Scumpia: general guidelines for outdoor cultivation

Table of contents:

Scumpia: general guidelines for outdoor cultivation
Scumpia: general guidelines for outdoor cultivation

General characteristics of the scumpia plant, agricultural planting and care in the open field, reproduction, possible difficulties in the growing process, interesting information for gardeners, species and varieties.

Scumpia (Cotinus) belongs to the genus of plants characterized by a deciduous crown. All of them are part of the Sumach family (Anacardiaceae). The natural area of ​​natural distribution falls on the regions of the temperate climatic zone, which include the territories of Eurasia and the eastern regions of the North American continent. The plant is usually grown as an ornamental crop and for technical needs. Although the genus itself contains only seven varieties, only a couple of them are cultivated. Such plants serve as decoration in gardens, although in our localities this representative of the flora is often found in forest belts or next to road plantings. Today there are also several varieties of scumpia, bred by the labors of breeders, characterized by rather high decorative properties.

Family name Sumakh
Growing period Perennial
Vegetation form Shrub or tree
Breeds By seeds or vegetatively (by cuttings, dividing a bush, undergrowth from a stump or layering)
Open ground transplant terms Spring (mid-April) autumn (mid-October)
Landing rules Not closer than 0.5-1 m to each other in group landings
Soil for scumpia Well-drained, loose, lightly breathable loam, lime content is encouraged
Soil acidity values, pH 6, 5-7 (normal) or higher 7 (alkaline)
Illumination level A sunny place is better, but partial shade may work.
Humidity level Drought tolerant, but moderate regular watering is recommended
Special care rules Does not tolerate waterlogged soil, top dressing 1-2 times during the growing season
Height options 2-5 m
Flowering period May June
Type of inflorescences or flowers Panicle terminal inflorescences
Color of flowers, pedicels Yellowish green in flowers, pedicels are yellow, orange, purple or violet
Fruit type Oblong drupes
Fruit color Black
The timing of fruit ripening July to October
Decorative period Summer-autumn
Application in landscape design As a tapeworm or in group plantings, it is possible to form a hedge
USDA zone 5–8

With the scientific name of scumpia, things are not so simple, since the term "cotinus" was used by the Greeks to name olives, and most likely there was confusion here. But it was entrenched thanks to the botanist and physician from France, Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656–1708), who gave this representative of the green world the name that the wild olive was called in Greece. Because of their shape and properties, they are often called "smoky wood" or "wig wood", "leather wood", "yellow" in our regions.

All varieties of scumpia take the form of shrubs or low trees. Their height parameters do not go beyond 2–5 m, but if the plant takes the form of a tree, then it reaches only a 12-meter mark. The crown diameter is almost one and a half meters. She always has spreading contours. Young shoots are greenish, but gradually aging, the bark on them takes on a grayish-brown color and exfoliates in thin plates. Some varieties have a reddish tint of the shoots. Forking at the branches is observed from the very surface of the soil.If the shoot at the "smoky tree" is damaged, then the release of milky sap occurs.

On the branches of the scumpia, simple leaves grow in the next order, they are characterized by a solid edge or have a weak serration. Due to the leaves of oval or rounded outlines, the "wig tree" has a dense crown of wide oval shape. The color of the leaf plates can be green, dark green or bluish, but when autumn comes, the deciduous mass acquires a yellow, orange, purple or violet color scheme, which also serves as an ornament. The length of the leaf varies from 5 to 8 cm.

During flowering, which in the scumpia falls from May to July, loose panicle inflorescences form at the ends of last year's branches. They are collected from a large number of flowers growing on long stalks. The length of such inflorescences can reach 30 cm. The flowers in the inflorescences are underdeveloped - this is the characteristic of the petals in the corolla. A bunch of stamens also sticks out of the corolla. The petals are painted in a yellowish-green color scheme.

With the arrival of autumn, the flowers wither, and the pedicels begin to grow, increasing the decorative effect of the plant. Their surface is covered with rather long protruding hairs. They can take on a greenish or red hue, but there are some specimens in which it becomes orange-red or scarlet, pure red or dark crimson. It is thanks to this feature that it appears over the scumpia, like a smoky cloud, which contributed to the receipt of various synonymous nicknames.

The fruits of the yolk are drupes, which begin to ripen from July to October. The shape of the drupes is oblong, they are covered with a thin peel. Its color is first green when ripe, it becomes black, the pulp in the fruits is practically absent. The size of the fruits of the scumpia is small, they are attached to the shoots by means of long stalks.

