The Q&A Archives: Sassafras Tree

Question: Yesterday I received a Sassafras Tree that was dug up in a friend's yard. Originally it came from the Roosevelt Gardens in Gippy Plantation here in Moncks Corner, SC. It looks like a shrub to me as it is about 3 ft. tall right now. The problem is that I do not know anything about this plant and how to take care of it (where to plant, how to trim it, does it flower?, How big does it get, etc. If you could help me, I would be very happy!

Answer: Your new tree has quite an impressive pedigree! Sassafras albidum is the botanical name of your new acquisition. It's a fast growing tree reaching 50'-60' at maturity, so give it plenty of room in your landscape. The growth habit is dense and pyramidal, with heavy trunk and rather short branches. The leaves will be 3"-7" long and 2"-4" wide, somewhat oval and lobed on one side (mitten shaped), or lobed on both sides. The leaves will turn orange, then scarlet during the autumn months. The flowers are inconspicuous. It grows best in full sunshine, in sandy, well-draining soil and does not need regular pruning.

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