Garden Care

What Are The African Sumac Tree Problems? Protect Your Plant

The African sumac tree is a favorite plant to numerous people because it is easy to grow; however, it could face some issues. So what are African Sumac tree problems? How to address them effectively?

These questions will be answered thoroughly in the following sections. Besides, my article also presents helpful tips about the planting method and a full care guide for beginners.

Keep scrolling down for further information!

About The African Sumac Tree

african sumac tree problems

African Sumac tree, or Searsia Lancea, is an evergreen tree that can endure warm temperatures. It is common in South Africa, especially in the Highveld and Bushveld regions.

Compared to the nearly same plant family, Oleander, this native plant might be a little less toxic.

This tree is typically 26 feet tall and can reach a spread scale of 5 meters. Its multi-stemmed system is impressive, assisting in erosion control by stabilizing the soil on slopes intact.

It has a wide and rounded spreading canopy, along with weeping foliage.

In the season of production, its yellow leaves are in large multitude, a group of spirally arranged and alternate leaves (unlike feathery leaves of palms).

Combined with greenish-yellow flowers, they create a harmonious and beautiful scenery. When coming across this tree, you might not forget its fragrance, a resinous scent.

What Are Some Common African Sumac Tree Problems?

Some common Sumac tree problems during its growth include the rotted root, verticillium wilt, water sucking, attracting bees, and dropping leaves.

The Rot Root

Although the Searsia Lancea plant can resist great heat or drought, it only thrives well in soil with good drainage. Due to this, many people water it too much, causing the root rot after a while.

To address this matter, gardeners must pay attention to the watering frequency and amount.

Twice a week is enough. In winter months, less water is needed, so you only need to water an African Sumac once per week.

The Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt is a type of fungal disease. It can spread over a large span thanks to wind and water, so preventative methods seem daunting.

A load of symptoms is enumerated, like stunted growth, branch scorch, or distorted leaves.

Suppose you suspect your plant is infected with this disease; cut the harmed parts immediately.

Take close notice of its root’s surroundings and remove plant debris if needed.

Root Suckers And Water Sprouts

This problem also stems from an extra amount of water. If left unchecked, water sprouts could make your tree become top-heavy, making it prone to high wind damage.

Root suckers may hinder its development by stealing necessary nutrients.

A feasible remedy is to use specialized pruning shears and cut suckers. Avert cutting leaf stumps and pruning water sprouts at a right angle.

Drawing Many Bees

A tree African Sumac attracts many surrounding bees in the blooming period thanks to the sweet fragrance of tiny green flowers. 

While bees greatly benefit garden insects, they could become a serious danger for gardeners when approaching a Searsia Lancea plant.

In other words, drawing numerous bees does not have many repercussions for the tree itself but renders annoyance to gardeners. 

They should wear protective garments, eyeglasses, and gloves to secure their safety.

Leaves And Flowers Usually Falling

In the summer, African Sumac trees will likely drop many seeds, leaves, and individual flowers on the ground, quite similar to outdoor ficus tree problems.

It also belongs to the group of deciduous trees, so its green leaves often drop a lot when the winter sets in.

These conditions are quite messy, somewhat degrading the urban landscape.

Clearing the droppings regularly is highly recommended.

This task is quite laborious, so if you want to keep the clean-up minimal, avoid growing the tree near walkways, driveways, patios, or other noticeable areas.

What Is The Full Care Guide For An African Sumac Tree?

rhus lancea tree

Here are detailed, caring tips for you to note.


As mentioned, a Searsia Lancea is a drought tolerant shade tree, so its ability to withstand hot weather and warm temperatures is quite superb. Showering it under full sunlight is not a bad idea.


Well-drained soil is perfect for an African Sumac plant’s growth. The tree could also thrive in other soils, like sand, loam, or clay soils.


Water the plant only once or twice per week. Don’t surpass this frequency to minimize the scenario of water sprouts and remember to allow the soil to dry completely between waterings.

One more thing, you should not water it too little since a lack of water also triggers  many repercussions.


Pruning is necessary to help the tree to bloom healthily and increase air circulation (or air movement) through the plants’ center.

I usually prune its withered and diseased parts once a month.


Fertilizing an African Sumac every two or three months during the growing season is recommended.

Don’t over-fertilize it, as toxic components could wreak havoc on its development and affect human health.

Frequently Asked Questions

tree african sumac

How To Grow An African Sumac Tree?

Below are simple instructions for beginners:

  • Step 1: Choose a sunny location with heavy or compacted soil.
  • Step 2: Dig a hole that is inches deep enough to germinate the plant’s seed. Use a shovel to scrape the hole’s bottom with the purpose of loosening the soil.
  • Step 3: Pour a sufficient amount of organic mulch(like compost or coconut mulch) around the tree. The layer should be 3 inches.
  • Step 4: Water the plant slowly and frequently to heighten the soil moisture.
  • Step 5: After a couple of months, when the first sprout appears, you can apply a NPK fertilizer or balanced type to facilitate the tree’s development.
  • Step 6: Prune your tree regularly with the frequency recommended above.

Removing fast-growing or straight branches from an African Sumac’s canopy would be best to see the new growth.

When Does An African Sumac Tree Bloom?

Late winter is an ideal time for a Searsia Lancea tree to bloom. Its inconspicuous flower beds are yellow-green, and tiny fruits may appear after the season.

The Bottom Line

Acknowledging African Sumac tree problems helps gardeners know more about this plant and prepare better measures to cope with these issues, especially root-related ones.

Hopefully, tips for growing and caring for the plant will come in handy sometimes, helping you a lot in the future.

Samuel Mark

Hello I am Samuel. Samuel's Garden is a garden blog where I share my experiences in garden caring and tree growth. Hope you enjoy it!

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  1. “Water the plant only once or twice per week. Don’t surpass this frequency … and remember to allow the soil to dry completely between waterings.
    One more thing, you should not water it too little since *a lack of water also triggers many repercussions*.”

    1. What *are* the repercussions of watering too little?

    “Don’t over-fertilize it, as *toxic components could wreak havoc* on its development and *affect human health*.”

    2. What is it about over fertilizing it that could negatively impact its development + human health…?

    1. Hi Pam.
      1. a lot of issues caused watering too little such as leaf scorch, leaf dropped or root damage which will reduce growth in general.
      2. over fertilizing can cause of some problems like nutrient imbalance or foliage burn. About human health, I think it may not directly impact to the human health. However, it can be bad impact to environment then make your health worse and worse.

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