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I am interesting in buying a Rhus Typhina (Stag,s Horn Sumach) but when I read some of the bad things said about them I begin to wonder if I should.I understand that they put out some roots above ground level,but I can cope with that, its when I read that the branches fall off leaving just a stick in the ground.The one I pass every day is a wonderful shaped tree & as to be expected it looks very much like a Stags Horn,Its about 15ft high by 15ft wide.I would be pleased to know how many years it needs to get to this standard.Can I read some good results about this tree from some of your readers..Thanking you in expectation..Ronsolostar

Hiya think again and then again about planting this.  It's the roots UNDERGROUND that are the problem.  The more you prune too the more likely it is that roots will escape to every part of your garden.  Not really a garden plant in my opinion.  Once established it will be very difficult to eradicate.



I don't think the branches fall off but they look like antlers in the winter. They seem to lack the fine branching that most trees have at the tips. The multiply divided leaves have a thick midrib, maybe some people think that's a branch falling off in autumn, I quite like them, I haven't got any but I might get one sometime. I think you need to accept the suckering and enjoy it. If you haven't got room for that don't get one.

I did try one out in my field but the muntjac hough it was for rubbing against, then there was nothing left and it died


I have to say I like them. The leaves are lovely in Spring as they unfurl, and they produce a brilliant autumn display. The flowers/fruit are also pretty and last all winter. Mine does sucker, but they are easy to break off, so all in all a nice small tree.


flowering rose

I have this tree shrub for over 30 years and I have few problems with it. Yes it does throw up suckers but you just re-move these and re-pot /plant or throw away and if it begins to drop its branches you just prune it to  a standing shape, it takes is a pretty tree  in Autumn and the seed flowers are striking. but plant it in the right place as the branches do hang a bit.


I removed ours and I'm glad I did, still getting suckers popping up.

Well....the advice is there.  It's varied.  

My experience is that they ....eventually.....create problems.  A neighbour  removed his many years back and has been PLAGUED ever since.  I notice the latest has sprung up in his front hedge now with suckers venturing onto the pavement.  I was lucky......a knowledgeable friend advised me many years ago not to plant a "seedling" I was given. 

One lesson I have learned is not to turn a blind eye and think these thugs wont affect you....ask those with bamboo, japanese anemone, euphorbia griffithi, artemisia, etc etc

David Matthews2

My father has a mature Rhus [20' height x 15' width] in his front garden. It borders a rockery and driveway and as I am the principal gardener (despite living 200 miles away!), it falls to me to keep it under control. Suckers abound in the light sandy-loam soil, but they generally come out fairly cleanly with a border spade applied to full blade depth. The rockery is kept trim by frequent use of secateurs. The tree itself needs use of loppers every year or two. The finches especially appreciate the seed heads through the winter months, so I generally leave off any pruning until around Easter. Fortunately it's sited well away from the house, otherwise I might have some concerns about roots entering the drains!!

If its the interesting foliage and shape your after i have a smaller variety Rhus typhina 'Tigers Eyes' which is just as beautiful and is a great feature in a large barrel or planter. Mine has been growing successfully for several years now and is a striking feature in the garden. Not much in the way of pruning is needed  and the roots are kept contained

I had one for years it looked grand untill it was damaged in the wind

and then looked a mess with suckers springing up all over the lawn.

planting in a tub sounds a good idea, because they are a handsome tree.

I think I will Pass on this one


Wise decision Ronsolstar. Someone planted one by the allotments in our village and they are an absolute nuisance popping up all over the place.  If you are confident that you can control it - then fine.  It looks nice though.

Start pruning a stag horn and it will start to sucker...if it hasn't done so already.  Eventually the suckers will show and cause problems

I can only agree with the above posts.  A lovely tree in the right situation but a real pain in the wrong one.  Having moved to a very badly neglected garden a couple of years ago, the Sumach had completely taken over...........stretching through to the neighbouring property foundations, going through the concrete wall of the pond and literally popping up everywhere it could.

Having cut it down and used root killer, I have still got the odd sucker appearing.

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