JessicaJean
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:33 pm
Location: Iowa

What is this type of tree/shrub?

I have a few trees (shrubs?) in my backyard that are a PITA! They kind of look like a bonsai tree in the way that they are twisted. Their trunks and branches are kind of peach-fuzzy. They have these "fruits" that look kind of like grape clusters (but are reddish/purplish and fuzzy) - not grapes. They grow new trees/shrubs almost instantly and are insanely hard to remove. They do lose their foliage in the winter.

I cannot find information on them anywhere! I have seen a couple on the side of the road here (Iowa) but it seems they may not be native. Anyone recall seeing anything like this?

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Hi and welcome to our forum. Hope you find it friendly and helpful. A picture or two would really help with identification. Here's a link to the instructions on how to do that (you can't upload them directly from your computer to here, they have to be already on line first).

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3724

JessicaJean
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:33 pm
Location: Iowa

no pics

It's winter - and the plant loses the foliage in the winter. It is impossible for me to show you what it looks like until like March.

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

See if there is a native plant society near you. Native plant enthusiasts would probably know what the tree is right off the bat, whether or not it's native.

If it's native, well...it's a native plant.

If it's not, then it's an invader, threatening their beloved native plants, and they will know its name.

You probably won't have to wait until March. If the native plant group has a website, there could be photos or links to photos of common plants in your region. :)

Cynthia

JessicaJean
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:33 pm
Location: Iowa

craigslist gardeners got the answer

Rhus typhina L.
staghorn sumac

[img]https://plants.usda.gov/gallery/large/rhty_002_lhp.jpg[/img]

https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=RHTY&photoID=rhty_002_ahp.tif

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27716
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Staghorn sumac fruits are considered a "wild edible" said to make excellent lemonade-like beverage.

MysticGardener67
Senior Member
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Lexington KY

I fielded the exact identical post

in the Craigslist garening forum. it is a staghorn sumac. Considered a valued native shrub. The seedheads DO make a wonderful leamony t that is VERY high in vitamin C. Moreso than even rose hips.

I had pair of specimins for sale at the gardencenter back in 2004. roughly 48 inch rootballs. Sold the pair for $1000. No worries, they were field grown , not wild harvested.

I personally like the smooth sumac plants. the banded stems topped with single feathery tops always reminds me of something from a Dr.Suess book.

JessicaJean
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:33 pm
Location: Iowa

Now I just need to get rid of them...

they're supposed to be ridiculously hard to kill. They must die though!

MysticGardener67
Senior Member
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Lexington KY

How so must they die, JessicaJean?

Unless they happen to be in the way of your ornamental or veggie gardens, perhaps it would be best to let them be? Granted they are not classically beautiful, I preffer to appreciate thier "architectural form"

But that is simply my opinion, it is your garden and as such are free to do as you lease.. that is the true charm of gardening, after all.

If you are insistant in removing them, the most sure fire way to do it (I expect a firestorm from the diehard organic gardeners for suggesting this) is wait until spring when the leaves are just starting to open, cut the sumac down to as low to the ground as possible. Drill a few 1/4 inch holes vertically down into the trunks, close to the outer bark and a few in the heart. Carefully pour about half a cup or so of a brush and ivy killer onto the holes taking all applical saftey precautions such as good rubber gloves, safety goggles and appropriate clothing ( not gonna actually reccommend a brand, new KY state laws prohibit reccomendation of garden chemicals other than fertilizers)

waiting until spring guarantees that the sap is flowing well in the sumac and the holes ensure that as much of the brushkiller as possible is absorbed by the tissue and transported to the roots not spread about to more valued greenery. Wait to see if the shrubs start sending out shoots, about a month to 6 weeks. If you don't see any, then you can assume the sumac are dead. If there are shoots, then you will have to start a shoot patrol and pull them out as soon as you see them. you will eventually starve the reamaining roots of much needed solar energy and they will eventually die off. THIS may take quite a while.

Got all that??? ;)

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Out of curiosity: do the new Kentucky laws also prohibit the recommendation/use of horticultural-strength vinegar?

Cynthia

MysticGardener67
Senior Member
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Lexington KY

Agricultural Vinager

To the best of my knowledge, I do not know of any agricultural practises in KY that prohibit vinager. As much lime as there is in most of our soils, anything that can bring our soil to neutral is a plus .

I will do a little research to see if anything as changed . Keep you posted.

MysticGardener67
Senior Member
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Lexington KY

@ Cynthia

To the best of my knowledge and google-ability, I have been unable to find any regualtion of agricultural vinager in the State of KY. Just use good common sense.

Ky agriculture is fortunate in that the state government is pretty much hands off on its farmers about most issues. There are regulations on the use of '-cides' and livestock operations concerning run off, of course.

They know that farmers will do what is in thier best interests. If market pressures trend towards enviromentally friendly and or organics, then that is where the farmers will trend towards without govermental meddling.

Return to “Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges”