Propagation can become a bad habit.

Tony Tomeo

P90804This grand sycamore has likely been here since the third day of Genesis. A few of the top branches got broken off when Noah’s Ark floated over. When I was a little kid, it was on the edge of a vacant field where road debris was dumped, and older kids rode their dirt bikes. Now it is on the western edge of the parking lot of Felton Covered Bridge Park. I write about it sometimes.

California Sycamore‘, ‘Hanging Gardens Of Babylon‘, ‘Nature Is Messy‘ and ‘Tufts‘ are some of the articles that feature this exquisite specimen. The last three of these examples describe some of the difficulties of old age for sycamores. Something that I may not have mentioned in these article though, is that such mature sycamores eventually develop root suckers.

I use the term ‘suckers’ loosely. For those of us…

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6 thoughts on “Suckers For Street Trees

    1. Thank you. It has been a while since I grew any copies of this grand sycamore; but just recently, I found a copy of another specimen of the same species here. Goodness! Propagation can be such a bad habit. Fortunately, it is still young, so does not need to go into the ground immediately. It will be happy in its can through winter dormancy. Although I am presently too busy to go anywhere, I should get back to Beverly Hills prior to the end of winter. Perhaps the young sycamore will wake from winter dormancy in a median or parkstrip nearby in Los Angeles.

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      1. It is productive on the farm, but only if limited to marketable products. I tend to grow items merely because I acquire stock for it. For example, I removed a bunch of canna from someone’s garden, and even after giving most of it away, was left with enough to plant almost 200 linear feet.

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  1. I sometimes see a tree, a crab apple usually, I think, that has loads of suckers that get cut every year with, as you describe, a resulting burl.

    I like the idea of the suckers from your sycamore winding up as street trees in another city.

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    1. Flowering crabapples are notorious for suckers (from below the graft union). I do not know why. If that is a bad habit of the most commonly used understock, another understock should have replaced it. One of my flowering crabapples is actually distressed by the loss of so many roots that suckers emerged from. (I pull the entire root if the burls get too distended.)
      Many of the street trees that Brent and I planted in Los Angeles are from here. After all, as a nurseryman, I grow trees. The first were coastal redwoods that were unmarketable. (While very young, the rooted cuttings fell over, and then grew vertically into healthy and otherwise well structured trees. Consequently, the bases of the trunks were kinked where vertical growth grew from a few inches of diagonal growth. We just buried the kinks when we installed the trees.) We wanted to see how well the species would do in that particular region. They are ‘reasonably’ happy in Griffith Park and Franklin Canyon Park, but were not so happy in the median of San Vicente Boulevard. Only a few survive. Well, now we know. Fortunately, all other trees that we planted are well suited to their situations.

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