Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gold Medal Plant: Tiger Eyes Sumac

I notice that Tiger Eyes sumac, officially Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger' Tiger Eyes®, has been given a Gold Medal Plant Award for 2007 by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

I planted Tiger Eyes a couple of years ago in my front garden, amid ornamental grasses and Russian sage. It was an impulse buy at the nursery, one of those plants with such gorgeously colored leaves that it was simply irresistible.

My picture shows it in August when our Russian sage was in full bloom.

This sumac is supposed to stay relatively compact, growing about 6 feet tall and unlike other sumacs, it's said not to be invasive.

So far, that's true here in my Zone 5 garden. If my plant is anything to go by, it's a slow grower. Mind you, I planted it on a hill in full sun in one of the few sandy soil spots on our property – which is mostly clay – during a dry summer. It was all I could do to water it enough to keep it alive.

The shrub is still compact - just about 3 feet tall - after its second season, but I suspect that it might just take off and put on some height next year.

Here's the description of Tiger Eyes sumac from the PHS site:

"This unusual Sumac has purplish-pink stems displaying exotic cut-leaf foliage. Changing with each season, Tiger Eyes® starts out chartreuse in spring, turns bright yellow in summer, and blazes scarlet-orange in the fall. Tiger Eyes® is more compact than the species and is not considered invasive. It prefers well-drained soil but adapts well to poor soils and urban situations, exhibiting good pollution tolerance. Great for the foundation, as a specimen, in mass, or in containers, it grows about 6 feet high and wide in full or part-sun. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8."

For more information on the other PHS Gold Metal plants, click here.

Note: As this post is almost 4 years old, I will not publish any more comments or questions regarding about this topic here. If you have a question or comment, please use the contact form at my new blog.

26 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:31 PM

    I've planted two Tiger Eyes - one in the fall of 2005 and another last fall. I have no illusions and do expect them to eventually sucker, but am hopeful that this cultivar isn't overly aggressive and that I can manage it accordingly. The color, leaf shape and habit is phenomenal and sumacs are generally very hardy, so I'm looking forward to watching them develop over the next 2-3 years.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous8:12 PM

    I just bought a Sumac Tiger Eye and have clay soil. Says it tolerates drought so I've been careful not to over water but the leaves are turning black and brittle. Seems to be a sign of not enough water. With clay soil I am always afraid of over watering. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd say you should water. If it seems dry and it hasn't rained, you need to water.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous7:40 PM

    I purchases a tiger eye that is trimmed to look like a miniature tree. After research, I see that it is a schrub. Can these be maintained in a small tree shape when full grown? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous4:46 PM

    Is this type of sumac poisonous? I also purchased it in tree form.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous4:57 PM

    I just purchased one that looks like a small tree. Is this type poisonous? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. No, they are not poisonous. Y

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous11:14 PM

    I planted a small shrub size 3 years ago - Tiger Eye Sumac. It is wonderful. This year though, I see about 10 small ones growing in the general area of the original tree. I'd imagine we've mown them off in the past and didn't notice. We tried to dig them up. They have deep tap roots (I think that's what they are called?). For the 4 inch size, we dug out about an 8" tap root - 2 actually, each going in the opposite direction. My question is will these grow? I thought they were supposed to be non evasive. Any ideas will help. We live in town and I don't have space for them all.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mine are starting to spread too. One solutions is to remove the spreading tops and roots regularly, and if that's too much trouble, get rid of the whole plant.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous10:33 PM

    I live in Zone 3 but on the edge of 4 what do I do? Plant it outside or in a pot and bring it inside? It's only a foot tall now. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  11. The standard advice for plants marginal for your zone, is to layer some extra mulch around the plant after the ground freezes. If you get lots of snow cover, that also helps. Good luck, Yvonne

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous8:27 AM

    I planted 2 small tiger eye in late summer. They looked in poor condition when I purchased them, but I decided to plant them anyway. Now the leaves have fallen off as well as the branches. Is it normal for the branches to fall off and if not what can I do?

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is normal: the leaves are made up of many leaflets on a stem and in the fall these stems and leaflets fall off. Good luck, Yvonne

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous11:34 PM

    HELP!!!
    I planted a beautiful Tiger Eye Sumac late summer 08. I amended the heavy clay soil and it flourished. The leaves fell off in fall and now that we're in spring there's no signs of buds forming.
    It's facing east so it gets good morning sun but shade in the afternoon. What do I do?
    I have been looking for another plant but I can't find one yet.
    I really planted it to hide the ugly bark of a 14' tall juniper and to fill in an empty space behind an euonymus. Should I move it because it may be competing for water with the juniper?

    ReplyDelete
  15. It can look quite dead until it leafs out again. Don't give up yet. It's still early in spring. You can also contact me through http://www.flower-gardening-made-easy.com/contactus.html if you need more information.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous1:47 PM

    I have 2 tiger eyes sumac trees, about 3 feet tall. I really don't want them to get much bigger. My question is, how do I prune them & when is the best time to prune?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Anon: Is your plant growing so fast that it needs pruning? Mine has been in place for several years, and it has stayed 3 feet tall. It doesn't appear to grow much, but it still looks nice.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Help! Our one Sumac is not 30 - How can we keep it under control? We mulched around it - and love the plant except for the fact it is becoming invasive. (at least for Northern Illinois)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Teresa: If it's a serious problem, you have two options. One, cut it down and keep cutting it back to keep it short; two, dig it out and get rid of it. Keep digging if it comes back, and eventually, you'll be rid of it. It sounds like you have the species sumac not this cultivar.

    ReplyDelete
  20. We planted Tiger Eye Sumac this season and the shrubs have been beautiful. Now mid-Sept in Northern Il so no frosts yet but getting cool at night - the leaves are falling of and the trunks have turned jet black. They appear to be dying. Is this a normal seasonal thing or do I have a problem?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous11:56 AM

    What can I do about the suckers the plant sends out. Just cut them back? When is the best time of year to do that? Can the suckers be replanted elsewhere?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous10:05 AM

    hello, We planted a tiger eye sumac in 2008 this little guy is so gorgeous. hopeing it gets to its size of 6ft in a hurry. we now have about 10 babies coming up from 2ft - to 6ft away from main plant. really would like to know how to transplant these if possible, but found no website or person to answer this. would like to start a fence row with them ithink the birds would enjoy them. we planted this in front of the house in the flower garden and with the shoots coming up we are hoping to have about 5 in a row as they are just so breath taking and lots of neighborhood walkers comment on it.. if anyone can come up with the answer to transplant please let us know. place of home is 30 min south of kansas city mo., and is in black soil fill dirt with clay beneath that in full sun till middle afternoon. gets watered with rest of plants and the harsh weather of rain and snow.. so i dont think to much water effects it. just a really nice tree i guess it would be called and the colors are just awsome spring to fall..

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have just planted 4 tider eyes sumac approx two weekes ago. Two are looking fine and the other two are totally wilted and looking like they are not going to make it. Planted in nice soil--we have had a lot of rain since they were planted---should I cut back the wilting branches-to give them a chance to root--or am i just going to loose the two plants that are totally wilted. They have also had a great deal of wind since planted. Do they come from the gorund every spring?

    ReplyDelete
  24. June 2010 Note: As this post is almost 4 years old, I will not publish any more comments or questions regarding about this topic here. If you have a question or comment, please use the contact form at my new blog.

    ReplyDelete
  25. To Ros: as per the above, please contact me with your question through the form at my new site.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for visiting this site. I have a new country garden blog and I will no longer be publishing comments at this blog. If you have a question or comment about the topic here, please use the contact form at my new blog to get in touch with me.

-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener