I added the first sumac to my food forest right at the beginning of the project almost four years ago. Over time, more have seeded themselves here and there, likely with the help of birds.
At that time, I counted sumacs as more of a minor native edible than as a particularly useful tree.
Over the years, however, I’ve also found them to be a decent chop-n-drop plant that functions as a fast-growing mulch provider. The suckering habit of sumacs means there are always a few growing here and there, often some feet from the parent tree.
It wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized an additional use for sumacs.
I was out in the front yard, wandering through the food forest, when I heard a powerful buzzing sound overhead. At first I thought I was hearing a swarm of flies on something… but then I saw that the masses of sumac blooms overhead were absolutely covered with bees and other pollinators.
It was incredible. The variety… the activity… wow. For being such tiny flowers, they sure attracted an abundance of buzzing things.
Being the good documentifyer that I am, I sent my wife outside with the camera to capture some of the action – check out all the bees on sumac:
That kind of activity is good to see. The bees are getting fed and they’re learning to hang out on my property.
Go bees, go!