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Is This Sumac? Poisonous? Or a friendly variety?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by NotMrGreenJeans on June 18, 2006 12:50 PM
This tree grows in small clusters all along the roadways here in SW Iowa...anyone know what they are? I want to dig some up and transplant them but don't know if they're poisonous or not; don't really want to find out the hard way..lol...
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by Jiffymouse on June 18, 2006 02:55 PM
i don't know, but i like it!
by melcon6 on June 18, 2006 03:07 PM
We have a lot of sumac around here too, and I've always wondered about it being poisonous. It gets a beautiful cluster of red berries on it .

So I looked it up for us and here is a quote on identifing the difference between sumac and poison sumac from the Canadian Agriculture site:

"Although nonpoisonous sumac species have leaves similar to those of poison sumac, the nonpoisonous species have red fruits that form distinctive, erect, cone-shaped terminal heads, not the hanging whitish green fruits of poison sumac."

So I think it's safe around here, do you know if those around you bear the reddish fruit??

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by NotMrGreenJeans on June 19, 2006 02:25 AM
Hmmmm...I think we're in luck..lol...I've seen the RED!! Thanks so much for the info...guess it's time to throw a spade in the trunk and be on my way...Oh...maybe I should read about when to transplant first..lol...To Jiffymouse - when they're young, they sort of form a "canopy" like you'd see in the rainforest..so beautiful!
by netwiz on June 20, 2006 02:08 AM
Just a word of warning, we had sumac trees on our last property and they can be just as invasive as the mimosa trees. It seemed like a never ending battle to get rid of the buggers and I lost every time. I'm in zone 6 so it may not be an issue in your zone. Just my 2 cents [grin]

Joanne
by woodchuck on June 20, 2006 02:09 AM
NotMrGreenJeans,

Don't get caught with your shovel by the DNR, or other law inforcement. What you are contemplating is illegal. If the leaves turn red in fall, you don't want it around, bad news.

Now, if you get it from a private landowner, and have permission, that's another thing.

We have plenty of the 30' tall variety, red cones on top, when I shake them the ticks fall out like rain, kind of odd. They spread by runners, and look nice, resembling a walnut tree, but the wood is very weak, high winds do damage to ours every year, but good wood for carving. The spread is a relatively slow process for our taller variety but nothing the mower won't handle.

Should you find your way in my neck of the woods, you can have all the sprouts you can dig up.
by NotMrGreenJeans on June 20, 2006 04:32 AM
Illegal??? DNR?? Spade? What spade? Ahem...Thanks for the info! And about that 30' tall - and ticks? Most of the ones I've seen were no higher than 30"! Must have been new sprouts then. I guess just like puppies, kittens and babies, ummm...cutest when they're little? Thanks for the invite, but don't think I'll be digging in! Cath L. [scaredy]
by NotMrGreenJeans on June 20, 2006 04:35 AM
And thanks to you too Joanne...no sumac for me! Guess I'll leave it along the highway, sigh...
by Budman on June 20, 2006 06:02 AM
That looks like Staghorn sumac, which is actually sold in some nurserys. I planted some at a few jobsites while working for a landscaper and it was used mainly for the brilliant red foilage in the fall. Nothing was ever mentioned about it being invasive (though just looking at the picture, it would not be hard to imagine), but we had the smooth bark sumac where I grew up and it was a lot taller than the staghorn variety and would send up shoots everywhere. It also made a big mess in the fall when the leaves all fell at once. Thats probably similar to the variety that woodchuch was speaking of, though we did not notice the tick infestation. Ours were in a wooded environment, so the ticks may not have been around them.
by netwiz on June 20, 2006 08:02 AM
I hope you find something else just as pretty to plant instead. I have a ton of mimosa trees for free... [lala]

Just kidding!
Joanne
by woodchuck on June 20, 2006 12:48 PM
If you want something red in the fall, easy to maintain, what about some burning bush, they are cheap if you buy bare root and in two- three seasons they will be gorgeous.
by Pianolady on June 20, 2006 05:26 PM
Hmmm...I live in SW Iowa, and seems like there's a bunch of these in every ditch. How about a nice Chokecherry tree instead? They have a nice red leaf to it, and great for the birds. Grows fast.

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by NotMrGreenJeans on June 21, 2006 12:42 AM
Howdy Neighbor!! Small world! I really didn't start out looking for red, lol. I really wanted to steal one of those "sumacs" from those ditches but have since been enlightened! I had no idea what they were! Thanks Woodchuck for the burning bush idea, they do turn a brilliant red, don't they! Now I'll go look at pics of Chokecherry too!
PS..Funny thing about this internet - its almost become "commonplace" to interact with someone from halfway around the world, but finding someone right around the corner, is, well, amazing! Thanks guys for all your ideas!!
by Wrennie on June 21, 2006 01:14 AM
Burning bush is a non native invasive species.(bad) [devil]
Heres info
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=burning+bush+invasive

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by NotMrGreenJeans on June 21, 2006 04:44 AM
Ohhhhhkay...there goes the burning bush idea...Next? LOL!
by netwiz on June 21, 2006 06:25 AM
I didn't realize burning bush was invasive. We have several and from reading the links it is becoming a real problem in PA. Most of the shrubs I have seem to be listed as invasive and I would hate to have to rip them all out. I think a call to my local county extension is in order. Thanks for the tip Wrennie.

Joanne

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