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Lawn & Garden

Sassafras, Sassafras albidum

Common Name: Sassafras

Type: tree

Family: Lauraceae

Zone: 4 to 9

Height: 30 to 60 feet

Width: 25 to 40 feet

Bloom Time: Spring

Bloom Color: yellow

Sun exposure: shade to partial sun

Fall Color: red, orange, purple and yellow

Soil:sandy, clay, acidic, well drained

Leaves: deciduous

Fertilizer: Vigoro Tree, Shrub and Evergreen or Miracle Gro Evergreen Tree Spikes


This beautiful fall tree really makes its best impression in the fall where its red, purple, yellow and orange color does not disappoint. This tree is not often found in nurseries, as it is not commonly propagated. This tree comes in male, which blooms more profusely and female, which produces a dark blue fruit that is popular to birds and deer. Safrole was oil from this plant that was commonly used in making root beer until it was banned by the government. Crushed or torn leaves smell like root beer.


STEP 1: Digging the hole

  • Find a location that has suitable sun exposure for your particular type of plant.
  • Dig your hole an inch or two shallower than the rootball of the plant.
  • Dig the hole twice the diameter of the rootball.
  • Scuff up the sides of the hole with a shovel to help roots break through the native soil.

STEP 2: Putting plant in hole

  • When removing the plant from the pot, check to see if the roots were circling the pot.
  • If the plant is rootbound, gently break up the roots with your hands until loosened up.
  • Set plant level, in the center of the hole.
  • Make sure the top of the rootball is just above soil level.

STEP 3: Amending the soil and filling in the hole

  • Amend the soil with proper amendments for your soil type. 
  • Incorporate 50% native soil with 50% amendment soils like garden soil, composted manure or soil conditioner.
  • Make sure dirt clods are broken up or removed from hole along with rocks.
  • Fill the hole with soils to the soil level and pack down. Do not cover top of rootball with dirt.
  • Water in thoroughly to remove air pockets.

STEP 4: Mulching and fertilizing

  • Cover the planting site with at least 2 inches of the mulch of your choice (pinestraw, cupress mulch,etc.)
  • High Phosphorus root stimulator fertilizers like Quick Start from Miracle Gro are great to use at time of planting.
  • When planting trees, a tree stake kit may be required to prevent the wind from blowing over or breaking our newly planted tree until it becomes established.

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Posted 2015-11-05T17:27:00+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL