Q. My African sumac tree strips itself into a skeleton about the time it gets hot. It drops its leaves. This summer I tried to water earlier and it didn’t get as awful looking. But it is a real mess when it drops leaves.
A. African sumac is not “dry deciduous”, which is true of plants such as the Australian bottle tree. But African sumac will drop its leaves if it does not get enough water. Either increase the frequency and amount of water during the summer months or put down a layer of water conserving mulch so the soil stays wetter when it's hot. This should help reduce leaf drop.African sumac is a "messy" tree in the landscape.