how to get rid of tree sprouts in a lawn

How to Get Rid Of Tree Sprouts In a Lawn? Darn Tree Suckers!

Tree sprouts emerging from the roots of the trees can negatively impact the grass on your lawn. They make a lawn look less attractive. They also interfere with maintenance practices such as mowing. To avoid these problems, you have to use appropriate methods to get rid of them.

Where do tree sprouts come from?

There are two probable reasons you have tree sprouts in your lawn. If you cannot get rid of the tree, tree sprouting will always be a problem in your lawn, and you will have to get rid of them frequently.

The first one is that a nearby tree is dropping seeds into your lawn, which germinate after some time.

The other probable reason is that a large tree root is growing beneath your lawn. This can be very problematic, especially when you do not want to get rid of the tree. In this case, the sprouts will always emerge.

Top 5 Tree Sucker Stoppers

How can I determine where the sprouts are coming from?

It is easy to identify the source of the sprouts on your lawn. Immediately you notice the sprouts, try pulling them out. If they are small trees emerging from seeds, it will be easy to pull them out, together with their roots. When tree seeds drop in your lawn and receive water, they start germinating. They will then harden when exposed to sunlight and begin their growth cycle.

If you find it hard to pull out a tree sprout, it is likely to emerge from the root of a tree. It becomes difficult to pull it out since it is attached to the root of the tree.

After establishing the source of the sprouts, it will be easy to get rid of them.

Dealing with sprouts from seedlings

Always check out for unwanted sprouts in your lawn frequently. Seedlings are easy to get rid of when they are still young. Just pull them out together with their roots so that they do not regenerate.

Water the area with the sprouts deeply a day before uprooting them. It will be easy to pull out sprouts from moist soils than in dry soils.

If the seedlings are more established, you will have to dig them out, and then reseed the dug areas of your lawn.

Destroy the seedlings immediately.  If you throw them in your compost pit or leave them in your lawn, they might start taking root and growing again. However, if you identify a seedling you wish to keep, you can uproot it carefully and plant it in a suitable location.

You can still decide to use herbicides if you don’t want to dig them out. This method is appropriate for getting rid of tree seedlings emerging from seeds. It should not be used on sprouts emerging from tree roots, as the chemicals may end up damaging the entire tree.

Always be careful when using herbicides, especially non-selective ones. They may kill any kind of vegetation they come into contact with. However, they are herbicides designed to kill suckers only, which grow far away from the parent plant.

Pruning the sprouts

Use a pair of hand pruners to cut the small trees close to the ground. Hand pruning will be easy and less time consuming if the sprouts are still small in size. The pruned plants will die after some time. If you leave them, they might end up overtaking your grass.

Dealing with suckers

Healthy trees will spread their roots around their trunk. And that is okay for them. However, spreading the roots on your lawn is bad news to a gardener.

If cutting the entire parent is not an option, here are some options you can try to get rid of the suckers:

Hand removal

Hand removal is easy, but it requires a lot of patience. Suckers emerge from tiny buds along the trunk and will sprout from time to time. Remove the suckers close to their point of origin so that you can remove the bud too. This might require some digging. If the suckers are still young, you can easily remove them and their buds by pulling them out. You might not completely stop the growth of suckers, but you can slow their growth by removing them as soon as they sprout.

Using herbicides

Cut off large sprouts that are too big to be pulled out at ground level. Brush an appropriate herbicide on the cut surface of the tree sprout.

Getting rid of large sprouts

Sometimes, you might take long before deciding to get rid of sprouts in your lawn, and they might grow very large.

Cutting the small tree close to the ground will be effective.

Why do tree grow suckers


Trees develop suckers in their attempt to grow more branches. This is usually a response to some sort of injury.

Suckers can also emerge when a tree gets very old and starts decaying.

Failed Grafts

A lot of trees grown in nurseries are usually grafted. There are various reasons why trees are usually grafted. These include

  • To make trees resistant to diseases.
  • To help trees adapt to various climatic conditions.
  • To preserve some rare ornamental characteristics of a certain variety.

Sometimes, the grafting may fail, especially when the graft is not appropriately matched for the variety or the size of the plant. When this happens, the plant near the base will start spreading its shoots, in the form of suckers. To know your graft is failing, the leaves of the suckers will be different from those on the rest of the tree.

Why should you remove the sprouts from your lawn?

The sprouts compete for nutrients with the grass. Your grass will end up looking unhealthy.

The sprouts can be invasive and be challenging to control. If they grow large, they provide shade to the grass and prevent it from getting sufficient sunlight.

Tree sprouts growing in lawns make lawn mowing difficult. Lawn equipment will suffer wear and tear due to the sprouts.

Some trees species such as hack berry and aspen develop a lot of sprouts than others. Having them near your lawn means that you will always have a sprout problem. If you have such trees, consider replacing them with other species.

How to prevent tree sprouts from growing in your lawn

Most of the time, sprouts develop as a response to stress or wounding. To prevent them, keep the trees around your lawn free from the stress.

A tree base can be damaged by a lawnmower, weed trimmer, or other heavy garden equipment. Wounded plants develop certain hormones that initiate rapid cell division to compensate for the damage. The hormones encourage the development of new buds and sprouts too. Some of the trees that sprout more when damaged include crape myrtles, apple, and pear trees.

To prevent tree damage, avoid mowing your lawn in areas close to trees.

Still, only buy grafted trees from reliable dealers who practice perfect grafting.

Sprouts make a lawn less appealing. Getting rid of them when they are still young is easier and less time consuming than getting rid of them when they are large. It is always good to inspect your lawn frequently so that you can identify them early enough.