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Flame Leaf Sumac - Rhus Lanceolata
The Flame Leaf Sumac Tree is a small deciduous tree prized for its unique fall foliage. Its alternate leaves turn from bright green to deep purple/red and autumn which makes it ideal to use for textural contrast amongst taller shade tree varieties. The Flame Leaf Sumac Tree does not require a significant amount of water and prefers dry soil. It is heat tolerant and is especially attractive to grouse and pheasants who survive off its fruit in the winter. It grows well in clay, sand, and loam.
Sumac plants, not to be confused with their cousin poison sumac, are a wonderful choice for beautiful fall foliage while also preventing soil erosion. If you have an ample amount of space and are looking to fill it with bright, bold colors, sumac plants make the perfect candidate. Also, these plants provide an excellent source of pollen and nectar for bees and other insects.
Sumac plants and trees come in many varieties. The versatility of these plants allows them to thrive in almost any soil if it is well drained. Once the plant is well established, it can also tolerate small periods of drought. They do well in full sunlight but are also tolerant to shade. However, the prairie sumac will produce better flowers and color if grown in full sun. These are high plants and survive best in cold temperatures. In fact, The U.S. Department of Agriculture determined hardiness zones of 3-8 for most sumac species, with some species in the 9-10 zone as well.
Mature height for these plants depends on the species but ranges from two feet to an astounding 50 feet. The most common sumac species for landscaping are the smooth sumac and staghorn sumac. Each of these trees grows to be about 10-15 feet tall with comparable width. Growth rates vary with each type of sumac, but these plants grow pretty quickly. One of the slower growing species is the fragrant sumac, which is a shrub.
As previously mentioned, sumac is a good choice for foliage, but it can also be useful in many other ways depending on the species. The shrubbing staghorn and fragrant sumac variety are often used in gardens as hedges, while the prairie sumac tree can be used as a yard border because of its height of 20-30 feet. The African sumac tree is evergreen and can serve as a shade tree year round. With such a fantastic variety of height, size, and color, sumac plants can bring satisfaction to any gardener.