The plant is easy to grow and even a novice gardener can handle it. It is worth planting a "smoky tree" on the site, which will act as an unnamed decoration during the summer-autumn period in the garden. At the same time, it should be noted that the age of such ornamental plantings can reach almost a century.

Agrotechnics of planting and caring for skumpia in the open field

Scumpia blooms
  1. Landing place it is recommended to select a well-lit yolk, since in shading the foliage will acquire more green shades, and will not please with a variety of tones. The proximity of groundwater is not recommended for scumpia, since waterlogging will entail rotting of the root system. For landing, it is recommended to choose a well-warmed location, protected from gusts of wind. If the bushes of the "smoky tree" are planted with thick shade, then the young branches will not have time to woody by the winter months and, as a result, will freeze.
  2. Soil for scumpia choosing is not a problem, since the plant is not capricious. But the most comfortable plantings will be in a well-drained substrate, since the compacted soil will inhibit growth. It is desirable that the soil is neutral (pH 6, 5-7) with a sufficient amount of lime (alkaline with a pH above 7). If the soil on the site has an acidity below 6, then it is deoxidized by mixing in lime or dolomite flour. When the soil is very heavy, river coarse sand or gravel is mixed into it.
  3. Planting a scumpia held in spring or autumn, more precisely until mid-April or mid-October. If a seedling with a closed root system is purchased (in a container), then the plant is planted at any time of the growing season. In the case when the groundwater is close to the site, it is better to choose a place on a hill, and lay a sufficient (4–5 cm) drainage layer in the hole for planting. It can be broken brick, expanded clay or crushed stone. A hole for planting is dug so that an earthen lump with a root system can easily fit into it, without destroying it.After laying the drainage, a little soil is poured onto it and a scumpia seedling is installed. The soil is poured to the top of the hole and is easily squeezed to remove voids. After planting, abundant watering and mulching of the trunk circle with compost is necessary.
  4. Watering when caring for a skumpia, nevertheless, despite the plant's resistance to drought, they are carried out regularly. But at the same time, the soil should not become waterlogged. If the soil turns sour, especially in the warm season, it can cause fungal diseases, although the "wig tree" rarely gets sick. When the amount of precipitation is normal, then irrigation may not be carried out at all.
  5. Fertilizers when growing scumpia, there is often no need to make it, since in nature this representative of the flora can grow on a rather depleted soil. During the growing season, you can fertilize the planting of the yolk 1-2 times, if the planting was carried out in a depleted substrate, using complete mineral complexes, for example, Kemiru-Universal. When the soil is normal, then in the spring, compost is mulched around the trunk circle.
  6. Pruning when cultivating scumpia, it is aimed at the formation of a shrub crown. If such an operation is not carried out, then the crown will gradually begin to have natural spreading contours. Pruning shoots by a plant is easy to tolerate. Every 2-3 years, until the buds have blossomed on the shoots, you can cut branches. It is recommended to carry out sanitary pruning, removing all shoots frozen or broken during the winter, or those branches that grow in the middle of the crown. When shaping the bush, it is necessary to shorten some of the branches of the annual growth. If the pruning of the scumpia was carried out very strongly, then the flowering will weaken, and will not please with splendor, since the inflorescences are formed on the shoots of the last year. With rejuvenation, the yolk bush is cut off under the stump. As a result, the root growth is growing and then it is possible to form a spherical crown. The foliage after such manipulations will become larger, and the shoots will be more branched. It is possible to form a scumpia bush in the form of a trunk, which will increase its decorative effect.
  7. Wintering for a "smoky tree" in warm regions does not require preparation, but when grown in the northern or eastern regions of Russia, it is recommended to provide shelter for young scumpia bushes. To do this, their branches are neatly pulled together with twine, and a non-woven material is thrown over it (for example, lutrasil). When such plantings become adults, they do not need such a shelter, since even when the branches freeze, they quickly recover. The base of the bush can be covered with spruce branches or dry foliage.
  8. The use of scum in landscape design. All natural varieties and cultivars look very good in a wide variety of garden styles. But if the personal plot is small, then preference should be given to forms with more compact outlines. Such bushes of "wig trees" can be grown both singly and in groups. They are decorated with mixborders of herbaceous and shrub flora. Such perennials or conifers will then be good neighbors. Rows of yellows will look good in the background of a flower garden or mixborder.

