Friday, July 18, 2008

Sumac Attack

When one hears the word sumac, automatically pain and rashes come to mind. This should not be so! I have two types of sumac in my garden I would like to share. The first is commonly known as Winged Sumac, aka Rhus copallinum. The second is called Lo-Gro Sumac, aka Rhus aromatica.

Winged Sumac is a native shrub and host to the Red banded Hairstreak. Can you figure out from the second picture why it is called winged sumac? See the wings on the leaf stem?

The second sumac I wish to share is the 'Lo-Gro Sumac', or Rhus aromatica. This shrub came to my attention when I attended a Perennial Plant Society meeting where the speaker spoke of deer resistant shrubs. This was one she recommended. Not long after I heard this shrub mentioned, Paul James, the Gardener Guy also strongly recommended this shrub. I stumbled across it while shopping at the Post Exchange and purchased it. The cool thing about this shrub besides the fact it is deer resistant, is that it grows in sun or shade and has year round interest. It is not one of those shrubs that blooms once in the spring then disappears until the next spring, like forsythia.

Lo-Gro has a nice spring bloom with attractive leaves, berries grow throughout the season and are attractive to birds, then in the fall the shrub will turn a brilliant red (or so I have read), then the low sprawling habit gives the plant a good form during the winter when it is devoid of leaves. The shrub will grow about 3-4 high and up to 8 feet wide. The leaves are somewhat citrusy smelling and that is probably why deer don't like nibbling it all that much.

So what do you think about sumacs and the sumac attack? Is this enough information to persuade you to try one or two?

in the garden....


  1. People down the street have a grouping of sumac 3 ft high with a steeple white flower, same with the post office only they burn it. I think sumac is an unusal shrub and I like the looks of it, even staghorn.

  2. I've considered adding hybrid sumacs. I believe there is a dark foliaged one that interested me. I'll check out the Low Gro, looks nice. Thanks for the link to the red banded hairstreak--that is a new BF for me.

    I'm surrounded by wild sumac. Beautiful autumn color. They produce clusters of red berries that dry well for fall arrangements.

  3. The sumac that grows wild here in Maine is probably different than the ones you have but I love it. The fall color is outstanding and I love the branches. They are just like the deer antlers when they have the fuzz on them. They esp grown well near the ocean and our little town has the longest coastline in Maine and Maine, I think has the longest or next to longest coastline in America. So we do have a lot of it.

  4. Thanks for the info Tina. I didn't know that there was any other kind of Sumac except the wild kind. Some of it is poisonous I think. I like the Lo Gro.

    Yes, Dawn & Jean it does have a beautiful color in the fall. Maine does have a beautiful coast line--one of the few.

    Roses and Lilacs, the wild Sumac with berries doesn't bother you? I heard the berries are very toxic.

  5. Good Morning everyone!
    Maybe the Lo-Gro will work in front of the Silver Berry bushes! The Saint wanted Ivy as a low growth ground cover. We planted 15 nice size slips this spring and they were growing nicely. The deer have been munching on them the past few weeks! Only two of the ivy has not been touched! Arggg, they must not like the Silver Berry as it has not been touched. So Low-Gro may be some thing we will look into at some point. No more planting with a drought though… Watering again today after Weatherman let me down yesterday. Sniff sniff…

  6. I love sumac, too. There's a great song by Ann Arborite Dick Siegel "When the sumac is on fire." I have one sweet sumac in amongst a bunch of @#$% buckthorn in the border between my yard and a natural ara.
    ~ Monica

  7. I really like the look of the foliage on the Lo-Gro. And bonus that it is deer resistant. Although I thought Rhododendruns were deer resistant and last winter mine got munched!

  8. It is quite pretty but my mom breaks out bad if she comes in contact with it. We've had a few busy days but just HAD to let you know the bunnies are bulking up in my yard again:( They've eaten at least four flowering plants down to nubs. Lots of swimming in this nice warm weather. Although today feels humid --the past few days weren't too bad. The gang is hungry --must feed them some lunch. Ciao!

  9. I really like the Rhus aromatica with it's red stems and the foliage looks variagated. Or is it the light?

  10. Tina,

    So glad you posted about these guys..I would love to have the Winged Sumac but have settled for R aromatica. I've planted it with
    V rafidulum for fall color interest and similar growing conditions! I think they are stellar plants.

    I can't believe I forgot the PPS meeting, where did the week go? Did you make it? I found the postcard on Wednesday and noticed it was on Hostas; so I don't feel bad about missing the program, but I do about missing a chance to visit with you!


