It has an erect trunk, usually short, and a much ramified, disorderly, roundish, much flattened crown; the bark is smooth, of grey-brown colour, it tends to break in scales with the passing of the years.
The leaves are green, composed of 10-15 small lance-shaped, pointed leaves; in autumn they become red-orange, before falling.
In full summer, it produces erect cobs, 15-20 cm tall, formed by small white flowers; in late summer, on the same cobs, appear the fruits, small reddish drupes, covered by a slight down; the cobs of fruits remain on the tree for many weeks, standing out, in winter, on the trees, completely without leaves.
The roots of sumac American are rhizomatous, therefore produces numerous basal suckers, which is good to remove to allow a balanced growth to the plant.
The Rhus Typhina should be planted in a sunny place, although the plant can develop quite well even in areas of half shade, but does not like the full shade and in that case will not develop properly. It is not afraid of the cold and can bear temperatures even below -15°C. In particularly cold winters, it is advisable to protect the plant by placing leaves or straw at its base, so as to protect the roots and the stem from the most intense waves of frost.
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in general, the American Sommaco is satisfied with the rain, as it can bear without any problem even long periods of drought; in the same way they develop also in humid areas.
Obviously if grown in the garden you can provide them with water every two or three weeks, taking care to ensure that the soil is well dry between one irrigation and the other. If the Rhus Typhina is grown in a pot, then it will be necessary to water it more frequently.
At the beginning of spring it is a good idea to provide the plant with nitrogen-rich fertiliser, either in the form of organic fertiliser or as slow release granular fertiliser.
Rhus Typhina does not have any particular requirements as far as the soil is concerned, developing without problems both in acid soils and in soils with a high pH; in the same way it grows both in soils rich in organic matter and in very poor soils; the only useful device to allow its maximum development is that of guaranteeing it a well drained soil, so as to avoid possible harmful stagnations of water.
The multiplication of this shrub happens by seed or by cutting; it is also possible to take the basal suckers which root with great facility; these will have to be planted in autumn, whilst the cuttings in summer.
American Sommaco – Rhus Typhina: Pests and Diseases
Usually the American sumac is not attacked by parasites or diseases, even if sometimes on the inflorescences we can notice numerous aphids. For this reason it may be useful, in spring, to implement a preventive treatment with a broad-spectrum insecticide that can prevent the possible attack of parasites; it could also be a good idea to use a fungicide product to prevent the formation of fungi that could be favored by the cool and humid climate.