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Everybody loves Sassafras for its festive fall foliage. This flashy native brings a punch of color to forest edges all over the eastern U.S. But bird-lovers see even more. They know that Sassafras is a welcome sight to birds, too! Mockingbirds, cedar waxwings, robins, vireos, bluebirds, cardinals, and many others flock to the dark blue berries that form on female trees. And insect-eating birds seek out the caterpillars and other six-legged creatures that feed on Sassafras leaves. Satisfy your desire for backyard beauty while supplying valuable habitat for our struggling songbirds. Delightful!
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
Size C (6-8' tall) balled & burlapped
- Hardiness Zone: 4-9
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Common throughout much of the eastern U.S., Sassafras is a beloved member of our country’s natural heritage. A friend to birds, butterflies, and people alike, it has brought shade and shelter to people and wildlife here for centuries. In 1957, a battle erupted over the world’s largest Sassafras Tree in Owensboro, Kentucky. The highway department had the big tree slated for destruction in order to widen a road, but the lady of the house on whose property the tree grew had other ideas. She emerged with a loaded shotgun, and after a long standoff, the state backed down. The venerable champ is now over 100 feet tall and has a trunk 7 feet thick.
Root beer was originally flavored with Sassafras roots, and Sassafras tea was a popular drink in pioneer days. As it turns out, Sassafras oil from the roots and bark of the tree contains saffrole, which has since been discovered to be mildly carcinogenic. However, the leaves contain very little of this substance, and today the powdered thickener knows as “filé” that goes into an authentic pot of Creole jumbo is still derived from crushed Sassafras leaves.
How to Grow
Sassafras is easy to grow and is a fast-growing tree in good soil. It prefers full sun and its fall color will be the best where light can reach all of the foliage. It needs well-drained soil and can tolerate dry conditions once established. In the wild, Sassafras is often found in hedgerows and will send up suckers, forming a thicket. This can happen in the home landscape, too, and will create a nice seasonal screen. If you’d rather keep your tree to a single trunk, simply pull or mow any suckers that appear and avoid wounding the trunk or disturbing the root zone, both of which can encourage more suckers to appear.
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Size C Trees:
6-8' tall, grown and delivered as balled & burlapped. The size of this slower growing tree is impressive! It is highly recommended that a professional move and install for you.
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