Suckers From Cherry Tree

Question:

 My neighbor’s cherry tree is about five to six feet away from my redwood deck. The tree suckers are sprouting up between the deck boards. They are very tough to hand pull, and they are multiplying rapidly. I have tried Monterey Sucker Stopper, but this works slowly on the leaves, and it stains my deck. How do I deal with this headache?

Answer:

  • Tree suckers are a natural occurrence and a nuisance. It is a common problem with Cherries, Plums, Apples, and Pears as they are known to sucker beyond their drip line.
  • I’m unaware of any way of preventing a healthy growing tree from suckering.
    • Monterey Sucker Stopper is a plant growth regulator, not a herbicide. It will not stop or prevent the problem from occurring. Typically, it’s applied after the trunk or root where the shoot(s) are removed. You must prune off the trunk or root suckers first and then apply Sucker Stopper.
    • This is impossible in your situation; hence, it isn’t working. I’d spray the suckers with Brush-B-Gon or a similar product with a “ready-to-use product (RTU). The nursery professional at your favorite garden center can be a resource for what to use. You may have to remove a few boards from the deck to spray all the shoots effectively.
    • Brush B-Gon is a selective herbicide that kills broadleaf, woody plants. The leaves and the roots absorb it, so you must be careful around desirable trees and shrubs. But in your case, you have no other options. One application is not going to stop the problem, nor will several.
  •  The cherry tree in your neighbor’s yard will eventually show the effect of the herbicide. I’d consider severing the tree roots at the fence line. The herbicide cannot harm the neighbor’s cherry tree by cutting the roots. Installing a root barrier would be another option to reduce the problem.
  • However, the ideal solution would be to take the tree down and plant a new tree somewhere else. Your neighbor may not like the idea; hence you have the making of another headache, a neighbor dispute that will require a third party to settle.

Question:

Something is eating my basil alive, but I don’t see any bugs. Can I safely use some type of Soap, or is there something else for edibles?   

Answer:

  • When an invisible bug devours plants, my primary suspects are snails, with slugs and earwigs next in line. You don’t see them because they feed at night and retreat to a cool, shady location during the day. Insecticidal Soap or homemade soap solutions are not recommended control for snails, slugs, or earwigs.
  • Insecticidal Soap is effective against sucking insects like aphids, mealybugs, and mites and is ineffective with bugs that eat and makes holes in the leaves. Examples are snails, slugs and earwigs, caterpillars, worms, and grasshoppers. Sluggo Plus is the organic control for seals, slugs, and earwigs on edibles. You’ll find it area-wide.