A sucker is a plant growth that develops from the rootstock of a plant that has undergone grafting.
- A sucker grows from the base of the root of the plant at a certain distance away from the plant.
- This undesirable part of the plant should be removed to prevent it from sucking away the plant’s energy.
- Rooted suckers can be dug up and planted elsewhere.
Plants that produce suckers
- Blackberries and raspberries boast an impressive list of about 250 species, all of which reproduce via suckers.
- Other types of fruit that produce root suckers are apple trees, blueberries, cherry trees, plantain, plums, pears, pineapple, and bananas.
- In addition, several species of trees such as locust (Robinia) and elms (Ulmus) have aggressive roots that can spread via suckers.
- Other trees that reproduce using root suckers are Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus), cottonwood poplar (Populus sp.), western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) and tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum).
- Both wild species of bananas and cultivated bananas produce suckers.
- The clump of plants formed by the parent plant and its suckers is commonly called a mat. The botanical term for a mat is genet, and for a sucker is ramet.
- Banana plants (Musa spp.), with sweet, nutritious fruit and attractive foliage, have many uses in the kitchen and home landscape.
- Suckers come in three different types, but only sword suckers, or those with a well-developed root system, grow into thriving banana plants.
- Maturity generally ranges from 15 to 24 months.
A pineapple plant flowers only once and produces one pineapple. Then it dies. But before it dies it also produces offspring.
- Suckers or pups are little plantlets that grow between the leaves of the mature pineapple.
- Some varieties will produce more suckers than others, some will start earlier and others later.
- But they all produce at least a few suckers or pups before they die.
- If you leave the suckers in place you get what is called a “ratoon crop”.
- How to take off suckers from pineapple plants: Grab them as close to the base as possible, and twist and pull at the same time. They usually come off easily.
- And then plant them like you plant pineapple tops. Just stick them in the ground and they’ll grow.
- Variety name: Smooth Cayenne.
- The maturity period is 18 months.
- Farmers traditionally depend on the natural regeneration process of new plantain suckers to replace their plantain plants.
- They often remove all the suckers on a mat, except for the ones selected to replace the mother plant.
- However, with the advent of technology and other sophisticated techniques, planting and harvesting plantain suckers require fewer inputs and can be planted immediately on the field.
- Generally, plantain requires 10 to 12 months from planting to harvest.
Considerations before planting sucker
If you are planting a larger number of suckers then it makes sense to think carefully and plan the layout of the new field. To do this, you have to take into account: planting density, number of trees, shade trees, the slope of the field, and windbreaks.
Planting density refers to the number of trees you plant in a given area.
The planting density is influenced by:
- Size of the mature suckers (larger trees means lower planting density).
- Amount of maintenance you intend to do (higher planting density means higher maintenance, more pruning in particular).
- The soil fertility and if fertilizer will be applied every year.
Things needed for sucker planting
- Narrow digging bar
- Pruning shears or sharp scissors
- Container (optional)
- Potting mix (optional)
Do not plant suckers that are affected by any type of disease or pest problem.
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