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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.

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

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

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