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Cornus Midwinter Fire suckering

I have a beautiful clump of Cornus Midwinter Fire and have struggled over the years as to how best to deal with its suckering habit.

Previously I've taken a spade to the ground around the plants, with a hoe-ing action to chop them away; but I can't help feeling there must be a better way of dealing with the plant.

How do the rest of you deal with these suckers?

Posts

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,553
    It's well known for suckering.   I would dig up what I could and used some to create a winter shrubbery in a far corner of the garden.  In this new - to us - garden, I shall be planting 3 cornus alba sibirica because their red stems are far more strongly coloured and whilst they self layer they don't run mad.

    There will be no Midwinter Fires trying to make a takeover bid.   I do accept that moving house is a bit radical and losing the MFs was not a motivator.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks. Though I am rather hoping for solutions or alternative methods that will enable me to retain the Midwinter Fire.


  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,531
    No direct experience because although I do have one and it is suckering, I actually want it to. But in principle, chopping through the runner as you have been is probably always going to be necessary - take them off as close to the main stem as you can - so you may need to rootle a bit more than you have been doing. The RHS recommed tearing the shoots off rather than cutting them, as that removes buds at the stem where next year's suckers will otherwise form.

    You may be able to confine it to some extent by putting in a root barrier. I'm not sure how deep it would need to be, but you could work that out by excavating around the main plants before you cut the suckering shoots. Unearth those, cut through them, then put a continuous barrier into the ground which is at least twice the depth of the deepest shoot.
    If they aren't very deep, you could cut the bottom out of a big plastic pot and bury it around the plant when you do the spring prune. In theory you can use a polythene sheet but if the roots are 'strong' they may just punch through it.
    You generally should have a few inches of your barrier proud of the soil level so you can see and snip off any shoots trying to go over.

    I'm not sure if it works with cornus, but some shrubs sucker less if you bury them deeper, so you could build a small raised bed around the plant, taking the foundation layer down below the soil level and then building up the soil around the plant's roots.

    Or you could just dig up the rooted suckers every year and sell them at a car boot sale for £5 a go  :)
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Interesting, Raisingirl. Do you have any photos of your own fully suckered example please?
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