American Sweetgum Tree
American Sweetgum Leaf
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 432
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 499
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 536
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 928
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 1353
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American Sweetgum Tree
American Sweetgum Leaf
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 432
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 499
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 536
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 928
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 1353

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Spacing: 30-40'
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›
American Sweetgum
Liquidambar styraciflua
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$225.00
Order 3 or more $245.00 each
Or, $275.00 each
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How large is this tree? View the Size Guide.

The American Sweetgum tree (or "Sweet Gum" tree), a moderately fast-growing shade tree for large properties, makes an excellent addition to your wildlife-friendly garden. Its foliage will feed caterpillars of the breathtaking, ghostly-green luna moth, and its fruits will produce finch seed as fine as any you can buy at the store. About those fruits... they're prickly capsules called "gumballs" that are good for painting as ornaments, scattering among your flowers to deter mischievous cats, or throwing at your little brother. The real reason you'll want this tree, however, is for the fall color. Red, orange, yellow, purple, and green leaves will appear - sometimes on the same branch. It's a whole bag of Skittles® candy colors!

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Spacing: 30-40'
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›
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The Story

In the early 1900’s a Sweetgum tree at Kittyhawk stood quietly by watching Wilbur and Orville Wright develop flight as we know it today. I imagine the young tree rooting (no pun intended) for them as they experimented with kites, gliders and eventually airplanes. Perhaps the tree even cheered as they successfully flew the first heavier-than-air powered plane on December 17, 1903 in that field in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The first commercial flight was scheduled in Tampa, Florida in 1914. Today at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, a seedling from the original Sweetgum tree was planted in honor of the Wright Bros.

The Details

The festive fall foliage colors is what will cause you to have stars in your eyes! This native's large five-pointed star shaped leaves change from glossy green in summer to yellows, reds and purples in Autumn. Spiky golf ball size fruit keeps the fall foliage company. The fruit may be a nuisance to some, but can be a crafty resource to others. Corky gray bark is present year round, but gives you stellar appeal in winter!

How to Grow

Sweetgums are fast growing and best recognized by their star-shaped leaves. You might also recognize their spiky ball-shaped seedpods, you usually see them scattered on the ground – a good reason not to plant this tree along a sidewalk or by your patio. Sweetgums like to be planted in full sun and they are really tolerant of all soil conditions. This is one easy-to-grow tree! After you initially plant your Sweetgum, be sure to keep it watered for the first few years. This helps your tree become established in your garden. Another thing you could do to help your tree is to fertilize about once a year for the first few years. Give your Sweetgum an application of medium rate fertilizer, preferably in fall. As your tree grows, you might need to prune off some of the lower branches if they are growing too low on the trunk, this is what I like to call “limbing up” your tree. Sweetgums are almost pest-free. Some common pests are borer and webworm. Most of the time when a pest problem occurs, it is because the tree has become stressed. Proper tree care and maintenance will usually rule out most future problems with insects or diseases.

More Info

Cold Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 5
Heat Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 9
Exposure Full Sun
Avg Mature Height 60'
Avg Mature Width 40'
Spacing 30-40'
Growth Rate Medium-Fast
Leaf Color Green
Fall Leaf Color Red/Orange/Yellow/Purple
Fruit Color Brown
Fruit Time Fall
Cary Award Winner No
PA Gold Medal Award No
Attractive Bark Yes
Attracts Birds Yes
Attracts Butterflies No
Attracts Hummingbirds No
Attracts Pollinators No
Deer Resistant Yes
Drought Tolerant Yes
Dry, Poor Soils No
Edible Fruit No
Fragrant No
Groundcover No
Hedge/Windbreak Yes
Native Yes
Salt Tolerance/Seashore Yes
Seasonal Cut Branches No
Shade Tolerance No
Showy Flowers No
Specimen Yes
Urban Conditions Yes
Utility Line Trees No
Wet Moist Soils Yes
Winter Interest Yes
Woodland Garden Yes
Decor/Craft Use No

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale

Scale

Size: B

Size B

This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.

Size B Trees:

8-10' tall. Strong single stem caliper over 1 1/2". Strong branching and form with a very well developed canopy. A Bower & Branch favorite native tree.

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American Sweetgum Tree
American Sweetgum Leaf
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 432
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 499
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 536
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 928
American Sweetgum Additional Product Shot 1353