A spreading shrub for urban landscapes – Autumn Amber three leaf sumac

Rhus trilobata Autumn Amber Plant SelectAutumn Amber sumac is a perfect ground cover shrub that can serve as living mulch, especially if you are weary of your mulch blowing away in the wind.  It brings a graceful vegetative life to sunny, wide open spaces. Autumn Amber softens the hardscape of terraced walls and rock features and brings a naturalized look to the landscape.  This is a dependable selection that establishes readily in one season with regular irrigation.  Once established, Autumn Amber will cover sizeable space, so it is a good choice for larger landscapes.

Maintaining growth that exceeds the space is a simple task.  Use hand pruners to trim branches to the desired length.  Sprucing up your living mulch in the spring to remove winter leaf litter is easily done with a leaf blower or a rake.

Fall color will vary from yellow to deep amber depending on the season.  This is an easy plant to love for its durability and easy to grow nature – add in the attractive foliage and low maintenance and Autumn Amber Sumac is sure to become a landscape staple for Colorado gardens.

View the plant profile here.

Rhus trilobata ‘Autumn Amber’
Height: 10”-14”
Width: 6’-8’
Blooms: Insignificant
Sun: Full Sun
Water: Moderate to xeric
Hardiness: Zones 4-8
Culture: loam or sandy soils

Thanks to Ross Shrigley, Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery for submitting this piece

5 responses to “A spreading shrub for urban landscapes – Autumn Amber three leaf sumac”

  1. Deb Lachowetz says:

    I am a new gardener and just planted a row of 5 autumn Amber sumac and behind them 4 yellow potentilla in a 34’ long by 6 ‘ -8 ‘ wide space.
    My question is what else can I put in between sumac and/or potentilla with blue or purple color keeping with low water care?

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      Keeping with a native, low water theme try Mojave sage, Colorado desert blue star, Autumn Sapphire, Narbonne blue flax, Windwalker big bluestem or Blue Jazz dwarf pinon pine. Happy planting!

  2. Robyn Dolgin says:

    Is Autumn Amber deer resistant? tx.

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      The Plant Select literature may state that Autumn Amber sumac is deer resistant, but there is plenty of evidence all along the foothills where the deer browse on the larger native Rhus trilobata. In town, the deer have so many other things to eat that they may not eat Autumn Amber sumac.

  3. lin says:

    chickens? will they eat this? will it make them sick?

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