Is Tiger Eyes Sumac a tree or a shrub?

Bruce Hansen
last month

I have a spot for a Tiger Eyes Sumac (Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger') but am not sure if the plant I'm buying is a tree or a shrub. Online nurseries identify it as both, and some state the growth as up to 6' x 6', but others as up to 10' x 12'. I would prefer something with more or a tree habit with a visible trunk at the bottom and spreading on top.

How do I tell what I'm getting is a tree vs. a shrub? Or is it all the same, just depending on how you prune it? I've attached an example of each to show what I'm talking about. Basically I'm wondering how do I tell if the plant I'm buying is the top or the bottom.

Comments (4)

  • PRO
    last month

    It's going to be a not too tall tree that grows in dense thickets. The bottom picture, above, is a young pup.

    Bruce Hansen thanked Yardvaark
  • Christopher C Nc
    last month

    It is a slow growing dwarf selection that will be a shrub for a long time before ever making a small tree height. If you want a single trunk you will have to select and train for that as needed. The biggest factor in whether it becomes a small tree is going to be your climate and growing conditions. The local environment plays a big role in how these will grow and develope.

  • Jj J
    last month

    In my experience, sumac is pretty insistent, sending runners all over the place, including neighboring yards. If you don’t mind keeping that in line, the fall color is so very lovely. I hope your variety is better behaved than my neighbor’s was.

    Bruce Hansen thanked Jj J
  • Bruce Hansen
    Original Author
    last month

    So it sounds like it's all the same; it depends on how you train it. @JJ the nursery claims that this variety spreads less than other Sumacs but I'll keep a close eye on it.

Fairfield County's Source for Exceptional Interior Design & Service