Re: [gardeners] A primer on sweetgum trees

Kelly Livezey (
Mon, 16 Sep 2002 17:46:19 -0400

There is a seedless sweetgum--the only difference other than the lack 
of the sticky balls is that the leaves have rounded instead of 
pointed lobes. I have one that I planted 3 years ago that I purchased 
from Wayside gardens and I love it--it's done beatifully during the 
drought and the fall color is stunning. Wayside's not currently 
offering it, but here's a description from another source:

>1. The wood is no good for firewood as it can't be split, the grain is
>not straight.
>2. A sweetgum ball going through a side discharge lawnmower is moving at
>750 rpm when it exits and can travel 50 feet before it a)breaks a
>window, b)bruises the neighbor.
>3. They are one of the few trees in SW Louisiana that the leaves
>actually turn color in the fall. The other two are the tallow tree and
>the soft maple, all are useless.
>4. You can hardly kill a sweetgum tree short of a nuclear detonation.
>Salt doesn't work, ringing the bark doesn't work. You can cut them down
>and they will arise from the roots to haunt you.
>5. They make nice shade trees but you can never walk barefoot on your
>lawn again (sweetgum balls hurt when stepped on).
>6. My neighbor loves sweetgum and magnolia trees, both of which hang
>over my yard and drop their unwanted sweetgum balls and magnolia seed
>pods everywhere.
>7. My neighbor is going away for a month and their trees may
>mysteriously die while they are gone. <BSEG>