lau
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:27 pm
Location: S J Valley

Help to sterilize tree

Hello,
Can anyone help me find a product I can sterilize my liquid amber (sweet gum) tree with? I either have to stop the fruiting "dingleberries" or the tree has to go. I like it and want to keep it.

I am looking for a ground drench rather than a spray, as the tree is huge.
Thanks.
Lau

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Not something you can do. It can (somewhat) be done, but only by professional arborists. The chemicals used are quite toxic and are not available for homeowner usage.

https://forestry.about.com/b/2007/12/12/discussion-can-you-sterilize-sweetgum.htm

the growth regulator ethephon is corrosive and will take the paint off your car if the spray drifts onto it, not to mention what it will do to you. The other alternative Indole-3-butyric Acid is mutagenic (causing birth defects) and toxic, can be lethal in overdose.

If you like your tree, I think you need to live with the gumballs...
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

bullthistle
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

I cannot stand the trees. I removed all from my property after I bought the house now in the fall the damn balls blow into my yard from my neighbors and the ones I miss set root in the garden beds. Chop it down its not even good for firewood. A waste tree.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

But it is a native tree with gorgeous fall color, berries that feed a variety of birds and mammals, it is host to several species of butterfly larvae, and bees love its nectar (ever hear of Tupelo honey? sweet gum is tupelo).

I think it is a great tree! It is dioecious, meaning it has separate male and female trees. So if you can make sure you only have one it might help, though if yours is the seed producer, if there are pollinators elsewhere in the neighbor hood, you will still get "gum balls."
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Pineville
Senior Member
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:50 pm
Location: Bucks County, PA

I here this frequently about Liquidambar as well as Sycamore "the tree is messy" which it really isn't. It is just doing what it is suppose to do. If you really can't live with the seeds, cutting the tree down would be better than poisoning your soil.

User avatar
!potatoes!
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1900
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:13 pm
Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

or maybe chop it down, and plant one you know is male in its place...?

User avatar
froggy
Senior Member
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:54 pm
Location: Toronto, ON, zone 5a

Ever walked past fallen ginkgo fruit? - it smells like dog poop.
There's another species where you might want a male tree :D
;)

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

The trees I find produce the worst mess are the walnuts. Walking on a sidewalk covered with fallen walnuts -- a frequently encountered situation in my neighborhood -- is like trying to walk across a room where someone has strewn marbles all over the floor! At least the gum balls are soft enough to collapse when stepped on. :lol:
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

They say that allergy sufferers in the city are having a worse time these days (among other reasons) because so many people plant only male trees that there is more pollen in the air than there would have been with a balance.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

lau
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:27 pm
Location: S J Valley

Thank you all for your input.
I read the label for Snipper. I don't want to poison the soil and especially the bees that may feed on the dying flowers. I am a beekeeper and wildlife enthusiast. I like the tree, but because of our climate in central Ca. we have an almost continual fall of the gumballs year round. The tree is 20 years old and the crop gets bigger every year. I can't pick them up daily, and because of its location next to our street sidewalk, the gumballs may be a hazard to our elderly neighbors who daily must cross our side walk to get their mail. I wouldn't want any to slip or sprain on the gumballs.
I think I will have to replace the tree.
Thanks again,
Lau

WildcatNurseryman
Senior Member
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:42 pm
Location: Lexington, KY.

rainbowgardener wrote:But it is a native tree with gorgeous fall color, berries that feed a variety of birds and mammals, it is host to several species of butterfly larvae, and bees love its nectar (ever hear of Tupelo honey? sweet gum is tupelo).

I think it is a great tree! It is dioecious, meaning it has separate male and female trees. So if you can make sure you only have one it might help, though if yours is the seed producer, if there are pollinators elsewhere in the neighbor hood, you will still get "gum balls."


Sweet Gum is NOT Tupelo. Tupelo or Black Gum is Nyssa sylvatica and Sweet Gum is Liquidambar styraciflua. Two TOTALLY different trees. Your discription of Nyssa sylvatica is accurate however. Liquidambar or Sweet Gum is a HUGE piece of CRAP though. I would only plant this tree in my worst enemies yard.

WildcatNurseryman
Senior Member
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:42 pm
Location: Lexington, KY.

enemy's* ...decription is accurate except for the Nyssa having Gum Balls.

WildcatNurseryman
Senior Member
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:42 pm
Location: Lexington, KY.

description* -I know my trees, I just can't spell. lol

Return to “Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges”