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Black gum (Tupelo)

Posted by katiesommer none (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 27, 13 at 13:57

So after three months of research and looking, I think we've finally decided to plant a black gum.

Here are the pros:
1. beautiful fall foliage
2. attracts wildlife (my young sons and I are big birders)
3. adaptable
4. nice-looking year round
5. fruits without messiness

Cons:
1. slow-growing

Does anyone have anything to add to this, especially to the "cons"? It will be going in our front yard, a large space in part to full sun. I live in eastern Nebraska.

I am getting the tree from a plant rescue organization. It's the neatest thing: they take overstock from nurseries, and also donations from people for things like split perennials,etc. The tree came to them from a nursery, but I'm sure it's not in the best of shape (I haven't yet seen it). But it is only $25 for a 10-gallon potted variety that is somewhat difficult to find in this area, and the proceeds go to our local public library's children's program, so I don't feel too bad if it doesn't survive. ;)

Anyway, thanks for the input for anything I'm forgetting.

Katie


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Black gum (Tupelo)

Good price.

Nyssa sylvatica has a different name in every zip code doesn't it lol.

FWIW, Nyssa sylvatica has been a difficult transplant for me. It dies back in the winter then goes to grow from the base the next spring. I goofed and moved a couple small transplants before having more patience with a larger locally bought one which did the same thing. The last one has not died back at all after that first winter.

If moving that big fella you are buying is not a big deal to you I say go right ahead and give it a try. It really sounds like quite the steal.

Oh, and update us with pictures and all!


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RE: Black gum (Tupelo)

When we planted one two years ago, I didn't have dieback problems, but the bunnies sure did a job on it over the winter and the poor plant had to start over again. I think it's growth has been better than 'slow' and it's turning a deep vibrant purple now and should be a nice addition to the fall landscape.


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RE: Black gum (Tupelo)

I have a black gum that I bought in a pot in the spring about 7 years ago. It had sat throuhg the winter at a nursery. It was about 8 feet tall, looking a little ratty, but the price was low enough to give it a try. The tree has done very well. However it is apparently a male, so no fruit, and the fall color so far has been non existant. I have read that it is best to pick out a black gum in the fall when you can see it's color, then go back to buy it in the spring. Some of them for whatever reason do not develop a good show of fall color. I still love the tree. Good thick cover for birds and nice shape.

The site below will tell you about fruiting/nonfruiting of these trees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Black Gum

This post was edited by gazania on Sat, Sep 28, 13 at 8:54


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RE: Black gum (Tupelo)

I love their fall color, but some of then have a rather unattractive form at maturity. It's quite variable, however, there are some absolutely stunning Nyssas around here, and they're just starting to show some spotty red color in their inner leaves.

They are slow growing, but not *that* slow, no slower than, say, a white oak or sugar maple would be.

Transplanting difficulty is the biggest "con" IMHO, as has been mentioned.


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RE: Black gum (Tupelo)

Leafspot is a given. We have four nyssas, all with blotchy leaves in summer, and I am not about to get hooked into preventive spraying for all of them.

They also have a funky branching structure that has me removing vertical and crossing branches like crazy in early spring.
I wish we had planted lindens instead.


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RE: Black gum (Tupelo)

Leafspot is a given. We have four nyssas, all with blotchy leaves in summer, and I am not about to get hooked into preventive spraying for all of them.

They also have a funky branching structure that has me removing vertical and crossing branches like crazy in early spring.
I wish we had planted lindens instead.


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RE: Black gum (Tupelo)

The cultivar 'Red Rage' has a nice, reliable red fall color, and is supposedly leaf spot resistant.

FWIW most wild N. sylvaticas around here have some variation of red, orange, or yellow (or a mix) of color, but every once in a while, you see a dud.


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RE: Black gum (Tupelo)

i have a baby only, so no long term experience, but couple of things i can think of off the top of my head:

1) they like acid soils. You MAY have problems in NE. Their range is west to about central MO, so not 100% sure that is because of soil type or rainfall. You may have to add acid and/or water
2) I have heard they are not excessively long lived, but a quick google search says they can live several hundred years, so you are probably fine there.
3) they seem to like sun. the more the better. The one i planted in more shade grew chlorotic and died, but it may also have better soil.


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RE: Black gum (Tupelo)

Well, define acid soils. Ours are neutral and we didn't amend at planting time, and all four trees adapted very well. They have also not gotten a whole lot of rainwater since they were planted three years ago, only hose water, which has a much higher pH than our rain. Everything here in Kansas was once made of limestone, I swear.


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