10 to 15 ft.
8 to 10 ft.
USDA zones 3-9
hardy to 8,000 ft.
Smooth sumac is a vigorously suckering native shrub with a graceful appearance. Its leaves are compound with lance-shaped leaflets. They are dark green in color, turning to bright red in the fall.
The clusters of small green-yellow flowers are not that noticeable, but develop into red, fuzzy fruit in late summer through fall, persisting through winter. Suckers can travel ten feet or more from the parent plant, and seedlings appear regularly from germinated seeds.
Smooth sumac looks very similar to staghorn sumac except the stems of the new growth are smooth rather than fuzzy.
At the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, smooth sumac is a favorite of deer to rub with their antlers or heads in fall and spring. The rubbing can damage the trunks.
The fruit is quite showy and the fall leaf color is excellent. Fall color can occur as early as late August. This plant can be quite aggressive because of its suckering and seeding habit.
If deer can be kept away and there is room for the plant to colonize, this is a hardy, nice choice for the Colorado Springs area.
Pull up sucker plants and seedlings to control unwanted colonization and prune out any dead or damaged branches.