker, even if they are growing from the same tree. This minimizes the chance of spreading pathogens. Sterilization is particularly important when removing suckers from multiple trees.

  4. Clean your equipment after pruning

    Sterilize your equipment after you finish pruning. Immerse the blades in the bowl of rubbing alcohol, and keep them submerged for 30 seconds. Dry them thoroughly with a soft towel.

  5. Monitor the pruning sites for regrowth

    Monitor the pruned areas and remove regrowth immediately. Suckers, especially those that grow directly from tree roots, often reappear several times. Prompt, repeated pruning eventually kills them.