Q&A: Controlling Staghorn Sumac

Question: Is there a safe, easy way to control staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) without totally destroying it?

Is there a safe, easy way to control staghorn sumac?

I want to keep its seedlings out of my lawn and garden, but I don’t want to remove the mature trees because I like their fall color.

Answer: Staghorn sumac spreads mainly by suckers, not by seeding itself. A sucker is a new stem and root system that forms from a bud on the stem or root of an existing plant. Staghorn sumac needs a sunny site and well-drained soil that is not high in fertility or organic matter. Overly rich soil causes soft, succulent growth, encourages suckering and results in poor fall color.

Weekly mowing safely controls sumac that makes its way into the lawn. As for that which invades the garden, you’ll have to snap off shoots of suckers and pull any seedlings by hand.

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