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Audubon® Smooth Sumac
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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.
May Benefit & Attract: Thrushes, waxwings, wood warblers, finches, mockingbirds & thrashers, chickadees & titmice, orioles, cardinals & grosbeaks, crows & jays, sparrows, nuthatches, vireos, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and wrens.
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
Size AA (2-3' tall) container grown
- Hardiness Zone: 2-9
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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.
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!
How to Grow
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.
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