  11. Hi Tina and Skeeter and everyone else since this is a commune, lol. I like the looks and description of the lo gro, may have to find a place for one, or more. I do love that fall color on sumacs and berries are something we have been trying to add in the garden for the birds.

  12. Thanks so much for recommending these and sharing so much info about them. I've been considering sumac for my yard and they do grow as natives here and would probably do well in my yard. Perhaps next year I'll add them to my slowly growing backyard hedgerow!

  13. You've convinced me but what I don't have is room. I am trying to convince Billy that we don't need a lawn at all but so far that is not working. : )

  14. Your sumac look very nice, I love those wings. I had some staghorn sumac in my old garden. Though it looked wonderful, it wasn't very well behaved! I may have some native sumac growing in my woods here. Maybe I've been too bust to notice it.

  15. I grow cut leaf sumac (Rhus typhina 'Laciniata') as a specimen tree in my front yard. It gets great fall color, needs little water and lends a kind of wild look.

  16. Hey everyone, Hope you are having a nice start to the weekend today! I have been moving the sprinklers all over the yard today! Arggg, but we must do what we must do...

    Made a cake today with peaches we picked up at the market last weekend so we are set for sweets the next few days...

    The humidity picked up a bit today but still nothing like it had been. We sure are enjoying the break. Still hot though in 90’s again but that is to expected, this is GA and it is Summer...

    Saint taking me to the Drive-in Movies tonight. Have not been there in a long time. We must go over the border into SC for the drive in. Going to see the movie Frances recommended "Wall-E"...

    Have a good weekend!

  17. I wish I could help you, but I have NO idea....

  18. Hey all! I am back to work now. I had forgotten what I had scheduled to post but now it comes back to me. The sumacs. Yes, good plants.

    Mom and Dawn, The sumac in Maine was beautiful! I saw it believe you me, and I enjoyed it all.

    Marnie, I am not sure of the sumac you are talking about, but there are many new cultivars out there now. I'd love to try the 'Tiger Eyes' one. At first I thought this was what you wanted. They are so pretty.

    Lola, The berries from these sumacs do not cause problems. I pick them all the time for arrangments. They are so pretty. This lo-gro also will not harm people. The sumac which causes problems has a latin name of TOXICODENDRON, these are not in the same family at all.

    Skeeter, Lo gro would look great in front of the silverberry-which must be growing well? The lo-gro has a somewhat grayish leaf which has a pronounced PLEASANT citrus smell when crushed. That is probably why the deer don't like it. It can get about 4 feet tall though, which would be fine by the silverberry.

    Monica, You are in Michigan and buckthorn is a problem? I purchased Fine line this year and read it is a problem in the midwest, I do hope it does not get out of hand here and have a fear now since it is growing so well for you up there. I will check out the song, I love the sumac color in fall.

    Cindy, You know there are never any guarantees with deer resistant plants and those little buggers will eat just about anything when hungry. The lo gro is recommended but probably not deer proof. It has a citrus scent when crushed. It helps against the deer.

    Anonymous, So glad you hear your summer is going well. Those poor bunnies just want to share in the bounty. Might be time for a fence:) A big one. Almost back to school time-already?!

    Perennial Gardener, No it is not variegated but does have a unique color. It is not green or gray per se, but seems to be maybe a blue green with a touch of aqua. Unique and different depending on the light. Try it out as even Paul James recommends it. You know it has to be good. Mine has been easy care so far.

    Gail, I knew you would have lo-gro. A native and deer resistant. You planted it with blackhaw? Am I right? I was out of town for the PPS meeting. Darn! I sure would've loved to go to see a program on hostas. I will for sure go in August and will remind you ahead of time. I still have your stone and a few other things. See ya then??

    Frances, The lo-gro would look great in front of your beautiful elderberry. It will grow lower and might mean losing some more real estate, but that is ok? Yes, lots of folks talking together on here and you are definitely a part of it! I will come over and visit soon. Gotta unpack and all and tend to my new plants. Lots of new plants. Sigh.

    Amy, The winged sumac planted itself and I have let it go. Maybe it might do the same for you in your hedgerow? I know it would grow up there greatly. You would love it.

    Eve, Gotta get rid of the lawn then start on your neighbors when you run out of space for all of your plants. I am about at that point. lol

    Cinj, You most assuredly have some sumac nearby in your woods so check it out. The staghorn took over did it? They can spread which is ok in a natural area but not so in a cultivated area I guess. My winged sumac grows way out back in a natural area and will be confined by the lawn mower and Mr. Fix-its garage. Which is good. Not sure if I would want it to take over. The lo gro should be no problem but it spreads eight feet easy.

