Runners and Suckers

Roots are an amazing part of the plant.

Their growth is hidden from us.

We see the plant grow and we know that the roots are doing their job underground.

The canopy of a tree is mirrored in the spread of its roots. A leafy wonder above ground and a gnarly tangle below.

But some roots simply don’t stay with their parent plant.

Some roots don’t know when to stop.

Some roots are so eager that they run rampant through the soil with seemingly endless energy. Every once and a while they pop up to see what’s going on above ground…and a new plant grows.

Then the roots on the new plant develop, get bored and off they go again.


New sea berry sucker in front of our thornless blackberries.

Sometimes we let these ambitious kids stay where they popped up and sometimes we dig them up and move them to a new location.

When I dug up this sea berry, I did not expect it to have such a vast root system. Some of the roots stretched out 2 or 3′ from the base of this plant.

It’s only been growing for a year!


Sea Berry Sucker that we transplanted in the southern swale.

We decided to transplant this little big guy to the southern swale in between an apple and a cherry tree. The roots have little white nodules all over them, which means that they fix nitrogen.

And plants love nitrogen.

In fact, they need it to survive and thrive. That’s why, if you go out to buy fertilizer there is usually an N-P-K ratio on the package. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Each fertilizer will have a different percentage of each nutrient to fit a specific soil need. Some soils have almost no nitrogen, like ours. Some have plenty and need to be balanced with potassium or phosphate or both.

We bought a little soil test kit to figure this out, but have been considering having our soil professionally tested as it provides more accurate results.

complete fertilizer contains all three of these nutrients, while an incomplete fertilizer only supplies one or two.

Why? Because some soils have plenty nitrogen or plenty phosphorus or plenty potassium which makes using a complete fertilizer harmful to the plant.

Are there other nutrients that plants need? Absolutely, but in most cases these nutrients are already present in the soil, whereas nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are often missing or lacking.

Nitrogen is missing
Phosphorus is too
Potassium is also gone
So what are we to do?

But most plants really need them
To really grow or thrive
They need us to provide them
To prosper and survive!

Pictures of a few other suckers we have running around.




Blackberries, although these need a little help. When a vine gets too long, we stick the end in the soil and off she goes!


Aronia. It takes a little longer than the seaberry, but we have a few popping up in line with the others so we will leave them to fill out the fedge.


One response to “Runners and Suckers

  1. Pingback: The Fedge, the Vineyard and the Swale | a pinch of homestead

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