|Plants for Wildlife - Fruiting|
Sumacs (Rhus spp.)
Size: 8-12' tall with canopy spread up to 6'
Fruiting: late summer - early autumn
Birds: cardinals, eastern bluebirds, purple finches, and even wild turkeys
Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) 10-15' tall/' wide. Fragrant sumac is a rapid growing, a short-lived (20-30 years) shrub, which reproduces from seed or by shooting roots. Seed production is moderately abundant, and somewhat utilized but small birds such as chickadees and goldfinches in winter. It flourishes best in average to slightly dry soil conditions, excelling in lighter soils, which make it very useful for river or lake bank cover. Full sun to partial shade is preferred, and it may not do very well in full shade. Easily grown in average, dry to medium wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of wide range of soils except those that are poorly drained.
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) 9-15' tall/ 15-20' spread. Staghorn sumac is a large, open, spreading shrub that typically reaches 9-15' tall. It spreads by root suckers to 15-20' wide or more in a cluster. Female plants produce showy, pyramidal fruiting clusters, which ripen in autumn to a maroon-brown color. Fruit clusters persist through the winter, which is attractive to wildlife. Grow in average, dry to medium wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. It is tolerant of wide range of soils except those that are poorly drained.
Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra) 10-15' tall/6-10' wide. Smooth sumac has a fruit existing in panicles. Fruits are dark red, round and hairy, 1/8 inch long. The panicles droop when mature; maturing September to October but persisting through winter when other fruits may be scarce. It does best with average moisture in full sun, but can tolerate heavier soils. Like Fragrant Sumac, Smooth Sumac is also a short-lived plant that is not tolerant of shade.
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Your local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) division of waters may be able to let you know which lake/marsh habitats are scheduled for drawdown. Drawdown wetlands often provide excellent shorebird watching opportunities.