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We have a Kentucky coffee tree that we planted in April 2019. Last fall we had an early hard freeze that damaged many of the trees around here, and appears to have completely killed the coffee tree. This spring it's sending up a strong sucker from the base of the trunk, which I would like to just let go and see if it grows into a strong tree.

Is there anything special I should do to take care of the sucker? Currently I have it bungee corded to the trunk of the main tree for support. Should I cut the main tree down as soon as possible (and then stake the sucker) to give the sucker room to grow? Can I leave the trunk there for now, as it provides a good support? Anything else I should do?

  • @Jurp Currently the sucker is very weak at the base - there was a second smaller sucker that blew down yesterday in ~15MPH winds. So I have it secured to the trunk for now, but once it's more established I plan to let it free – Drew Jun 9 at 14:54
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There's absolutely no need to stake the sucker unless it's growing very crooked - the roots are already growing into the soil so the little tree is in no danger of toppling over. If you are staking it for shaping it, then stake it loosely (except at the side you're pulling up to the vertical), not tightly. Staking a tree tightly results in a tree with a weak trunk that is prone to snapping in high winds once you remove the stake.

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