Re: [gardeners] A primer on sweetgum trees

M T (
Tue, 17 Sep 2002 21:36:13 -0700 (PDT)

8. The gumballs are as difficult to rake up as tiny leaves! It's less
annoying to just go ahead and pick up every singe one of the d*mn
things by hand!

9. During drought years, a noticable portion of the leaves shed
throughout the summer. Picking the large yellowed leaves out of the new
evergreen hedge gets old quickly.

 Three of their only good points -

 a. their sharply pointed large leaf shape

 b. the incredibly beautiful reddish-bronze fall color, which generally
is one of the first trees to turn color in our area

 c. they are slightly more desirable than a mulberry tree. Where the
HECK are all these mulberry seedlings coming from?! I haven't found a
mature mulberry tree within 2 blocks!

 About 5-7 years ago a product came out that could be sprayed on the
sweet gum trees to keep the gumballs from forming.
 But the chemical is expensive and has to be timed almost to the week
in late spring to be effective.
 Since the trees are usually in the 30 to 50 foot range, it generally
requires calling in a professional landscaper with a high pressure
sprayer. Convincing them to drag out some heavy equipment for a one
hour job at a small price is difficult since late spring is not exactly
a slow time for landscapers.
 I remember reading in the local gardening column that the chemicals 
results had been 'iffy' at best.

Good Gardening,
Matt in Norfolk, Va. USDA zone 8

Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 17:46:19 -0400
From: Kelly Livezey <>
Subject: Re: [gardeners] A primer on sweetgum trees

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 
>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 
>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>

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