    Les, I am not familiar with this sumac. Do you have a post on it? Or soon maybe. Would love to see it and learn more. Sounds great.

    Skeeter, Have fun at the drive in!

    DP, Hello!

  19. Oh darn, when you called to let me know you got home okay I meant to ask....Did the plants all make it okay and did the sheet help at all. Thanks for the great visit!!
    Best part (other than seeing all of you) was that Roger caught some fish, or maybe eating lobster. I did NOTHING yesterday and meant to cook the fish today but forgot so will do it tomorrow.
    Bet the dogs were happy to see you.

  20. Mom, Plants made it fine. Not sure if the sheet helped or not but it sure stayed put. They are a bit weather worn but will perk up once downloaded and watered. Sigh, more work to do. I was quite worried someone would steal them out of the back of the truck this morning. Mr. Fix-it and Jimmy just laughed. They were all safe and sound. I will prepare some posts. Let's see, Visit to Maine, gardening in Maine, Family in Maine, Fishing in Maine...when I am not so tired. Later.

  21. Dogs were happy, my good friend and her daughter did an AWESOME job with all the critters. I tried not to overdo it with the dogs coming home so they would not suffer problems, especially BJ because of his seizures. So far, so good. Orkin was happy to see us, haven't said hi to the birds or rabbits or fish yet.

  22. WELCOME BACK TINA. Sounds like you had a wonderful visit with your Mom. Also a great vacation. Yes, you must post about your new goodies. We are anxious to see them.

    Skeeter hope you have fun at the drive-in. Didn't know they had any left.

    Have a wonderful restful night ALL.

  23. Hi, Tina--Thanks for the advice on the sumac--I'm always looking for shrubs, and the low growing one is really pretty.

    Did you ever find a home for Compost? (sorry if I missed a post--my Internet connection has been acting up lately which limits my reading a bit . . .)

  24. Hi, Tina--Thanks for the advice on the sumac--I'm always looking for shrubs, and the low growing one is really pretty.

    Did you ever find a home for Compost? (sorry if I missed a post--my Internet connection has been acting up lately which limits my reading a bit . . .)

  25. Tina I am figuring from what you said the dogs stayed at your friends house but did not realize that was the case. But that is much better cause then they are not alone all day. Did she go over to your house for the other animals?

    Lola in some places there are Drive-Ins still We have 2 in our area. A couple of years ago Terri-Lynn and I took her 2 girls and Christy to one. They all had a great time, very enjoyable evening for all and we said we would go at least once a year but so far have not done it again. Hard to get everyone together at the same time. Kids today that have never been to one sure have missed out on a fun night.

    Glad you got to go last night Skeeter.

  26. No mom, she came up to the house three times a day and lives a bit aways. How is that for a nice friend? They were all happy and comfortable. I am trying to figure out how Link can hold it until she came in the morning but when I am here he needs to go out at 5:30 each morning. Go figure!

  27. Drive-in was great! It is located in a small town in South Carolina so a bit of a drive for us but worth it. The humidity fell and it was so pleasant sitting in the night air while watching the big screen. I actually had a chill it was so cool! They have 2 screens and the place was packed with people. About a 20 minute stand in line for popcorn but worth it! People had tables and picnics and all but since we had a bit of a drive, we just ate at home and had pop corn for dessert there! LOL

    On the drive up we past peach fields and they still had peaches growing on the trees so I guess we will be getting fresh peaches a while longer.....

  28. Sounds like a great shrub; I'd love to see pictures of yours this fall.
    By the way, thanks for the tip on moving my daylilies.

  29. Skeeter, What was the movie? I am dying to know!

    Rose, I will surely do a post on the sumac in the fall. Fall is my favorite season and I hope I get good color. Last year it was a washout due to the drought. You are welcomed on the daylilies. I am bad about moving my plants and it is best to wait, but I never can!:)

  30. Batman was on the other screen..

  31. Have you tried 'Tiger Eye' sumac yet Ms. Tina? It's not been out that long, from Bailey Nurseries.

  32. TC, This is one of the cultivars I would LOVE to have in my garden. Paul James also recommends it. If I find it I will for sure grow it. Have you posted a pic of yours? I would love to see as it must have settled in by now. It is nice to know about the leaf fall but that foliage color is awesome. Man I really have to see your garden.