Sweetgum grows naturally in a narrow pyramid. It has glossy, star-shaped leaves which turn bright red, purple, yellow or orange in the fall/early winter. The trunk is normally straight and does not divide into multiple trunks. The bark becomes deeply ridged. It is native to North America.
Will grow in full sun or partial shade.
Zones 5B - 10A. More restricted zones may apply to some of the dwarf varieties.
It is moderately drought tolerant.
To retain and produce small leaves, do not feed high nitrogen fast-acting fertilizers. Feeding three times a year is sufficient to maintain good color and healthy growth without enlarging the size of the leaves.
Pruning and wiring:
Much shaping can be done by pruning.
They transplant well. Any type of soil with a pH of 7 or less, and with good drainage seems to grow them well. They have heavy root growth so must have root room.
Pests and diseases:
Bagworm, fall webworm, leaf miner, cottony-cushion scale, sweetgum scale, walnut scale, and tent caterpillars. Diseases include canker and leaf spots.
USDA Fact Sheet ST - 358
Compiled by Thomas L. Zane