American Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

American Sweetgum

(Liquidambar styraciflua)

Native to wet sites on the East Coast, this tree adapts well to lawn and park settings.  It is a medium to fast growing tree and will easily reach 50 to 75 feet or more and nearly as wide.  It is conical in shape when young, turning more rounded in old age.

The leaves are 4to 7 inches long, bright glossy green, and star shaped.  The brilliant fall color is breathtaking in shades of green, yellow, scarlet, orange and purple.

Although Sweetgums will grow in a wide variety of sites, it prefers full sun and moist acidic soil.  They have few serious disease or insect problems, culturally, however, its root system is shallow and wide-spreading, and can cause tripping hazards and damage to infrastructure so allow room for growth when planting.  Also, its fruit, commonly called gumballs or sticky balls, can be a liability.  While fun to play with for most kids, they may pose a tripping hazard in the wrong location.  There is now a fruitless variety of this tree available commercially called ‘Rotundiloba’ which can help alleviate this issue.  In the right location, this is a great native species.

//pay now nav button -- code is needed for the proper url to work