enter image description here My neighbor cut down a beautiful Royal Empress Tree and now there are about 5 areas of new sprouts! A huge cluster coming off the stump and additional sprouts surrounding that area (coming up from the roots). Can I cut one of them from underground and replant it?

  • Not to nag, but the offer to help choose a native replacement tree is very real! What do you like about the Royal Empress? The flowers? Fast growing? Straight, handsome limbs? Broad leaves?
    – MackM
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


Word to the wise, these trees are considered invasive in North America and Europe and are notoriously difficult to remove after they are established. We would be happy to help you select a native replacement tree if you ask a second question on this site. Please plant responsibly :-)

I have never propagated one of these, but I believe the idea should be the same as other trees. You want to gently dig around the root suckers and see if they have developed roots or are still feeding off of the parent plant's roots. In this picture, the sucker on the right has no roots of its own, and the one on the left has a few.

Image of two suckers, one without roots and one with a few roots

Image taken from https://www.southernagrarian.com/

Hopefully you will find something like this.

Two suckers with developed root balls

Image taken from a random Quora question

If you find developed roots appropriate for the above-ground portion of the sucker, you can carefully dig the roots and sucker up and transplant it. Water it while the roots re-establish themselves.

If you find that the sucker is coming up from roots that are too deep or impractical to dig up, you can encourage roots to develop. One method is to scrape away the bark from an underground section of the sucker and rebury it. Check back monthly for root development, and transplant when it is ready.

If these do not work, you may be able to root the sucker in water or with rooting hormone before transplanting it, but I don't have enough experience with that to suggest it.

Another method that I believe would propagate your Royal Empress is to simply cut a small piece of root and plant it. Pam Pierce describes this method here, while also discouraging propagating this plant in North America.

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