Removing the tops of tobacco plants removes the dominant influence of the terminal shoot over lateral shoots or "suckers." If left unchecked, suckers can severely reduce yield and quality of tobacco. Manual control of suckers has almost totally given way to less expensive and more efficient chemical control. Three types of chemical sprays for controlling sucker growth on tobacco plants are:
- Systemic--These chemicals are absorbed by plants and move inside the plant to active growth sites,
Contact--These chemicals are not absorbed by plants and must be used so as to contact the suckers directly.
Local systemic--This chemical runs down the stalk and is absorbed by the suckers.
Topping times and application methods for the 3 types of chemicals differ and are discussed separately.
Palmer, Gary K.; Smiley, Jones H.; and Calvert, Jimmie R., "Sucker Control in Burley and Dark Tobaccos" (1986). Agriculture and Natural Resources Publications. Paper 26.