Asked July 20, 2015, 9:26 AM EDT

We have a shrub/tree growing in our back yard and I need to know if it is poison sumac. I have looked on line and it said that it has a pink stem. It appears to have an orange pinkish stem so I am not sure. Could I bring in a piece to have someone identify it for me since I don't want to cut it down myself if it is the poison one. Help!

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

What people call poison sumac in our area is not poisonous, so no worries. (Poison-sumac, Toxicodendron vernix, is found in swampy areas and has hairless white fruit and hairless stems.)
If it is indeed sumac, it gets great color in the fall and it's seeds are a favorite of songbirds.
There is an invasive pest Tree of Heaven which looks similar, but if you crush a leaf it smells like rotten peanut butter. This is one that laughs at cutting and just grows stronger. If this is what you have, you will have to use an herbicide containing glyphosate to kill it back. You can cut it and paint it on the cut surface within a couple of minutes and it should kill back to the roots.