I use bamboo poles for s'chach (yes, real bamboo poles). They're great, but I would like a little green up there, if I can get it. Some years we used branches from the tree that was growing over our sukkah (those branches needed to come down anyway), but they had bugs in them. Some years we used overgrown/passul aravos from our aravos bush, but those also will sometimes be buggy.

What plant can I buy for s'chach that will stay green the whole Sukkos, and not be buggy (or otherwise problematic, like leaves dropping down and stuff) ?

Best answers would be from personal experience.

Related questions: Which plants are most suitable for sukkah roofing? (= grow your own [not interested]) and What can I use for schach? (= general, I already know that)

  • Specifically needs to be bought? Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 16:16
  • Free works too.....I just meant to exclude "grow your own"
    – MTL
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 16:17
  • I suppose the problem with free is that you can't always find hefker. So it would vary depending on where you are and what's around you. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 16:38
  • 2
    Nechemiah 8:15 has the classic suggestions.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 18:18
  • 1
    FYI: Using schach made of living things will almost invariably lead to finding vegetation debris throughout your sukkah (and possibly in your food). In previous years, we used palm fronds, but they always shrivel up, wilt, droop, and leave debris everywhere. Your mileage may vary. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 19:40

3 Answers 3


Years ago, my shul used spruce branches. They are fairly large, smell great and certainly stay green. One catch, perhaps, is that there may be certain varieties that shed more than others, so make sure that what you get is extremely fresh. In my area, a few Succah supply stores sold bundles of spruce branches, and I think Home Depot had them, as well. Most nurseries or plant / gardening supply places (that carry plants, not just garden tools) should have spruce.

Other ideas I have seen: Cattails (I think that's what they're called) grow in abundance next to brooks and swamps. You may be able to cut those - check with your municipality. They are very tall, so depending on the size of your succah, you may not need that many.

Corn stalks are also terrific, whether green or somewhat dried. They're also very large / long and they're quite sturdy.

  • Spruce sounds good....cattails sound like they might be buggy....when I saw someone use corn stalks (dry) they shed a lot....thanks for your advice!
    – MTL
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 17:53
  • @Shokhet - agreed. Spruce or similar (there are various "pines" that work, but some shed more than others) are easy to use. One catch - in my shul's succah, when they used spruce, it was laid upon a grid of string. There is a makloket as to whether you can do this (i.e. place schach on top of string.) Offhand, since the string was made from cotton or hemp, which is also "plant", it might have been OK, but I don't know. Currently, my shul uses the schach bamboo mats. Not as elegant, but certainly a lot easier.
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 1:32
  • FYI -- "plant based material" is not the only issue with schach; it also has to not be able to become tamei. A wooden spoon is plant-based material, but since it has a bais kibul (place created to hold stuff) it is mekabel tumah, and therefore invalid for schach. String (even cotton or hemp) might be a kli (I think), but if it's only being used to hold up the schach there is only an issue (though only ab initio) as a maamid.
    – MTL
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 18:56
  • I didn't end up doing that this year, but your answer gave several good ideas. Thanks! (congrats on 5K ;)
    – MTL
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 15:40

Palm fronds work very well.

My family uses them each year along with the bamboo.

They get brown and the leaves fall off after sukkot, if they start green.

  • +1, thanks for your answer! Might want to give that a try.....though not 100% sure where I might find palm fronds for purchase around here....
    – MTL
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 16:42
  • a lulav would qualify. Last year's should still be good, right? Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 18:05
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt You're going to need a lot of lulavim... Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 19:41
  • @Naftuli I was picturing a "garnish" for the s'chach, not just lulavim. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 19:58

My father used branches of a weeping willow. There happened to be one growing in a nearby yard. They stayed green long enough, and I never noticed any bug problems (although I was never so finicky, so I could have just missed them). If you are putting them over the bamboo poles, then you also don't have to worry about them drooping.

If you find someone with an old enough tree, it will have enough branches that they probably wouldn't miss 15-20. Good luck!

  • +1, thanks! ....don't know anyone around with a weeping willow, but there are some in the public park....probably can't use those, right?
    – MTL
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 16:54
  • @Shokhet CYLCM (city municipality) Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 16:55
  • If I say "religious purposes," they would probably say yes.....just not really interested in asking them.....
    – MTL
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 17:30
  • @Shokhet then I guess you'll have to sneak in under cover of darkness. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 17:34

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