Water sprouts are shoots that arise from the trunk of a tree or from branches that are several years old, from latent buds. The latent buds might be visible on the bark of the tree, or submerged under the bark as epicormic buds. They are sometimes called suckers, although that term is more correctly applied to shoots that arise from below ground. Vigorous upright water sprouts often develop in response to damage or pruning.
The structure of water-sprout regrowth is not as strong as natural tree growth, and the shoots are more subject to diseases and pests. A system of principles of pruning considers this type of shoot undesirable on orchard trees because very little fruit is produced on them, or on trees with the strong upright growth that can result from such shoots. If there are too many suckers on a tree, removing the tree and applying brush killer to control the sprouts may be the only option.
- Basal shoots, also called suckers
- Epicormic shoot, shoots that develop from buds under the bark
- Adventitiousness, shoots that develop in unusual places
- Apical dominance, dominance of the main central stem of a plant
- Coppicing a method of woodland management
- Pollarding, a pruning system in which the upper branches of a tree are removed
- Hartmann, H.T.; Kester, D.E. 1983. Plant propagation: Principles and practices. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs.
- C. A. Kaiser, M. L. Witt, J. R. Hartman, R. E. McNiel and W. C. Dunwell, 1988. Warning: Topping is hazardous to your tree's health. Journal of Arboriculture, 12(2):50–52
- Hall-Beyer, B.; RIchard, J. 1983. Ecological Fruit Production in the North. Published by the authors.
- Michael Phillips 2005. The apple grower: a guide for the organic orchardist Chelsea Green Publishing in Google books
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