Wildfire Black Gum Tree
Wildfire Black Gum Leaf
Wildfire Black Gum Additional Product Shot 1007
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Wildfire Black Gum Tree
Wildfire Black Gum Leaf
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Wildfire Black Gum Additional Product Shot 1007

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Spacing: 20-25'
  • Exposure: Sun/Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Wildfire Black Gum

Nyssa sylvatica 'Wildfire'
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How large is this tree? View the Size Guide.

Warn your neighbors not to call 911, because this stunning shade tree will seem to burst into flames—not just once, but twice a year! Wildfire Black Gum pushes out fiery red leaves in spring which turn a cool green in the summer months, only to become ablaze again in fall. A single specimen in your yard will glow like a bonfire, and a row of trees lining your driveway or property line will become a breathtaking firestorm of red. This magnificent native tree isn’t one of those “live fast and die young” types, but is in it for the long haul, and many generations will be able to enjoy the show because of your wise choice.

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Spacing: 20-25'
  • Exposure: Sun/Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Recommended by Our Growers

The Story

Black Gum calls most of the Eastern U.S. home and also goes by the names Sour Gum, Tupelo, and Pepperidge.  Two fun facts:  bees make a high-grade honey—“Tupelo honey”—from its flowers, and the first Pepperidge Farm® cookies were actually made on a farm with “Pepperidge” trees on the property.  This selection was discovered in 1990 by Oregon nurseryman Steve Hottovy in a crop of one-year-old seedlings.  This plant has such brilliant red new growth that Hottovy thought a Red-Tip Photinia plant had gotten mixed in with his “Tupelos.”

The Details

Black Gum trees don’t get a lot of attention, because they don’t grow as fast as many Maples that also turn red in the fall, but people are finally beginning to take notice. New selections like Wildfire are paving the way for this stellar native tree to make it into more yards, and more and more people are learning its virtues. Before you know it, the news will be traveling like... oh, you know! 


How to Grow

This native Tree requires little care once established in the landscape. Wildfire is known for its red tinted foliage through the growing season and will benefit from regular Spring and Fall Bower & Branch Ongoing Care Fertilizer Element applications.

Blackgum can withstand some dryer conditions and urban settings. This is a very good grower in all kinds of conditions so if you have a problem area, this tree will overcome.

On the nursery the structure of branching is accomplished so additional pruning is required other than to determine how much clearance you would like under the tree. Simply remove lower branching as the tree matures to your desired branching height, this is easily accomplished in Spring and will not harm the tree as long as the cuts are made properly.

Do not be afraid to tip or shape the side branches as desired for overall appearance as well. After the first year of planting no additional watering should be required in normal weather.

More Info

Cold Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 5
Heat Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 9
Exposure Sun/Part Shade
Avg Mature Height 40'
Avg Mature Width 25'
Spacing 20-25'
Growth Rate Medium-Slow
Leaf Color Bronze-Red/Green
Fall Leaf Color Red/Orange/Yellow
Fruit Color Blue
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 Yes
Showy Flowers No
Specimen Yes
Urban Conditions Yes
Utility Line Trees No
Wet Moist Soils Yes
Winter Interest No
Woodland Garden Yes
Decor/Craft Use No

Questions & Answers

Q: Does this tree get fruit?

A: No, this is a male selection and therefore will not have any fruit. 


Size Guide

Size Guide 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. Grown in our #15 tree container. Stem caliper up to 1 1/2". Single stem tree from with full and proper branching structure.

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Wildfire Black Gum Tree
Wildfire Black Gum Leaf
Wildfire Black Gum Additional Product Shot 1007