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The question: We live on the crest of a hill, below which are various trees and shrubs that seem to grow wild, including a sumac. Although we like the look of it, it's a constant battle keeping it off our lawn: The roots and shoots are everywhere, especially this year for some reason.

Is there a way to stop or contain the spread?

The answer: Sumac is an intrepid but fearsome traveller and this year, with all the rain, it's become a real pest.

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You'll have to create a buffer zone between the jungle and the lawn. Dig a trench and sink plastic or metal edgers as deep as you can. This won't completely halt the movement of the roots but it will slow them down. In the lawn areas, meanwhile, excavate all around the invading sumac and rip it right out. Chop at the roots as ruthlessly as possible. Re-sod or plant other shrubs in its space, although few things will stop its inevitable spread.

It's a lifetime commitment to keep it at bay. In autumn, though, you will love those colours so much you'll forget about the aggravation until the cycle begins again next year.

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