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How to Plant Sumac Seeds

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017

Sumac grows happily in the wild and therefore needs little attention once it is established in your yard. However, it is difficult to grow from seed. Sumac's seed coat is very hard and untreated seeds can take years to germinate. To successfully propagate sumac from seed, you must treat it before planting. This will inevitably damage some of the seeds, so it is a good idea to collect many more than you think you will need.

Loosen the soil. Use a shovel to dig and turn the soil to a depth of 3 feet. One tree needs 9 square feet of loosened soil. Neighboring sumac should be planted at least 3 feet away. Remove any rocks, plant roots or debris that you find.

Soak the seeds in hot water. Place the sumac seeds in a cup. Pour enough water into a pot so that it measures roughly five times the volume of the seeds. Heat the water on the stove until it reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the heated water over the seeds. Allow it to completely cool before removing the now-swollen sumac seeds.

Plant your sumac seeds 1/2 inch beneath the soil in groups of four.

Water the soil so that it is moist to a depth of 2 inches. Continue to keep the soil moist until the sumac seeds germinate in 2 to 3 weeks.


Things You Will Need

  • Cup
  • Shovel
  • Thermometer


  • Plant sumac seeds in the fall where they can receive as much full sun as possible. Sumac will grow in any type of soil as long as it is well-drained.

About the Author


Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.