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Sassafras - Growing Guide
Growing Sassafras albidum
The ever expanding and suckering glade of these trees at the Savill Gardens is one of the most exceptional features of this exceptional garden. In late March and April these male and female trees produce thousands of racemes of tiny yellow flowers which appear before and as the leaves emerge. Our plant at Caerhays, by contrast, grows as a single stemmed tree high above and through a clump of camellias. This prevents the root suckers and new tree forming nearby which are such a splendid feature of the Savill Gardens.
Sassafras albidum is a deciduous tree from the woodlands of North America. We also sometimes offer Sassafras tzumu which is of Chinese origin but is quite similar in appearance. The tree has a very upright habit and seems to flower best in full sun. The trunks have deeply fissured bark in S. albidum; less so in S. tzumu. The 6in leaves are elliptic or obovate and three lobed.
If you have male and female plants together rounded dark blue fruits will develop.
At Savill the trees grow to 50 or 60ft. With us rather less.
Propagation is most easily achieved by severing a suckering root shoot and then leaving it until it has developed enough root of its own to be carefully lifted and moved.