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Rhus (copallinum)

John M. Englert
USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center
Bldg. 509, BARC - East, E. Beaver Dam Road
Beltsville, Maryland 20705
(301) 504-8175
(301) 504-8741 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Anacardiaceae
Family Common Name: Cashew Family
Scientific Name: Rhus copallinum
Common Name: Shining sumac
Species Code: RHUCOP
Ecotype: Cumberland GapNational Historical Park, George Washington Memorial Parkway
General Distribution: New Hampshire to Michigan and Missouri, south to Florida and Texas. Found in dry soils and thickets; abundant in old fields.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed, vegetative
ProductType: Container (plug), Bareroot (field grown)
Stock Type: 1+0 bareroot; 2+0 and 3+0 container
Time To Grow: 1 Years
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Bareroot and container plants.<br> Height: 12 to 36 inches.<br> Caliper: N/A.<br> Root System: Container plants have full, almost pot-bound, root systems; rootball remains intact when plants are pulled from pots.
Propagule Collection: Collected in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Virginia by J. Copeland on 10/11/98; George Washington Memorial Parkway, Virginia by J. Englert on 11/13/95.
Propagule Processing: Seed Processing: Collected seeds are removed from fuzzy fruit coating by either rubbing seed over ribbed rubber mats or by running through a mechanical scarifier for several seconds. Bits of fruit are then screened or fanned from seed lot.
Seeds/Kg: Approximately 125,000.
Germination: Germination has been fairly low-only about 5% maximum germination achieved.
Purity: Seed appears to be about 95% pure.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seed Treatments: Seeds are soaked in concentrated sulfuric acid (H2SO4) for 30 minutes; then they are rinsed thoroughly under fresh water. Seeds are sown outdoors in the fall, winter, or spring.

Seed dormancy: Seed germination is inhibited by the extremely hard seedcoat.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Propagation Environment: Outdoor nursery beds.

Seed Propagation Method: Pre-treated seeds hand-sown in rows.

Container Type and Volume: Bareroot plants may be transplanted into quart to gallon size containers, depending on planting needs.

Growing Media: In containers, plants are grown in woody mix (3.8 cu ft. bale Sunshine #1, 4 cu. ft. of pine bark mulch, 20 oz. Nutricote and approximately 20 oz. endo-mycorrhizae).
Establishment Phase: Sowing Date: Fall, winter, spring.

% Emergence and Date: Seeds germinate in the spring.

Sowing/Planting Technique: Seeds are dusted with fungicide and hand sown into rows (rows are 5 to 6 inches apart, seeds are sown approximately 1/4 inch apart). Endomycorrhizae are sprinkled over the seed before covering with about 3/4 inch of soil. The beds are then mulched with aged sawdust.

Establishment Phase: Sawdust mulch is scraped back in spring prior to seedling emergence. Newly emerged seedlings are monitored closely for irrigation needs. Young seedlings are shaded as soon as they emerge with poly screening at 30%. Shade cloth remains over seedlings until mid-August.
Active Growth Phase: Rapid Growth Phase: Because NPMC soil is a nutrient poor sandy loam, seedlings are fertilized from mid-April with a granular 10-10-10 once a week through early June. From mid-June through late July, the 10-10-10 is alternated with a granular urea every other week. From late July through late August the seedlings are fertilized with 10-10-10 every two weeks. Overhead irrigation is used after every fertilization. The rate of water applied is determined by soil moisture prior to irrigation.
Hardening Phase: Hardening Phase: During mid- to late summer, fertilization is cut back to twice monthly. Beginning in September, irrigation is only used in a severe droughty situation.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Harvest Date: Dormant bareroot plants are harvested in early to mid-December.

Total Time to Harvest: Generally, bareroot plants are harvested 1 year after sowing. Container plants, depending on size, will require 1 to 2 additional seasons before they are field-ready.

Seed storage: Seeds are stored dry in cloth bags or paper envelopes in seed cooler at 40§F, 35% relative humidity.

Storage Conditions: Bareroot plants are bundled into groups of 25 (or whatever is manageable), and long roots are trimmed. Root trimmings are saved for vegetative propagation use. Bundles are placed into plastic bins; roots are covered with sawdust. Bins are placed into a cold storage room (40§F) and watered as needed during the winter. Gallon size container plants are stored outside. Containers are laid on their side on weed barrier fabric, and covered with 2 layers of a microfoam insulating blanket. The blanket is secured over plants by threading a rope over the blanket between rebar anchors on either side of a block of plants.
Length of Storage: Storage Duration: 3 months.
Other Comments: Vegetation Propagation Method: Root trimmings of pencil thickness or greater are saved from bareroot harvest. Trimmings are then cut to uniform size and may be stored in a cold room for spring planting or planted immediately. Cuttings are laid into prepared nursery beds (5 row beds, same as seed beds) on a slight (3§) angle with 1/2 inch of the cutting end emerging from the soil.

Propagators: B. King, J. Kujawski and K. Davis.

Comments: Some sources recommend scarifying seed for 1 to 2 hours in sulfuric acid; we generally go with a shorter time in acid (30 minutes) to avoid damaging seed. If seed is going to be fall sown, acid scarification will be aided by natural soil activities working to break down seedcoat.
References: Brown and Brown. 1992. Woody Plants of Maryland.Port City Press, Inc.

Gleason, H and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd edition. New York Bot. Garden.

USDA, Forest Service. 1974. Seeds of Woody Plants in the United States. USDA, Ag. Handbook 450.


Kujawski, Jennifer L.; Davis, Kathy M.. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug), Bareroot (field grown) Rhus copallinum plants 1+0 bareroot; 2+0 and 3+0 container; USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center Beltsville, Maryland. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2019/09/16). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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