Sometimes the name of a plant tells us about what it produces. The genus name of Liquidamabar is from the Latin for “fluid amber”. The sweetgum tree produces. Description. Liquidambar styraciflua L., sweetgum, is native to southeastern, east -central, and south-central United. States, southern Mexico, and central. The Sweet Gum Tree book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight.
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Sweetgum grows in a narrow pyramid to a height of 75 feet and may spread to 50 feet (Fig. 1). The beautifully glossy, star-shaped leaves turn bright red, purple. PDF | Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) is the only species of its genus in the Western hemisphere. The species is a relatively early. The Sweet Gum Tree - Kindle edition by Katherine Allred. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like.
A Cerridwen Press Publication www. This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. And maybe to laugh when the Judge cursed each time he ran the lawn mower over the hard burs they produce, the tiny missiles banging against the house or car with a loud thunk and denting the mower blades he kept so carefully honed. A sweet gum is the chameleon of wood, its corky exterior hiding its inner ability to imitate anything from cherry to mahogany. But its real value, one unrealized by most people, is its deep red heart, steady and strong.
The tree has lustrous dark green leaves with the usual five lobes, but on the fruitless form the lobes are rounded, not pointed. Fall color is variable on this grafted tree. Some years it will shade more towards the yellow and orange range, other years more towards deep burgundy.
Older trees can reach 50 feet tall with an upright form that tends to be more open and erect than the typical sweetgum. Young trees go through a gawky stage that requires some early attention to pruning to develop a good form.
The tree was resurrected from horticultural oblivion by the famous plantsman, J. Raulston - , the founder and namesake of the Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, N. Raulston, a fellow Oklahoman and - as only mothers can explain - a shirt-tail relative of mine, was one of a handful of horticulturists who brought about the new plant craze that swept the world of gardening during the closing years of the 20th century. The tree was propagated and evaluated for a couple years and then released with the flourish that only J.
What marked J. When he discovered a new plant through his extensive travels, he quickly turned the plant into hundreds or thousands of plant starts that were distributed to nurserymen and gardeners throughout the world.
Because of his willingness to share and extensive network of contacts, plants could go from rare and unknown to commonplace in a couple years. Raulston had a restless soul. He traveled extensively around the world and made collecting trips to Europe and Korea. One of his hobbies, visiting every county in the nation the last I heard he still lacked two in Arkansas , was nearing completion when he was killed in a car accident.
The fruitless sweetgum has not performed quite as well in American landscapes as Raulston predicted.
Definitely not a Bradford pear—they can get 40 feet tall and 40 feet wide—way too large for this location. You have several options.
The new trend in trees is to produce fastigiated forms—those that grow with a narrow growth habit. Fastigiated sweetgum, fastigiated hornbeam, English oak, and Autumn Spire red maple are just some choices that would work. These would get tall, provide shade, but would fit the situation with a narrow canopy. Smaller trees to choose would include redbud they usually take full sun well , crape myrtle, and fringe tree.
December Sweetgum trees have beautiful fall color and a pleasing shape, but oh, the plague of the sweetgum balls. Ten years ago I bought a ten foot sweetgum tree from a nursery and was told it would not produce the dreaded gum balls. It didn't for 8 years or if there were any, I sure didn't notice them. Last year, for the first time, I noticed a few. This year, the darn things are all over the tree.
How can a sweetgum tree go from being "gum ball-less" to "gum ball-full? Most sweetgum balls will begin to bear at on average, years, and will continue to produce the rest of their lives.
There is a fruitless variety that has rounded lobes instead of the pointy ones of the fruited variety. Fruitless varieties are typically grafted trees, and if they are killed beneath the graft union, the root stalk is typically a common sweetgum and will bear fruit. In a recent column we discussed the merits and lack thereof for sweetgum trees.
Here isare some additional responses and questions from readers: I would suggest one other attribute of the sweet gum. In , when I attended the Boy Scout Jamboree in California, I took several sweet gum balls to trade with other scouts for different items of equal value. I called these gum balls porcupine eggs to suggest that porcupines grew in the forests of Oklahoma and Arkansas. One scout from California traded me a block of California Redwood with inscription and a clear finish.
We were both pleased with the trade. Since then, I have pointed out to many kids that I have encountered in the woods to be on the look out for porcupine eggs on the ground. I do have a certain degree of credibility since I have a degree in Forestry from Oklahoma State University.
No telling how many kids are still looking for porcupines in our forests.
November Someone told me last week that if you top a sweetgum tree it won't produce gumballs for 4 or 5 years. Is this true? I have a huge sweetgum tree in the backyard that my wife loves for the shade it produces, but I hate the gumballs I have to deal with all year long.
I want to cut it down, but if topping it will stunt the gumballs, I'm willing to try that. Not true, and very, very bad for the tree to be topped. Topping a tree leads to a hollow, unsafe tree so should never be done. Sweetgum balls can be a nuisance, but the fall color and the overall shade make it worthwhile.
If you grow hostas, the sweetgum balls make a great mulch to keep slugs away, and if neighborhood cats use your garden as a litter box, sweetgum mulch keeps them away.
Maybe you have a new cottage industry in your yard.
January Could the thorny seeded tree you talked about Dec. Without a picture, how can I be sure of the difference? What about a horse chesnut?
I think they are poisonous It certainly is a possibility that the thorny fruits were sweetgums. I had chestnuts on my mind, since someone sent me a sample and asked for identification recently. Chestnuts were practically wiped out in the United State due to chesnut blight, but they are not extinct, and there are millions of seedlings nationwide.
We have been seeing a resurgence of the American chesnut tree in Arkansas. The American chesnut foundation is also breeding disease resistant varieties which should soon be available to the public. The sweetgum tree does have thorny smaller fruit, but you won't get too much inside, nor is it edible and it is very widespread in our state.
The single leaves look almost like stars with five points.
The horse chesnut is also called a buckeye and while it does have a large poisonous seed, the pods have small thorns, but it is not as common in our state as the red buckeye, which has.