Sumac (Rhus sp.)
There are 54 species of Sumac in North America, and most of them are considered junk or weed trees and shrubs. Sumacs are very common in the wild along highways, in the medians of interstates, and in farm fields that have recently been abandoned. However there are three species of Sumac that have made their way into the ornamental landscaping field. Shining Sumac (Rhus copallina), Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina), and Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra) are small trees or shrubs that are used in certain applications in the home landscape. Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) is also used but is a shrub growing no more than 6 feet tall, so we will not discuss that plant here.

Sumac Choices
SpeciesSizeBasic Requirements
Shining Sumac (Rhus copallina)Shrub or small tree. Mature height is 12 to 18’ with a spread of 12 to 18’Zones 5 through 10, full sun or light shade in fairly poor, dry soil.
Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)Shrub or small tree. Mature height 9 to 15’ with a spread of 9 to 15’. Annual growth rate is rapid at 12 to 18 inchesZones (2) 3 through 8 (9), full sun, tolerates poor dry soil; does not tolerate shade or wet soil
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)Shrub or small tree. Mature height 15 to 25’ with a spread of 15 to 25’. Annual growth rate is fast at more than 18 inchesZones (3) 4 through 8 (9), full sun; range of soil types; does not tolerate shade or wet soil

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