If there are slopes on the site, the soil on which is subject to erosion, then the solution will be to plant scumpia bushes in such places. Such plants will be a great addition to a rockery or a stone garden among the boulders. Due to their high resistance to the polluted city air, such plantings are suitable for city squares and park areas.

Read also about growing sumac in the garden

Recommendations for breeding scumpia

Scumping in the ground

Seed or vegetative methods can be used to produce new smoky tree plants. If vegetative is used, then you can root the cuttings, make layering, plant the shoots formed from the stump or divide the overgrown bush.

  1. Propagation of scumpia using seeds. For sowing, the collected seed material is stratified for 5-6 months. Some gardeners first subject the seeds to scarification (the process of breaking down the outer shell of the seed). To do this, they are immersed in a sulfuric acid solution for 1-2 minutes. After that, stratification is still carried out, but its duration will already be 2-3 months. After harvesting, scumpia seeds should be placed in the refrigerator on the lower shelf, where the temperature is within 0-5 degrees. With the arrival of spring, the seeds are planted in grooves in the garden bed, to a depth of approximately 1.5–2 cm. The germination rate will be approximately 50%. When the seedlings appear, they can be thinned out, and only when it grows up and gets stronger can they be transplanted to a permanent place in the garden.
  2. Propagation of scumpia by cuttings. For blanks, cutting is carried out from green branches in the period from late June to early July. The cuttings must be at least 10 cm long and have 2-3 leaves. Before planting, the lower sections are recommended to be treated with any rooting stimulant, for example, heteroauxinic acid. The cuttings are kept in solution for half a day. Cuttings are placed in a container with 20 mg of the drug, diluted in 1 liter of water. Planting of cuttings is carried out in summer greenhouses and during rooting it is required to create conditions with fog or to perform frequent spraying from a finely dispersed spray bottle. Otherwise, you can plant scumpia cuttings in pots with peat-sandy soil and cover with a glass container. Then it is required to remove condensate daily, ventilate the seedlings and water the soil when it dries. Watering is recommended to be done very carefully, since the roots will begin to rot when the soil is waterlogged. Cuttings take root within 20 days, but as in the case of seeds, not 100%. Only with the arrival of a new spring, when the frosts have passed, can seedlings be planted in open ground.
  3. Propagation of scumpia by layering. This method is the simplest. A healthy shoot growing closer to the surface of the soil is selected in the spring. In the place of contact with the soil, the bark from the shoot is removed roundly or scratched. After that, the branch is bent to the soil and pinned in the groove dug out there using a wire or hairpin. At the point of attachment, the layers are sprinkled with a substrate, and its top remains on the surface. Layering care is performed in the same way as for the mother plant (watering and fertilization). After independent root shoots are formed on the shoot, the layers at the beginning of autumn days are carefully separated from the parent bush and planted separately in a prepared place.
  4. Propagation of scumpia by root shoots. Almost every year, abundant basal shoots are formed next to the smoky tree bush, which can be used for reproduction. In the spring or early June, such young plants are dug up and transplanted to a prepared place in the garden.
  5. Reproduction of the scumpia by dividing the bush. This method is also not difficult, since in the spring the bush is excavated and divided. The root system is cut with a sharpened knife. Each of the divisions should have a sufficient number of roots and shoots to help future adaptation. The transplant is carried out immediately after dividing to a permanent place.

See also tips for self-breeding senna.

Possible difficulties in the process of growing scumpia

Scumpia grows

Although the "smoky tree" is quite resistant to diseases and pests, it can die with regular violations of agricultural technology. Among such problems are the following:

