Kansas State University
Smooth sumac (Rhus
glabra) is a native shrub found throughout the eastern two-thirds of Kansas. It is commonly
found along fencerows, open fields, roadsides, prairies, and dry rocky hillsides.
The plant provides emergency winter feed for wildlife. Pheasant, quail, wild
turkey, and many song birds include smooth sumac fruit in their diet.
White-tail deer eat the fruit and stems.
In rangeland, shallow rocky soils are usually the natural
site for smooth sumac stands. Without management, smooth sumac can start
invading on deeper soils replacing more desirable species. Smooth sumac spreads
by rhizomes, vigorously resprouting after fire. Repeated mowing at the proper
time can reduce smooth sumac stands. Mowing should be done in early to mid-June
when the carbohydrate reserves are at their low point.
Smooth sumac is a relatively easy plant to control with
herbicides. The optimum time to spray smooth sumac is during the flowering and
seed production stage. This timeframe corresponds to increasing food reserves
in the root/crown of the species.
A number of foliar-applied herbicides, including triclopyr
(Remedy Ultra), picloram + 2,4-D (Grazon P+D), triclopyr + 2,4-D (Crossbow),
and triclopyr + fluroxypyr (PastureGard), will control smooth sumac.
Appropriate rates can be found on those labels. The cheapest and also a very
effective herbicide to use is 2,4-D amine or low volatile ester applied at 2-4
pint/acre. Ground applications of 2,4-D should be made in 10-20 gallons/acre
total spray solution. There is no waiting period for beef or non-lactating
animals grazing areas sprayed with 2,4-D. However, do not allow dairy animals
to graze treated areas within 7 days of application.
Soil applied materials, such as Spike 20P (tebuthiuron) and
Pronone Power Pellets (hexazinone), can provide control of smooth sumac. Spike
20P should be applied during the dormant season at 0.75 ounces product per 100
square feet. This is equivalent to 20 pounds of product per acre. Pronone Power
Pellets should be applied when the soil is moist and rainfall is expected
within 2 weeks of application. For plants 3-6 feet tall apply 2-4 pellets at
the base of the plant. Expect to see grass damage following use of Pronone
Power Pellets. These dry soil-applied products may be useful in areas where
spray drift may cause considerable non-target damage.
-- Walt Fick, Rangeland Management Specialist