General Discussion:

Sumach/Sumac


Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
Sarah23-Jul-04 08:03 AM EST 6a   
GardenGnome28-Jul-04 11:08 AM EST 6a   
Patricia28-Jul-04 06:33 PM EST 5   
bglads04-Aug-04 08:32 PM EST 6   
GardenGnome05-Aug-04 06:37 AM EST 6a   
Patricia08-Aug-04 06:23 PM EST 5   


Subject: Sumach/Sumac
From: Sarah
Zone: 6a
Date: 23-Jul-04 08:03 AM EST

I live in an older area with lots of older trees (not on my property). Last year a Sumach seeded itself in my garden, and I decided to keep it. Is there anyway to tell if it is a male/female plant at 2yrs before any blooming occurs? I've heard the female plants are very messy, and only want to keep it if it is male. Otherwise it will go off to the plant exchange next year.


Subject: RE: Sumach/Sumac
From: GardenGnome
Zone: 6a
Date: 28-Jul-04 11:08 AM EST

Hi Sarah. I believe the decision to keep your sumac would depend on the circumstances of its placement. Is it in an area where other plants are the principal focus or is it in an out-of-the-way spot where it and its offspring would be welcome? The reason I'm asking is that if left alone it will spread very aggressively underground - shoots will pop up as far away as fifteen feet or more. One edge of my yard has a line of sumac of various sizes: "newborn" to 20 feet in a line about 15 feet wide. I try to encourage their sprouting only in this area in order to maintain the "hedge" appearance. Every time I cut the grass I'm mowing sumac sprouts (which I don't mind - they're not doing any harm in the lawn). In terms of being messy, I find them no more messy than other trees, except that the wood is very weak and can easily contribute to an unkempt appearance of your garden when a stem breaks off and is left dangling. In short, I wouldn't recommend it as an ornamental in a small display garden, or if you prefer a formal, controlled setting. If you think of it as a big, tolerable weed with some redeeming qualities, and don't mind a semi-wild portion of your yard, then you can't go wrong in leaving it alone.

Cheers G


Subject: RE: Sumach/Sumac
From: Patricia (iris1@rogers.com)
Zone: 5
Date: 28-Jul-04 06:33 PM EST

And remember, it IS spectacular in the fall!


Subject: RE: Sumach/Sumac
From: bglads (bob.gladish@sympatico.ca)
Zone: 6
Date: 04-Aug-04 08:32 PM EST

Would like to revive this sumac thread again - GardenGnome seems to have a good handle on sumacs. I have a cutleaf sumac that I like quite a bit - but I constantly wonder if I'm going to have to eliminate it someday because of it's spreading habit. The shoots seem very easy to eradicate, though, so it might just have a permanent spot in my garden. I didn't realize there were male and female plants. I thought they all got those brown seed pods (at least that's what I've assumed them to be - I'll have to check them out closer). My plant is developing a few for the first time (it's a three year old plant, now) By the way, does anyone know if they are poisonous? Someone at work today was asking about poison sumac, and I was unable to say for sure if it was our common sumac shrub or not. I may be off base, but I said it was poisonous to cattle. Afterwards I got to thinking that I was way off base.


Subject: RE: Sumach/Sumac
From: GardenGnome
Zone: 6a
Date: 05-Aug-04 06:37 AM EST

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Bob. I wouldn't consider myself an expert - just sharing what experience I've had. There's a definite difference between staghorn sumac (I'm assuming your plant is a cutleaf variety of this) and poison sumac. Staghorn sumac is not poisonous. I have no idea about its effect on cattle, although we have a doe and fawn stop by regularly and they eat the tips of the sumac leaves. Poison sumac is called "poison" because it behaves like poison ivy - if you get the oil on your skin you react like you do for poison ivy. Please check out the links below...and if you get ambitious, you may be able to make some wine...8-)

Cheers G

http://www.bbg.org/gar2/topics/wildflower/1997wi_sumac.html

http://poisonivy.aesir.com/

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/staghorn.asp


Subject: RE: Sumach/Sumac
From: Patricia (iris1@rogers.com)
Zone: 5
Date: 08-Aug-04 06:23 PM EST

Sumac Lemonade: did you know that before lemons were commonly available in North America, people used to make sumac lemonade? Go to Google and type in sumac lemonade, you will find several web sites that explain how this is done. Essentially, you use the bright red fuzzy fruit to make a syrup, which is then thinned with water or soda water to produce a drink. Staghorn sumac is not poisonous. Poison sumac is a completely different plant.


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