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  For Your Garden  

November 2009

Listen to the podcast of this information.

Fall brings a time of change for the garden. Can your garden still remain a showplace in fall and winter? If you use native plants, the answer is “Yes!” These species are adapted to the Illinois climate and caring for them is easy. Native shrubs can add height to your garden scheme. As perennials, you can enjoy them for many years to come.


  Sumac Tree

sumac (Rhus sp.)

Photo © 2009, Adele Hodde, IDNR Office of Public Services. Photo rights available for purchase.

Several species of sumac can be grown successfully in your garden. They prefer dry soil but will tolerate other conditions, too. While some species may grow to a height of 20 feet, others are much shorter. Some sumac species have large compound leaves with many leaflets. Fragrant, or aromatic, sumacs have only three leaflets per leaf, and the plants are much shorter. Sumacs are compact shrubs producing green flowers in May and June that result in clusters of fleshy, red fruits in the fall. The fruits persist in winter and add color and interest to your landscape as well as providing food for wildlife. Sumac leaves turn brilliant red or yellow in autumn.  

For more information about native Illinois plants, including where to purchase them and planting guides, the following publications are available through the IDNR order form at http://dnr.state.il.us/teachkids.

Prairie Establishment and Landscaping

Landscaping for Wildlife

Butterfly Gardens




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