  • Wrong choice of soil. Although there is information that the soil does not play a special role in caring for the scumpia, but as the reviews of many experienced gardeners show, this can cause poor growth and subsequent troubles.The best choice would be a substrate with a high drainage capacity, the presence of lime, or a minimally saline composition; fresh neutral soil (pH 6, 5-7) is suitable, which will give the most comfortable content in the future.
  • Close occurrence of groundwater, from which there is a soaking of the root system and, as a result, its rotting. Since the skumpia is characterized by a superficial root system, planting is carried out on hills, or a high bed is being prepared, a good drainage layer is applied when planting.
  • Soil compaction, it will also negatively affect the growth of the "smoky tree", all due to the superficial root system of the plant, which will lead to diseases, therefore, the soil should, as mentioned above, be well drained.
  • Damage to young roots in the process of loosening the soil, which will affect the subsequent growth of the scump. It is required to adhere to accuracy.
  • Wrong watering regime. Despite the fact that the yolk tolerates drought well, it still needs watering. If the soil is oversaturated with moisture, especially in the warm season, this will lead to rotting of the root system and the development of fungal diseases.
  • Incorrectly selected fertilizer. Do not feed the skumpia too much by introducing organic matter or mineral preparations into the soil. Enough 1-2 times per season, taking into account the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Rodents, are the only pest for the "wig tree". Although, according to many reports, moles and vole mice are not interested in the root system of the plant, breaking through their passages, these small animals injure young roots and then the death of the entire specimen of scumpia is possible. If passages or molehills are found, it is recommended to use chemical agents or mechanical devices against pests. The first can act - Rodzhenticid Storm or Bros, the second - ultrasonic scarers, like Isotronic Ultrasonic XL-200.

Read also about the difficulties in caring for carissa and ways to solve them.

Interesting information for gardeners about the scumpia

Flowering scumpia

Although the "smoky tree" is mainly cultivated as an ornamental crop, its foliage has long been used to obtain tannins and substances derived from them. These derivatives are used in the chemical and textile industry. Deciduous pulp is used for tanning leather. "Fustik" or "yellow sandalwood" is the name given to wood of a greenish-yellow color scheme by cabinetmakers; it is used in crafts and in the manufacture of musical instruments. "Fisetin" refers to a dye obtained from scumpia, which is used in robots to dye woolen and silk fabrics, giving them shades of yellow and orange.

Foliage and branches contain a large amount of highly active substances, among which are tannin and flavonoids, essential oils and tannins, and many organic acids are also found there. These parts of the scumpia are usually brewed. The prepared broth can be used for compresses and lotions, added to baths to relieve irritation on the skin, treat ulcers and eliminate abscesses. If you rinse the mouth with such a means, then a significant reduction in inflammation of the gums and bleeding from them is noticed, the symptoms of periodontitis and gingivitis will be eliminated. If there are diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, such as poisoning or intestinal upset, then the broth is prescribed to be taken orally, it will also help with pneumonia.

Scumpia is also used in official pharmacology, for the manufacture of certain medicines, which include tannin. These drugs are astringent and can reduce inflammation and fight germs. For cosmetic purposes, due to the fact that the bark can turn yellow, it can be used instead of henna.

Types and varieties of scumpia

In the photo Skumpia leather

Skumpia leather (Cotinus coggygria)

The most popular species in horticulture. Refers to the 5th USDA-zone.The height of a shrub with rather branched shoots can be 3-4 meters, often reaching 6. The crown in width varies within the same limits, in some cases it is five meters. Its outlines are rounded. Simple leaves grow on the branches in the next order. The shape of the leaf plates can take on ovoid or obovate outlines. The color of the deciduous mass is light green, changing its color by autumn from yellowish-orange to red-crimson.

When flowering, a tanning skumpia reveals a large number of flowers, the petals of which are greenish or yellow. From them loose loose panicle inflorescences are collected. Fruits that ripen later take the form of a dry drupe with obovate contours. The size of the fruit is small. When the fruiting process takes place, the stalks begin to elongate greatly and their surface becomes covered with very long hairs. The hairs have a whitish or reddish color, giving the panicles the appearance of fluffy clouds. The species is light-loving and resistant to drought, the soil tolerates almost any, but reacts negatively to strong waterlogging of the soil.

Of the most popular varieties of tanning skumpia, the following can be recommended:

