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Old 10-19-2014, 11:41 PM
Status: "I hate cool and cold weather" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: 46060, Hardiness zone 5b/6a
2,200 posts, read 1,585,877 times
Reputation: 715

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I would like to know how far north in the lower 48 states has the sweet gum tree been or is being grown with success, I know they are seen with at least some regularity all over Indianapolis.
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:25 AM
Status: "I hate cool and cold weather" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: 46060, Hardiness zone 5b/6a
2,200 posts, read 1,585,877 times
Reputation: 715
For further information, the sweet gum cultivar 'Moraine' is the kind most often planted in indianapolis, apart from a couple of non fruiting cultivars, I have heard that Moraine is the hardiest cultivar available, but I do know that in indianapolis area the tree has been spreading through either root suckiering or seeding itself into area landscapes IIRC, I saw numerous seedlings scattered underneath a spruce tree years ago. I also have noted some young trees that are the offspring of older mature trees at indianapolis' eagle creek park.
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Old 10-20-2014, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Raleigh NC
5,289 posts, read 4,589,390 times
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Dear lord, please come and take my sweet gum tree! It is about 4 ft in diameter and those dang gum balls hurt when they hit you in the head, get under foot, and clog up the leaf vacuum.

I'm in NC, so I don't think my climate info will help you much.
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Old 10-21-2014, 01:20 PM
 
6,365 posts, read 7,362,569 times
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I've noticed a few in southeast Michigan--in the Detroit area. I haven't noticed them much further north...but I really haven't been looking for them. Being a more southern species, I don't think it was ever that popular to plant in Michigan (plus, I doubt the spiked balls they produce were ever that popular to begin with).
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Old 10-21-2014, 01:50 PM
 
3,751 posts, read 10,234,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmichigan View Post
I've noticed a few in southeast Michigan--in the Detroit area. I haven't noticed them much further north...but I really haven't been looking for them. Being a more southern species, I don't think it was ever that popular to plant in Michigan (plus, I doubt the spiked balls they produce were ever that popular to begin with).
My parents have two sweetgums in their backyard in the Detroit suburbs. But my parents alwasy had (at the time) "unusual" tress.

They were planted in the '50s and grew quite large - yes, the "bongers" are not for mowing or stepping on, but the fall foliage of the tree is quite beautiful.

Subsequently, I've planted several sweetgums at my own home (just north of cinci) -- they're great for relatively poor (clay) soil. They tolerate the poor drainage better than most, and I still love the fall color.
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Old 10-21-2014, 01:55 PM
 
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They are ALL OVER the Kansas City area, and everyone who has them HATES them. As Stagemomma says, the gumballs are a nightmare. Once you've collected them though, they are great slug and snail barrier, and if you mound them high enough around things rabbits love to eat, they'll stay away as well.

Not much beats a sweet gum for fall color though, and the leaf shape is very elegant and beautiful.

We opted for the much smaller and less offensive Black Gum.
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:41 AM
 
Location: WA
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Sweet Gums are commonly used here in SW Washington. There are several on my property but thankfully they are not he specimens that produce the balls. I guess they are planted for color but I would have planted something else.
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Old 10-23-2014, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 22,548,774 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
They are ALL OVER the Kansas City area, and everyone who has them HATES them. As Stagemomma says, the gumballs are a nightmare. Once you've collected them though, they are great slug and snail barrier, and if you mound them high enough around things rabbits love to eat, they'll stay away as well.

Not much beats a sweet gum for fall color though, and the leaf shape is very elegant and beautiful.

We opted for the much smaller and less offensive Black Gum.
I grew up in KC and we had one. HORRIBLE tree! Besides the sticker balls, the roots tore up a quarter of our back yard.

Living in Denver now, I've never seen one here, even though we're near the same latitude as KC, and much further south than Detroit. I wonder if they don't like higher elevation? Not that I care, because I hate them!

You see them a lot in the Los Angeles area. My guess is because they're about the only tree that turns colors there in Fall. Most deciduous trees, if planted where it never freezes, don't do well or turn colors.
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:16 PM
Status: "I hate cool and cold weather" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: 46060, Hardiness zone 5b/6a
2,200 posts, read 1,585,877 times
Reputation: 715
Default reply

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverian View Post
I grew up in KC and we had one. HORRIBLE tree! Besides the sticker balls, the roots tore up a quarter of our back yard.

Living in Denver now, I've never seen one here, even though we're near the same latitude as KC, and much further south than Detroit. I wonder if they don't like higher elevation? Not that I care, because I hate them!

You see them a lot in the Los Angeles area. My guess is because they're about the only tree that turns colors there in Fall. Most deciduous trees, if planted where it never freezes, don't do well or turn colors.
Denverian, I have heard of them growing in Denver, perhaps they are just extremely rare there, and much less commonly seen than in indianapolis, which is at the exact same latitude as denver's latitude.
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,437 posts, read 41,768,016 times
Reputation: 47043
why would anybody want to grow a sweet gum tree when there are so many other beautiful choices. I broke some bones in my elbow a few years ago after tripping on sweet gum balls and you haven't lived through pain until your older brother and his friends pummeled you with sweet gum balls. They should be outlawed.
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