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Happidaze Sweetgum, "Groovin' all week with you"! This gorgeous giant will have you smiling all year long; it just has that effect on people! Star-shaped pea-green foliage brightens up the landscape in a glossy shine, by summer petite yellow flowers humbly show themselves in the sunlight of the branches. Leaves fading into a bright maroon in the fall and stay red all the way up until frost. A deciduous tree with a strong central leader and handsome branching architecture reaching out to a beautiful canopy! Lay under its shade, look up at all this beautiful tree has to offer, and put yourself in a happy daze.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
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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 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.
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