Sumac spontaneously lay down?

Asked September 10, 2017, 12:04 PM EDT

Hi -

We have a clump of sumac in our yard. Yesterday I noticed that one trunk was leaning dramatically. It reminded me of bear damage to fruit trees, and I wondered if someone had been playing on it and pulled it down. A few minutes later I looked out and found the trunk was lying flat on the ground. At the base, it appears as if it might be the result of a natural process...? Can you tell what happened?

Thanks in advance!

Boulder County Colorado trees and shrubs

3 Responses


We need a little more information about your sumac. What type is it? Bush? Tree? Was the whole clump affected or a single plant? Has it been watered lately? Where do you live-Do you live where there is a lot of wildlife that can damage plant? Is there damage to the trunk or stalks? Did other plants sustain some damage that are in near proximity? Can you send a picture showing the plant.

Thank You

Boulder County Master Gardner desk

Hello, I suppose it is a tree-type sumac; the height gets up to say 15-18 feet. A single stalk/trunk was affected, at the base only; it almost seemed as if the bottom of that stalk rotted away. We live near 75th and Baseline, just east of Boulder. We get lots of rabbits, skunks, foxes, and raccoons in the neighborhood, with other wildlife moving through occasionally. The sumac is at the edge of a lawn that gets watered regularly; the well that supplies the sprinkler is running low, so the lawn is stressed. However, the other sumac in the area seem fine. We have never watered the trees directly. Please see the three pictures I posted with my original message. Thanks!

There maybe excess water from rain not necessarily from irrigation. Is it possible that water is pooling in this area from all the moisture we have had this spring and with the rains in August and recently? If the soil is saturated with water then the roots have a hard time getting enough oxygen which can lead to possible rotting. But it is hard to tell from the photos if there is a root issue or if the tree trunks being so close together is creating a little area for water to pool. Sumac does not require a lot of water. Remove the affected branch and clean up any rotting matter.

Thank you.