En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 20, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Pruning, Shrubs, Trees
Title: How to deal with suckers on Flame-leaf Sumac
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


Hi! It seems you can have too much of a good thing! Our flameleaf sumac is taking over our yard. There are multiple shoots appearing in our flower beds and in the lawn. How do I get rid of the unwanted growth in a safe and environmentally responsible way? The underground root appears to be quite hardy.


The Flame-leaf Sumac Rhus lanceolata (Prairie flameleaf sumac) is described as thicket-forming, small deciduous tree. The reason it forms thickets is because it produces numerous suckers. You are in for a elongated campaign if you are going to rid your yard of this pretty nuisance. I’m going to provide you with several links that will help you understand more about your adversary.

    biology and eradication with herbicide

    a forum from gardenweb.com

    a description of root barriers

And finally, someone who enjoys Sumac; 

    in praise of sumac 


From the Image Gallery

Prairie flameleaf sumac
Rhus lanceolata

Prairie flameleaf sumac
Rhus lanceolata

More Trees Questions

Need trees & shrubs for a 2.5x45 ft. planter box in Chatsworth. CA.
August 07, 2012 - We recently built a pool in our backyard and need to redo all the landscaping. We have a planter that is 45 feet long and about 2.5 feet wide. We'd like to put some trees in this planter that are n...
view the full question and answer

Tree leaves being chewed in Austin
July 04, 2009 - We planted a Texas Redbud tree, and Monterey Oak (Mexican White Oak) in the front yard this spring and both have had their leaves eaten or chewed by something I cannot find on their leaves. At first I...
view the full question and answer

Larvae infesting Mexican white oak
December 16, 2010 - What larvae/worm would dwell and eat the inside of a Mexican White Oak? I planted one last November and it was doing great. The bark started cracking towards the bottom but the top was very full & gre...
view the full question and answer

Problems with post oaks in Milam Co., TX
October 26, 2009 - I have an old ranch in Milam County, Texas on the Brazos River with several large, old Post Oaks. Recently a few of these grand old trees have lost large branches and two have died. One has died, poss...
view the full question and answer

Location of pine trees for a wedding site in Grapevine TX
April 30, 2014 - Okay, I know this is a long shot. My daughter is getting married in Grapevine, October 18 at sunrise. She REALLY wants to have the ceremony near pine trees. Any suggestions for locations in Grapevine ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center