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Monday, May 1, 2017

Did You Know African Sumac Has Boy and Girl Problems?

Q. I have two similar African Sumac trees. One faces north the other south.  Both are about the same age, watered and fertilized the same. The south tree almost continually puts out ground shoots while the north tree seldom does. Any ideas why?
African sumac is a cute little tree when it's small and placed close to a home. It should never be this close. Place it no closer than eight feet to the home. This tree has too many stems. Remove all of them except for three or five, never four. Odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye then even numbers.

A. Put African sumac trees in the same category as mulberry and many of our ash trees regarding their sexuality. African sumac has separate male flowers and female flowers and they grow on separate trees. This means that some trees are male, and some trees are female. The female trees are the problem.
African sumac flowers emerge during the winter months because the tree originates in the southern hemisphere. Flowers can be male or female. Trees can be male or female. Male trees do cause some allergy problems. Female trees drop their seeds on the ground and can be invasive.

            Female trees produce seed. Seed drops to the ground and germinates easily everywhere. They also produce suckers so they can sucker from the soil as well as spread their seeds. Birds like to eat these seeds so they help in dispersing them.
African sumac that is 8 to 10 years old. It has a good shape for shade but it does have some problems. A number of people who have planted them in the past have regretted it. Be careful and learn about this tree before buying it.

            African sumac is regarded as invasive in several states. In the desert, it can be invasive along natural waterways because the seed germinates easily. Nice-looking tree but I don’t care for it for these reasons.
Would of African sumac is not terribly hard and can split under a snow load when the leaves are present. They can also be quite messy.

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