  1. Ancot grown in the USDA-zone - 6a. The height and width options are the same as for the base view. The shape of the crown is round, the shoots grow straight and erect. The surface of the branches is bare, with a reddish tint. The outlines of the leaf plates are oval. The surface of the leaves is matte, painted in a golden yellow color scheme. If the shrub is planted in shade, then the foliage becomes yellowish-green. But with the arrival of autumn days, the color of the leaves changes to orange, which becomes an additional accent. From small flowers, thin panicle inflorescences are formed. But it is during the fruiting period that decorativeness increases due to the lengthening of the stalks. Prefers a well-lit location, does not show preference to the ground, but it will grow well on an average substrate, with a lot of lime. This variety of leather skumpia is recommended for planting, both in groups and singly, can be used in mixborders from shrub plantations. It will help to anchor crumbling soil on slopes with roots.
  2. Royal Purple. Shrub intended for cultivation in the USDA-zone - 6a. The height is less than the previous variety - 2-3 m, only sometimes it reaches a 4-meter mark, with the same crown width. Its shape is compact and wide-oval. The foliage on the shoots is obovate, painted in a dark crimson-reddish color scheme. The surface of the leaves is leathery. With the arrival of autumn, the deciduous mass acquires a lilac hue. When this variety of skumpia blooms, the leather color of the petals is in the colors of a pale pink tone. The size of the flowers is small, from which openwork panicle inflorescences are collected. When fruiting occurs, the stalks elongate, and they are covered with red hairs. Landing preference should be given to a well-lit area. Frost resistance is not as high as that of green-leaved scumpia. It does not show requirements for the soil, but the acidity should be neutral (pH 6, 5-7), and a sufficient amount of lime is also encouraged. Heavy and waterlogged substrates are harmful. Used for cultivation as a tapeworm, in mixborders from herbaceous and shrub plants, as well as other garden compositions.
  3. Purpureus the owner of a purple-red color of deciduous mass and flowers in the inflorescence of this variety of tanning skumpia. The height of the bush reaches 4 m. In summer, the leaves turn green and contrast very effectively with the remaining red dense and lush inflorescences.
  4. Grace - the shrub has spreading outlines, has a high growth rate. The highly branched branches reach the height of 3-5 m.Large leaves that unfold on the shoots are soft and oval in shape. In the summer, their color is crimson, with the arrival of autumn acquiring red tones. The flowers are small, from which the inflorescences-panicles of conical outlines are collected, reaching 20 cm in length.
  5. Golden Spirit or Golden Spirit possesses a deciduous mass of golden color, later becoming a lemon-yellowish hue. When September comes, the leaves turn yellow, orange and red.
  6. Rubifolius (Rubrifolius) characterized by a shrub growth. The branches reach up to 2-3 meters in height, sometimes specimens reach 5 m. The color of the leaf plates is a rich plum-purple tone with a reddish tint, especially when the foliage is young. When autumn comes, the red color is stronger.
  7. Knockts Variety (Notcutt's Variety) - shrub with a height of 4 m, has decorative foliage of a reddish-purple hue. During flowering, panicle inflorescences in this variety of leather skumpia are formed by pink-purple flowers and hairs of the same shade on the stalks during the fruiting period.
  8. Velvet Cloak or Velvet cloak differs in low parameters. Such a bush reaches a height of only 2 m. Leaf plates on the branches of a rich color - reddish-purple, in some places becoming almost black. This coloring persists until autumn, but before flying around the foliage turns red. Flowers have a pink tone.
  9. Young Lady or Young Lady has a compact bush outline. The height to which it reaches will be 2–3 m. It is distinguished by increased frost resistance among the varieties of tanning skumpia, newly introduced by breeders. At the same time, it is characterized by a rather early flowering, which also amazes with splendor. Lush inflorescences, pink color. The leaf plates are greenish-blue in the summer months (which corresponds to the color of the wild variety); in the autumn, the color changes to a variety of tones from yellow to red.
In the photo Scumpia is obovate

Scumpia obovate (Cotinus obovatus),

which is often referred to as American scump (Cotinus americanus). This species is not as widespread as the previous one, but it is successfully grown on the territory of Russia and neighboring states (Ukraine and Moldova). It may look like a shrub or a small tree. The height of the plant is within 3-5 m, but some specimens reach the 8-meter mark. The foliage is almost twice as long in length than that of the tanning skumpia - about 6–8 cm. The leaf plates have rounded contours and are inversely ovoid. Throughout the summer, the leaves are bright green, but as soon as September comes, their color turns to fiery red.

It is usually grown precisely because of the spectacular color of the deciduous mass. During the flowering period in June-July, panicle inflorescences are formed, the length of which does not exceed 15 cm, while in the tanning skumpia these indicators vary within 15-30 cm. Inflorescences are colored greenish-red-brown. Shows high resistance to frost.

Related article: Catharanthus or growing pink periwinkle

Video about growing a scumpia on a personal plot:

Photos of the scumpia:

Skumpia Photo 1 Skumpia Photo 2 Skumpia Photo 3 Skumpia Photo 4 Skumpia Photo 5

Popular by topic