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Q: How do I get rid of all the Crepe Myrtle and Bradford Pear suckers that are coming up around these trees?

A: In brief, cut the crepe myrtle and Bradford pear suckers at the base of the tree with some sharp pruners as close to the ground as possible during the summer. If the suckers are from a tree you recently have cut down, keep mowing them down before they have a chance to leaf out.

Crepe myrtles: Crepe myrtle trees are beautiful during their flowering season and are a great addition to your landscape when planted in the right location. Recall our past columns about planting the right tree in the right place. There is also confusion about how to prune and shape a crepe myrtle. This often results in “crepe murder.” These plants should be considered as trees and pruned properly. UT recommends pruning them in March to help shape the tree for summer growing. Please check out this UT Institute of Agriculture webpage that outlines the proper pruning method with a link to a video from the PBS show “The Family Plot”: https://bess.tennessee.edu/proper-crape-myrtle-pruning/.

Bradford pears: There are many opinions on growing Bradford pears. Due to their invasive nature, some states are considering a ban on the sale of these trees. However, if you do have Bradford pears in your landscape, check out this website that will help you shape them and hopefully keep them from splitting and breaking as they get older, as these trees are prone to do: https://thrivingyard.com/prevent-bradford-pear-tree-splitting/.

We hope this information is helpful and keeps your landscape sucker-free.

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About the Master Gardener Program

The Master Gardener Program is offered by the University of Tennessee Extension. The purpose of the Master Gardener program is to train people as horticultural-educated volunteers. These volunteers work in partnership with the local Extension office in their counties to expand educational outreach, providing home gardeners with researched-based information.

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