The Q&A Archives: Can this tree be saved?

Question: I have a Maytenus tree that has produced suckers all over my yard. There is a small underground creek running through the yard. I would like to have my yard landscaped, but the suckers are everywhere. The tree is about 10 years old and very pretty. Can the tree be saved?
Thank you.
Tim Brydon

Answer: Maytenus boaria tends to colonize an area by sending suckers up from the roots. You can physically remove the suckers by cutting them off at ground level. You can even do some root pruning to reduce the length of the roots, but you'll never be able to keep the tree from suckering. (If you use herbicide on the suckers it will be translocated to the tree and could kill it off so avoid the use of these products in an attempt to control the suckers.) It isn't too likely that installing a new landscape, including digging in the yard, will do any permanent damage your Maytenus. In fact, removing some of the roots may slow the production of suckers - for a while, at least. Hope this answers all your questions.

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