Pruning. 'A sucker born every minute'

I was cutting out the suckers from my Grenada pomegranate, trying to decide if I should leave one or two suckers, to create new canes. And I started thinking . . . 'Why do plants make suckers, if they are rather unproductive, and sap strength from the plant?'
Does anyone know?

Also. If I leave one or two suckers, to replace older damaged trunks . . . should I cut them off at a particular height? Where I want them to start branching out?

This pom is trained as a shrub with several ‘canes’. (I really haven’t known the best way to prune them . . . and have just been doing the best I can, using common sense. So, I use the term ‘trained’, lightly!) I tried to save the suckers that seemed to be in an advantageously ‘clearer’ spot, and steered clear of those growing off of other branches.

Is this the right method?

Trees make suckers as one means of reproduction, so they serve a useful purpose in nature. My guess is the formation of suckers involves a lot of processes, including hormonal. In apples, suckers can be controlled with the hormone NAA.

I don’t know anything about poms, so have no idea how to prune or train them.

Olpea I think maybe Kiki means to say water sprouts, not suckers as they seem to be coming from mature branches and not the ground.

Kiki, I’m not an expert on poms either, but with fruit shrubs it is usually necessary to cycle branches as they lose productivity after a number of years- that number depending a lot on the species. For currants, I will sometimes favor a vigorous new shoot coming off an old branch but prefer rejuvination by way of shoots that start at ground level- same deal with blueberries.

I’m sure one of our west coast members can give you more definitive info regarding pomegranates.

In regards to the purpose- water sprouts and suckers are both juvenile wood. Often they don’t bear fruit for a year or few, during which they grow with a great deal more vigor than mature wood. This can help a tree close off the canopy to competition more quickly as well as provide more energy to the roots, feeding more vigor. When old trees collapse in the forest, they often send up suckers from the roots. This is a race for sky.


I like that . . . a race for the sky.
Alan, you were correct. I thought that both were called suckers . . . but I was mainly referring to what, I now know, are ‘water sprouts’. I took all of them out. Especially the ones that were growing straight up, through the center of the tree. (I made garden stakes out of them! It will be pretty funny if they root on their own!)
I kept a couple, that were positioned in good places, so that they could mature to fruit.