Sumac Solves Landscape Challenge Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’ Tiger Eyes Judy Archer
ecently a customer ask for my evaluation of their existing landscape. It was the original landscaping installed by the builder. It’s a beautiful home, all dark brick, facing East, sitting way back from the street. Most of the landscaping was over grown and in need of a good trim. Other parts needed to be removed completely. One complaint was that their home wasn’t visible at night, it was simply to dark. There are can lights mounted in the eaves at the front corners of the home. However, blocked by the Emerald Green Arborvitaes that had grown up into them, any chance of light was limited at best. My first thought was to replace them with Tiger Eyes Sumac. This allowed an opportunity for me to introduce and educate my client about this wonderful plant. Tiger Eyes Sumac, Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’ Tiger Eyes is a specimen or accent plant that has a light, airy, tropical feel. Its newly emerg-
ing chartreuse leaves, on fuzzy reddish stems, turn bright yellow with summer, and become orange/ scarlet in the fall. This Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac only grows to about 6 feet tall with an equal spread. It’s a naturally tidy shrub that seldom requires pruning. Its slow spread is due to its suckering habit, but the Tiger Eyes Sumac is not as aggressive as the species plant. Tiger Eyes does well in zones 4-8, prefers full sun to part shade and dry to medium/well drained soil. It is a disease resistant, multistemmed shrub with a delicate texture and medium growth rate. The July flower and then fruit is not particularly showy like the species plant. Tiger Eyes is great for erosion areas, dry soil, areas under Black Walnut trees (which is considered a toxic planting zone), and for areas in which you need a dramatic presence – ideal in my client’s situation. The bright leaf color against the dark brick would really lighten things up. Worth noting, Tiger Eyes is deciduous, standing leafless in the winter. This beauty more than makes up for this fact with showy colors in summer and fall. If you are looking for something a little different, that’s light and
Light, bright with dramatic presence, Tiger Eyes Sumac is showy and easy to grow. bright, with a dramatic presence, consider the Tiger Eyes Sumac. You’ll be glad you did.
Judy Archer owns and operates BotaniCo Landscape. You may reach her at 816-399-9883.
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