My Stag's Head Sumach has grown in a way that takes up a lot of lawn space and casts a shadow over a large area of grass. Any ideas of ways in which I can keep the tree whilst regaining my lost lawn area?
Cut off the three branches that spread directly over the lawn, preferably after leaf fall so you get the autumn colour. Remove any remaining horizontal shoots that spread over the lawn and stop you mowing. You'll need a pruning saw. Wolf do one that is good and not expensive and can be attached to handles of varying length - short for hand work, long for high branches and hoeing heads.
New shoots should appear in spring on the branches that are left. That curving, serpentine one is very attractive.
Be warned however that sumach's often respond to pruning by suckering with gay abandon and you may well get new shoots appearing in your lawn. You can mow them off quite easily but you may also get them in your border around the trunk.
Can you lift it up little by little by staking it?
Thanks for the advice guys. I did end up staking it in the end. It may need pruning eventually but having read a bit more as Phillipa suggested, I am a little nervous about its propensity to suker like crazy. It's an old tree and its branches very brittle so one of the branches did creak and splinter a little when staked, but I think it will be OK. I've also managed to stake it in a way that retains its unusual snake-like shape - resisting the temptation to send it too far vertically. It still casts a shadow over my lawn but I can now at least get under it with my lawn mower.
obelixx. don't we just love a bit of gay abandon?
Where's Steve tgv when I need him.
Good luck with the pruning and be cautious of the sap it can be quite an irritant on the skin for some people.