Monday, November 3, 2014

Featured plant of The Day: 'Lanciniata' Staghorn Sumac

Rhus typhina 'Lanciniata' 
syn. Rhus hirta
Staghorn Sumac,  Velvet Sumac

Type    Tree, woody plant
Hardy range    4A to 8B
Height    15' to 25' / 4.60m to 7.60m
Spread    15' to 25' / 4.60m to 7.60m
Growth rate    Average
Form    Oval and upright or erect
Exposure    Partial shade or partial sun to full sun
Persistence    Deciduous

Bloom Color    Yellow
Bloom Time    Spring

The flowers are showy.

This plant tolerates drought and salt well.
This plant will grow in very dry soil.
Suitable soil is well-drained/loamy, sandy or clay.
The pH preference is an acidic to alkaline (less than 6.8 to more than 7.7) soil.

Leaf Color    Green
Fall Color    Orange, red and yellow

This plant has attractive fall colors.

Landscape Uses
-    Container plantings
-    Border
-    Massing
-    Specimen

Attributes and Features
-    Attracts birds
-    Attracts butterflies
-    Persistent fruit
-    Attractive fruit

Culture Notes
Place Sumac in a prominent location in the landscape in the full sun.  It is a nice shrub for planting in a low ground cover to display the interesting trunk and branch arrangement.  The fine-textured foliage, showy flower display and bright fall color combine to make it suitable for increased usage.

Sumac should be grown on well-drained soil, acidic or alkaline.  This shrub is often found on limestone or clay soils with a high soil pH in its native habitat, but it also grows on acidic soil. It tolerates high soil salt concentrations originating from de-icing salt applications better than many other plants. It would be well suited for inclusion in a low maintenance landscape where plants receive little if any irrigation.  Too much irrigation and fertilization can lead to plant decline. Stems are covered with a fuzzy pubescence.  Plants serve as butterfly nectar sources.  This cultivar has a beautiful lacy appearance.

Planting and establishing shrubs

The most common cause of young plant failure is planting too deep.  Plant the root ball no deeper than it was in the nursery.  In most instances, the root flare zone (point where the top-most root in the root ball originates from the trunk) should be located just above the landscape soil surface. Sometimes plants come from the nursery with soil over the root flare. If there is soil over this area, scrape it off.  The planting hole should be at least twice the width of the root ball, preferably wider.  In all but exceptional circumstances where the soil is very poor, there is no need to incorporate anything into the backfill soil except the loosened soil that came out of the planting hole.  Never place ANY soil over the root ball. If a row or grouping of plants is to be installed, excavating or loosening the soil in the entire bed and incorporating organic matter enhances root growth and establishment rate.

Weed suppression during establishment is essential.  Apply a 3-inch thick layer of mulch around the plant to help control weed growth.  Keep it at least 10 inches from the trunk.  If you apply it over the root ball, apply only a one or two inch layer.   This allows rainwater and air to easily enter the root ball and keeps the trunk dry.  Placing mulch against the trunk or applying too thick a layer above the root ball can kill the plant by oxygen starvation, death of bark, stem and root diseases, prevention of hardening off for winter, vole and other rodent damage to the trunk, keeping soil too wet, or repelling water.  Regular irrigation through the first growing season after planting encourages rapid root growth, which is essential for quick plant establishment.