A Sucker for Golden Robinias: Why Golden Robinias are a Gardener's Worst Nightmare

Ever since they became a popular feature in Australian gardens in the 1980s, the charming lemon-coloured leaves of the golden robinia (Robinia pseudocacia 'Frisia') have graced Australian spring and summertime. It is easy to see why landscapers and gardeners alike might fall in love with these pretty but rugged trees. However, despite their beauty, golden robinias can become a gardener's worst nightmare if proper care is not taken.

Golden Robinias Have a Habit of Suckering

Because golden robinias are grafted onto false acacias (R. pseudoacacia), also known as black locusts, a species of tree which is native to North America and parts of Europe, once damaged or stressed, they send out suckers. Unlike the grafted golden robinia these suckers produce trees with sharp thorns and green leaves.

Other species of robinia, such as the mop top robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia 'Inermis') are also known to sucker, causing havoc in the surrounding area.

A Disturbed Robinia Will Sucker Non-Stop

If left in peace, away from areas that are likely to result in damage to their roots, such as fences, patios, decking, and areas set aside for planting vegetables, golden robinias are as good as gold. However, once their roots are damaged, either because the soil around them is disturbed or due to nearby construction, these trees will begin to send out a never-ending stream of suckers.

These Suckers Invade the Surrounding Areas

If your golden robinia begins to sucker, the surrounding area will be plagued with small, thorny suckers. It won't just be your garden that suffers. The gardens of your neighbours too will also fall victim.

Gardening, landscaping, and vegetable growing will all become next to impossible because of these suckers. Removing them also doesn't seem to keep them at bay for very long since these suckers are not seedlings, they grow from the roots themselves. Once a golden robinia starts to sucker then, in response to root damage, the only way to stop the suckering is to remove the tree itself.

Call in an Arborist or Tree Lopper

Although removing such a beautiful tree is a sad thing to have to do, it might be the only way to appease your neighbours, and save your garden from what is likely to become a never-ending issue. Simply removing the tree may also not be enough because any remaining roots will continue to send up suckers even after the tree has been removed.

Hire an arborist or tree lopper to first poison the tree before removing it to ensure that your suckering issue is dealt with once and for all.