Suckers and Bands on Fruit Trees

All fruit trees and bushes are liable to produce suckers. These are not necessarily harmful. That depends partly upon whether the trees are grafted or on their own roots. Most apples, pears, plums, damsons, cherries, peaches, nectarines, and apricots are grafted, or budded, which is simply a form of grafting. The roots are provided by a stock which is of different character from the tree growing upon it. Any suckers, i.e. growths from the root, will therefore be part of the stock. They will, in consequence, produce crab apples, quinces, etc., according to their nature, not good garden apples, pears, etc. Such suckers must be removed right to the root from which they grow. If any stumps are left, these will soon throw out further shoots. Such suckers if retained will tend to crowd the tree with useless growth and sap its strength. If desired, these suckers may be detached in autumn, with a portion of root, and be replanted elsewhere to be grafted or budded in due season.

Most of the smaller bush fruits, i.e. gooseberries, currants, raspberries, etc., are grown from cuttings, layers or suckers and are, consequently, on their own roots. Suckers from these partake of the characteristics of the parent and are not harmful unless they are overcrowding the plant with growth or preventing easy access to it.

Fruit Tree Bands

Bands of grease-proof paper covered with a tacky substance are placed around the trunks or main boughs of apples and also, to a lesser extent, pears, plums, and cherries in mid-September to trap various insects which crawl up or down the trunks during the winter and spring. These bands should be 3 ft. above ground level and at least 4 in. wide. Special banding compound should be purchased to smear on these and must be renewed occasionally during the winter if it loses its tackiness. The bands must be kept in position until April. Alternatively special vegetable greases can be purchased to be smeared directly on the bark. Principal among the foes caught are the wingless females of the winter moths.

Bands of hay or old sacking are tied around the trees in early June to provide a comfortable harbourage for the cocoons of the codling moth and the apple blossom weevil. If the bands are removed in October, many of these pests will be found and can be destroyed.