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Last year I planted a dwarf apple tree, and this year after returning from vacation it has a secondary tree that's sprouted up from around the base. Here's a photo showing what I mean:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RttcFKz1BewiGFdq5

A little hard to tell from the photo, but the secondary tree diverges from the main tree somewhere below the mulch/soil level. It went from nothing to what you see in the photo in the span of about 3 weeks.

Mainly I'm not sure if this is an issue, or what I should do about it if it is. Is it fine to just let the secondary tree do its thing, or is it better to take some action against it. And would that action be pruning it? Uprooting? Something else?

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It's likely that shoot is coming off the rootstock; apple trees are grafted onto different root stocks, usually to restrict their size. Hopefully, you planted the tree at the same depth it was in its pot originally, and not lower - if you apply a mulch, it's best to leave an inch or so clear round the main stem or trunk so that the mulch is not touching it.

You can check whether it's a shoot off the rootstock by excavating a bit of the soil where it is - if it's coming from below the union or graft point, then it's a sucker off the stock and should be removed. The recommendation is to wrench it off physically rather than cutting it, so have a go at doing it that way. If that doesn't work very well, you might have to cut it, but do it at the point of origin, where it arises from, not higher up.

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