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Growing Together, Issue #96
January 27, 2015

Sweet Gum Tree Provides Seasonal Color And Shade

Welcome to the first 2015 issue of Growing Together from landscape solutions for you. Hope your January has been full of happiness and health. As always, I would like to welcome our newest members, as well as all of you returning.

To start the new year, Herbee and I wanted to share a few insights on a great shade tree, "Sweet Gum."

Seet Gum Tree

Now for some of you that have Sweet Gum trees, or best known around the south as,"gum ball trees", this may not be one of your favorite trees. The Sweet Gum makes it trademark for beauty in the fall, and providing you and your family shade throughout the warm summer months.

Did you know that this tree can reach its maturity of around 100 feet tall? It is a deciduous specimen, meaning the leaves drop with the colder autumn temperatures arrive. It grows well in zones 5-9 here in the United States. In springtime, buds appear and rich green colored leaves appear.The leaves have pointed edges, giving it a full look and feel. In fall, the Sweet Gum leaves begin to show it's beauty turning reddish-purple and yellow colors. When the skies are clear and the sun is shining, the autumn leaves sparkle and seem to dance with the cooler breeze.

You can transplant this specimen when it is young. Once the Sweet Gum is established, the roots don't like to be disturbed. It can grow well in a variety of different soils. It is one of the most easy trees to grow in to acid or alkaline soils. Due to the fact it has a massive root system, Herbee and I recommend to plant this tree in an open space. If you drive around, you may encounter the Sweet Gum around parks or down streets. You may also see this tree in established neighborhoods.

Now for the one downsize by many people. The Sweet Gum will bear fruit clusters. Now is this not your typical look of a fruit cluster. The cluster is a round ball with little needle like spikes all around the ball. In fall when the leaves start to drop, the clusters fall to the ground. Many people don't like walking on the clusters. They are often raked in with the leaves you pick up.

The trunk of the Sweet Gum is brownish-gray and rough. Below is a link to the website, and shows you a picture of the trunk. Today though, there are hybrids of Sweet Gums that don't have the fruit cluster. These hybrids don't produce the round balls. Whether you decide on a regular or no gum ball tree, the Sweet Gum is a great choice. Beauty in the fall, and shade for those hot summer days.

Tip For The Month

As many of you are in the long winter months, as mentioned in previous newsletters, this is a great time to plan for the upcoming planting season. Tom, Herbee, and I continue to use our squash and green beans we froze from this past season garden. We are know thinking about what we want to plant. I am looking into starting my seeds inside in February. Whether you are doing a ground, container, or inside garden, take the time to plan now. Think about experimenting with a few new plants. Grow from seeds, and start your own trials. It is a lot of fun, and also relaxing.

Thought For The Month

As we all begin the new year, many of us start this year with a lot of motivation and goals. Are you one that has a list, and by now or into February see the list with very few things accomplished? I know I can fall into this category. If this is the case, make your list smaller. Make it realistic, and add some fun into your daily, weekly, or monthly goals. It doesn't matter whether you are building your career, trying to loose weight, developing something new, take it slow, and enjoy each step of the way.

Herbee and I would like to thank you for joining us this first month out of 2015. We both hope you have a fantastic February, and get the important things in your life done. We look forward to being with you again at the end of February. Stay safe, healthy, and have some fun!!!!

Herbee and Kimberly
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