Audubon® Black Gum Tree
Audubon® Black Gum Additional Product Shot 2313
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Audubon® Black Gum Tree
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Audubon® Black Gum Additional Product Shot 2313

Growth Facts

Audubon® Black Gum

Nyssa sylvatica
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Though you might not be familiar with the Black Gum tree, you might know of it by one of its other nicknames, such as Sour Gum (to distinguish it from Sweet Gum), Tupelo ("Tupelo honey" is made from its flowers). or Pepperidge (the tree you see on a certain package of cookies). Native to the Eastern U.S., this awe-inspiring shade tree should be more widely embraced as the treasure it is. It sets forests aflame in autumn with fluorescent orange and red foliage, and it will do the same in your yard! Black Gum can stand tall and proud for hundreds of years, so plant this legacy tree where it can live out a long, glorious life.

Take Birds Under Your Wing

New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees

  • Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
  • Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)

Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.

  • The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
  • This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
  • Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
  • Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
  • Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch

Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.

  • Size AA (2-3' tall) container grown
  • Size A (5-6' tall) container grown
  • Size C (8-10 tall) grown balled & burlapped

Growth Facts

Recommended by Our Growers

The Story

The early settlers on Marthas Vineyard learned from the native Wampanoag’s how to manufacture whale oil. As demand for oil grew they began storing and shipping the oil in wooden casks. The Black gum tree, native to the island was key in this production. The gnarled grain of the Black gum resists splintering and was used for making the beetle, or mallet and the bungs, which are the wooden stoppers in the casks. This tree is known to the Islanders as the Beetlebung Tree.

The Details

It isn’t the prettiest name, but wait until you see the gorgeous fiery fall color. This environmentally friendly native tree is moderately sized and has some of the most glorious fall color you will ever see!

How to Grow

You cannot plant a finer shade tree than the Black Gum! They prefer full sun, but also tolerates light shade. Black Gums can grow in a wide range of soil conditions and they are free of any major pest or disease problems. This long-living tree is one of the first trees to show fall color and it’s some of the best fall color I’ve ever seen! The Black Gum, when young, will start out by growing rather slowly and have a slightly irregular growth habit, but once established it will take off and become an awesome attention grabber! Once you plant your tree, remember to keep it watered during dry spells. Once a year, supply it with a dose of medium rate fertilizer. You will only have to do this for about the first 3 or 4 years in the fall, this gives your Black Gum nutrients to store over the winter to produce lush new growth the following year!

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale


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Audubon® Black Gum Tree
Audubon® Black Gum Additional Product Shot 2313