The Q&A Archives: Trees

Questioner's Location: Oakland, CA
Date: April 24, 2000

Question: Six months ago I planted an apple tree in my backyard, and it has grown some branches on its base. Is it beneficial for the tree to have branches on its base while the tree is young or should I cut them off?

Answer: Apple trees tend to develop suckers at the base of the plant. These are non-productive shoots and should be removed as soon as they appear. You can cut them off at ground level or pull them away from the trunk of the tree. As your tree matures you'll probably discover additional water sprouts or suckers on the top sides of the branches. You'll recognize them because they grow straight up towards the sky. These, too, are non-productive and should be removed as soon as you discover them.

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