, so named because its first-year stems are smooth, rather than hairy (as in the closely related Staghorn Sumac), is present in all of Ohio, and in all of the contiguous 48 states of the United States, into southern Canada and northern Mexico.
This is the classic large shrub or small tree that forms a colony by three methods: suckers from the base and roots, seeds from female shrubs, and the spreading and sprawling lateral trunks of this strongly multitrunked plant. In terms of hardiness, Smooth Sumac can take cold winters and hot, dry summers.
For ornamental appeal, its sympodial branching, summer flowers, fall foliage colors, and ripened fruits on bare twigs in winter are first class. It provides food for wildlife, and its quick establishment on embankments and areas with a thin layer of soil above bedrock assists greatly in erosion control.
Individual specimens of Smooth Sumac may grow 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide, but colonies have an indefinite breadth. As a member of the Cashew Family, it is related to other Sumacs as well as to Cashew, Smokebush, and Pistachio.
Planting Requirements - Smooth Sumac is geographically ubiquitous, and is best described as a shrub or tree that will invade any neglected site, irrespective of moisture, soil, and pH conditions, so long as it does not have wet soil and provided that it is in full sun to partial sun. As it is frequently seen along roadsides, it obviously tolerates salt spray in winter, as well as air pollutants. It can be found in zones 3 to 9.
Potential Problems - Other than an occasional bout with Verticillium wilt, Smooth Sumac has minor afflictions from various diseases and pests, but nothing of major concern.