Staghorn Sumac- Rhus typhina
The staghorn sumac is native to the Eastern United States and grows in Hardiness Zones 3 through 8. This deciduous tree is often found in shrub-like groupings with other staghorns, but can also be found growing as a single tree. The staghorn sumac propagates easily when left undisturbed, and can withstand a variety of unfavorable conditions, including rocky soil and high salt exposure.
The staghorn thrives in well-drained soil that is amended with organic matter, and grows best when planted in a location with full sun exposure. Staghorn sumacs typically reach a height of 15 feet, but can grow as tall as 30 feet in ideal conditions. The branches spread into a wide canopy as the tree matures. The staghorn sumac can be cut to ground level every four years during winter to encourage abundant new growth.
Staghorn sumac is a popular landscaping choice, as the plant produces stunning shades of orange, yellow and red foliage during autumn. The tree has a shallow root system that prevents erosion, making it an ideal choice to reinforce sloped lawns and stream banks. The tree's low, wide canopy is also suitable for creating privacy barriers and windbreaks that protect more sensitive plants.
The tree is easy to recognize thanks to the bright red, pyramid-shaped clusters of berries that appear in mid- to late summer. Like the branches, the fruits of the staghorn sumac are covered in soft hairs. During mid-summer, the staghorn produces clusters of pale green flowers that give way to the familiar pyramid of red berries in late summer and early autumn.
The fruits often remain on trees until spring. Both the flowers and fruits are found on the tips of the branches. The alternate, compound leaves have can reach up to 24 inches long on mature trees and have a tapered shape with roughly toothed edges. The leaves on mature staghorn sumacs are bright green with a pale underside, and the branches are reddish-brown.