Removing a Sumac Tree from Your Yard

Removing a sumac tree from your yard can be a tricky business. Sumac trees send up sprouts if the roots are not completely removed. The trees also drop seeds. These seeds will grow if they are given half a chance, especially once you remove the parent tree. If you are planning on removing a sumac tree, be sure it is not poisonous sumac. If it is, you may want to call a professional. They will be prepared to deal with the urusiol oil that causes sever rashes.


  • Protective Clothing
  • Chain Saw (or cutting implement appropriate for the size of the tree.)
  • Shovel
  • Herbicide
  • Low Pressure Sprayer
  • Weed Wrench

Step One: Gear Up

Before you step outside, be sure you are properly prepared. Wear long clothing and sturdy boots. If you will use a chain saw, have protective goggles on hand; you do not want sawdust in your eye.

Step Two: Cut the Tree

If the tree is small, you may be able to use a weed wrench or shovel to remove the whole tree. Once the tree is out, you need to ensure that you removed all of the roots. You do not want a new tree springing up from the old rood system. A larger tree may require the use of a chainsaw. If this is the case, check your county codes to see if it is permissible to fell a tree in your yard. Some smaller trees can be cut using pruning shears. Cut as far down the trunk as you can. Dispose of the remaining tree properly. This may include taking it to the dump or having your county collect the debris. Once the large tree is gone, remove any saplings around the tree.

Step Three: Apply Herbicide

Mix the herbicide according to the manufacture’s instructions. Once it is mixed, it needs to be put into a low pressure sprayer. Again, this needs to be done according to the manufactures instructions. All of the mixing needs to be done far away from any plants you want to keep. The herbicide also needs to be kept away from any drains and water sources.

Slowly spray the herbicide on the sumac trunk. If there are no plants nearby, spray some herbicide on any visible roots and the ground surrounding the trunk. Be careful and avoid spraying other plants.

Step Four: Follow Up

You will need to watch your yard throughout the year to be sure new sumac plants don’t begin to grow. If they do, pull them out while they are sill young. You may also add more herbicide to the area, if there are no surrounding plants. You may have to fight these new trees for  awhile so make it easy on yourself and always remove as much of the root system as possible.