The sweetgum is a valuable commercial hardwood, second in production only to oaks among the hardwoods. The trees’ spike ball fruit is almost as telltale for identification as the star-shaped leaves. The wood of sweetgum is used for many purposes, particularly veneer, furniture, flooring, interior trim, and woodenware. The sweet gum got its name for … The spiky seed pods from the sweetgum tree are not only fascinating to look at, they can actually help out in the garden. Lay the seed pods around young plants to deter snails and slugs who would rather not tangle with them. The chemical ethepon (Florel) releases ethylene gas when it is sprayed onto the tree branches while sweetgum flowers are present in spring. Seed-filled, spiky-textured balls develop and drop in the fall, but not in great quantity. Sweet Gum Healing. I need advice on how to grow sweet gum trees. The seeds of the sweetgum are eaten by birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. In spring the sweet gum tree will get pale green flowers that will develop into the round and spiky shaped seed pods giving the tree more character. The seed pods have a hard exterior with sharp spikes while growing and when they fall from the tree. While you wait, the tree has much to offer. Common name: 'Slender Silhouette' American sweetgum Botanical name:Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Slender Silhouette’ Foliage: Deciduous, star-shaped. A: The spiky seed pods of the sweetgum tree are a nuisance to many gardeners. Flower: Inconspicuous white flowers in spring. The sweet gum is a large tree that often grows up to 100 feet tall. Dark green in summer, turning yellow to deep red in fall. Hardiness Zone: 7a. The seed pods can create new seedlings spreading the tree in late saplings. 2. It is best known for its thorny seed pods that are about the size and shape of a candy gum ball. Just like leaves, they must fall, so the tree can prep for new growth. The spiky clusters are actually balls of fruit with tiny seeds inside that birds and squirrels snack on. Human Use. Because a sweet gum tree may grow 80 feet tall and hose-end sprayers typically have a maximum good-pressure range of up to 30 feet, spraying a mature sweet gum adequately is difficult for a homeowner. By mid-fall, the balls are dead and seedless. Go out with a bucket and fill it with seed pods, and in the spring you may just use some: 1. It is theoretically possible to eliminate the balls each year but it is a difficult process. Pat from Lubbock, TX Answer: Pat, Sweet Gum trees are considered to have a medium to fast growth rate. Who knew?! https://www.pinterest.com/beckyblue65/sweetgum-tree-seed-pods A vertical growth rate of 25" or more a year is considered fast. It takes the sweet gum tree 20 to 30 years to mature enough to produce its fruit. Do they grow fast? 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