Growing Guide: Sassafras

Plant Type:

Sassafras is a deciduous tree native to North America, known for its distinctive leaves and fragrant roots. It belongs to the Lauraceae family and is prized for its medicinal and culinary uses.

Harvest Season:

The best time to harvest Sassafras leaves and roots is in the fall when the plant's essential oils are at their peak. Make sure to research local regulations before harvesting any part of the plant.

Mature Size:

Sassafras trees can reach a height of 30-60 feet with a spread of 25-40 feet. They have a pyramidal shape when young, eventually developing a more rounded crown as they mature.

Soil & Moisture:

Sassafras thrives in well-draining, acidic soil. It prefers moist, loamy soil but can tolerate a variety of soil types. Make sure to water the plant regularly, especially during dry periods.

Light Requirements:

Sassafras trees prefer full sun to partial shade. They can tolerate a range of light conditions but thrive in areas with at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.


Sassafras trees are not self-fertile and require cross-pollination to produce viable seeds. Planting multiple trees in close proximity can help ensure successful pollination.

Growth Rate:

Sassafras trees have a moderate growth rate, typically adding 1-2 feet of height per year. With proper care and optimal growing conditions, they can establish a strong root system and grow vigorously.

Zone Hardiness:

Sassafras trees are hardy in USDA zones 4-9, making them suitable for a wide range of climates. They can withstand cold temperatures and are relatively low-maintenance once established.