P81117KWe may not get much foliar color in autumn here, but we get enough. Sweetgums do not need much cool weather to color well. They would probably have colored better and held their foliage a bit better if the weather got cooler faster, but we can not complain about what we got. Most of the crape myrtles are still completely green. Cottonwoods are defoliating, but without much color. Maples are rare here. The three best trees for color in autumn here are sweetgum, pistache and flowering pear. Of these, we happen to have several sweetgums here.P81117K+
Sweetgum is not the sort of tree that I would recommend for home gardens. They are innately very likely to develop structural deficiency. By the time such problems are identified, they are difficult to correct without disfigurement. Aggressive roots are likely to displace pavement, and sometimes invade septic systems. Then there are all those nasty maces; those hard and prickly round seed pods that stick into lawns and make pavement dangerous to walk on. They are too abundant and heavy to rake away as easily as fallen leaves. There are not enough squirrels in the entire forest to take them all!P81117K++
In some of our unrefined forested landscapes, where maces and falling limbs can fall into the forest without damaging anything, and roots can not reach concrete pavement, sweetgums can be allowed to go wild. (Unfortunately, most of ours happen to be near concrete within refined landscapes. That is another story.) Their tall and somewhat conical form happens to work very well with the native redwoods and Douglas firs, which provide the perfect rich green backdrop for their exquisite autumn color. Those of us who do not know better might mistake them for a native species. They look right at home here.P81117K+++

12 thoughts on “Sweetgum Color

      1. Our forests do not color much either, which is why the sweetgums are a nice addition. The native maples and cottonwoods turn a nice yellow, but there is no orange or red.


    1. I would not have planted them so close to paved areas. In some situations, the trees were there first, and the pavement was added. Those on the edges of the forests are rad! They are the best transition between landscaped areas and naturally forested areas. They do not go far from landscaped areas, since they need irrigation in most situations here.

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