Home Plants Travel Entertaining Cooking Books Columns Etc.
ADVERTISEMENT

IN THE GARDEN: Smooth sumac gorgeous, but too dense for most landscaping

by Janet B. Carson | July 17, 2021 at 1:35 a.m.
Smooth sumac (Rhus glabra) is a native, deciduous shrub or small tree that forms dense thickets up to 20 feet tall over time. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

Q Can you identify this tree/shrub, please?

A It looks like smooth sumac, Rhus glabra, a native, large, deciduous shrub or small tree. It can grow up to 20 feet tall over time but easily grows wider than that. It turns gorgeous shades of red in the fall. It would not be a great landscape plant as it forms a dense thicket over time. You can see it gracing the interstates across the south.

■ ■ ■

Q My wife and I are in the process of downsizing our living arrangements. In our yard my wife has planted a large number of daylilies, most of which she acquired at Oakes Daylilies in Corryton, Tenn. Our daughter and granddaughter live in Tennessee, and we want them to have the daylilies. Do you have any suggestions about how to best prepare the daylilies for transport in an automobile?

A Daylilies are pretty tough plants. If it is possible to wait until the intense heat of summer is over, it would be an easier transplant (for plants and people). If it has to be done now, then get some large containers, dig up the plants and put the plants in the containers, adding soil around the roots. Keep them moist — not wet. I would avoid leaving them in a sealed car for any length of time during transport if it's hot outside. Plant them when you arrive at your destination, making sure to monitor water needs until the roots are re-established. If you can wait until fall, the process would be the same, but the transporting would be easier. Divide them as you replant.

■ ■ ■

Q I live in Carlisle and am retiring at the end of the year and doubling my raised bed vegetable garden (200 square feet). What is the best way to eliminate the Bermuda grass and prepare the new space? I have the soil regularly tested and amended.

A You have several options. One of the easiest and most economical is to solarize the area. We are heading into the hottest part of summer, so till the soil and saturate it with water, then cover with clear plastic, weighing down the edges to keep air from getting in. Leave the soil covered for 6-8 weeks — or until you are ready to plant. The intense heat should kill out weed seeds and many disease spores as well. If you don't plan to plant a garden until next spring, consider planting a cover crop in the fall to help enrich the site and keep weeds at bay this winter.

■ ■ ■

Q My wife and I really enjoy your articles. On mulberry weed — strong doses of Preen in the spring also seem to "help" control it.

A Preen or any other registered pre-emergent herbicide will definitely help with mulberry weed, since it is an annual weed. You just need to read and follow label directions when using herbicides. If you are planting flowers or vegetables from seed, it isn't a good idea to use a pre-emergent because it can inhibit seeds in general from germinating.

■ ■ ■

Q My hydrangeas were really beautiful until the power company came through and cut the trees they were planted under. Now they get too much sun, even with water. I'm afraid they will not survive the summer. Is it possible to transplant them at this time of the year? They are not small.

A I think transplanting them now in the heat of summer would be even more traumatic for the plants. Water them regularly, mulch the roots and wait for fall to transplant. The larger the plant is, the harder it is to move in a good season, so July and August would be worse. If you could get a tree spade to dig them up in their entirety and move them into a shady area, it might be worth a try, but water still will be vital.

Retired after 38 years with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Janet Carson ranks among Arkansas' best known horticulture experts. Her blog is at arkansasonline.com/planitjanet. Write to her at P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, AR 72203 or email jcarson@arkansasonline.com

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT