5

I have a small cumquat tree, and sometimes it grows new, low branches, which I suspect are suckers. But how can I be sure, how can I decide whether to prune them or not?

Here is a picture of the latest suspect on my tree:

cumquat with sucker-suspect near bottom

It seems to me that the graft was made very low - you can see (what I think it is) here:

possible graft location near the bottom

So the question is, do I cut the lowest branch? Is it a sucker?

(I've referenced this question, but I can't make up my mind whether to cut it or not)

  • Sucker or not, do you want a branch that low on the tree? It'll get big in 10 years time. – Wayfaring Stranger Jan 30 '16 at 16:14
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It would seem the scion is at the base of your plant, as shown in the second picture. Therefore, the branch you're concerned about is not a sucker because it doesn't arise from below the scion, or graft, or from below soil level. It might be a watersprout, although it doesn't look overly vigorous, and you will know whether its growing much faster than the rest of the tree. If it is growing much faster than the rest of the plant, then you might want to remove it, or you may want to remove it because you're restricting the plant's size. So called watersprouts usually arise from adventitious buds on the stem or on thick branches, and are often caused by excessive pruning - but that's something you're probably having to do because your plant's in a pot.

From its appearance in the photograph, it just seems to be a new branch - but you may not want it that low down. With regard to pruning, you should really cut off the nubs or stubs where you've pruned back - you need to leave a small collar at the base of a branch you remove, but its best not to leave remains that stick out for an inch or so, you're more likely to get dieback.

  • That's correct, suckers grow below the graft point, and tend to be apical. That means they try to grow straight up, whereas a branch grows more branchlike off to the side. – Escoce Jan 29 '16 at 15:08

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