Why plant Audubon® Native Smooth Sumac?
Sizzling hot fall color that will set your landscape ablaze! If fall is your favorite season, have we got a treat for you. Smooth Sumac responds to the cooling temperatures of autumn with foliage that transforms from emerald-green to raging red. Along the way, it may show a mix of green, yellow, orange, red, and purple leaves all at once. When the show is over, you’ll look forward to the arrival of songbirds, who come to nibble the red fruits on female plants in winter. Veeries, phoebes, catbirds, cardinals, flickers, chickadees, robins, and juncos are some of the many birds that enjoy Smooth Sumac seeds.
Many people are afraid of Smooth Sumac, because they confuse it with the painfully rash-inducing Poison Sumac that grows in swamps. Smooth Sumac is perfectly safe to touch and does not grow in permanently wet soil. It is found in well-drained, moist to dry sites all over the U.S.—in fact, it grows wild in every one of the lower 48 states! Smooth Sumac is a hit with pollinators when its fat clusters of greenish-yellow flowers bloom in summer. Some native bees also make use of the stems by overwintering inside of them.
How to use Audubon® Native Smooth Sumac in the landscape?
Smooth Sumac usually takes the form of a slowly spreading clump, but you can also train this Accent into a picturesque tree. Be vigilant about removing new shoots, and the plant will put its energy into making an interesting, single-trunked specimen. The nation’s largest tree-form Smooth Sumac, in Washington State, stands 35 feet tall and has a trunk eight inches thick!
Hardiness Zone: 2-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Smooth Sumac
Give Smooth Sumac a spacious, sunny site where its spreading ways will not be a nuisance. Alternately, you can plant it where it will be hemmed in by concrete barriers (this rugged plant also adapts readily to city life). Never put it near more delicate plants. Smooth Sumac is not fussy about soil, but the soil must be free-draining. After the plant is established, you’ll seldom need to water. Blasting heat and bitter cold are no problem. Smooth Sumac is late to leaf out in spring, so don’t fret if you don’t see action when your other plants are emerging.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.
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We hope you will enjoy your Audubon Native Plants, as well as the beneficial bugs, pollinators and animals that will visit as a result of your plantings!
- Bower & Branch Plant Whisperers