While these can be annoying to find around your yard or to step on, there are quite a few crafts that can be made from the seed pods with a little creativity and a few supplies. I need advice on how to grow sweet gum trees. A vertical growth rate of 25" or more a year is considered fast. Common name: 'Slender Silhouette' American sweetgum Botanical name:Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Slender Silhouette’ Foliage: Deciduous, star-shaped. Pat from Lubbock, TX Answer: Pat, Sweet Gum trees are considered to have a medium to fast growth rate. The spiky seed pods from the sweetgum tree are not only fascinating to look at, they can actually help out in the garden. The sweetgum is a valuable commercial hardwood, second in production only to oaks among the hardwoods. The seed pods have a hard exterior with sharp spikes while growing and when they fall from the tree. Lay the seed pods around young plants to deter snails and slugs who would rather not tangle with them. Go out with a bucket and fill it with seed pods, and in the spring you may just use some: 1. Flower: Inconspicuous white flowers in spring. Dark green in summer, turning yellow to deep red in fall. Hardiness Zone: 7a. In spring the sweet gum tree will get pale green flowers that will develop into the round and spiky shaped seed pods giving the tree more character. Sweet Gum Healing. The trees’ spike ball fruit is almost as telltale for identification as the star-shaped leaves. The seed pods can create new seedlings spreading the tree in late saplings. Human Use. 2. While you wait, the tree has much to offer. A medium growth rate indicates a tree that has a vertical growth of between 13 to 24" per year. The only difference is sweetgum balls drop all fall and winter. The chemical ethepon (Florel) releases ethylene gas when it is sprayed onto the tree branches while sweetgum flowers are present in spring. The wood of sweetgum is used for many purposes, particularly veneer, furniture, flooring, interior trim, and woodenware. The sweet gum got its name for … Fruit: a peculiar spiny ball, golfball-sized, that persists through winter on the tree; it is actually a round head of beaked capsules, each capsule containing one to several hard black seeds (winged or unwinged). It is best known for its thorny seed pods that are about the size and shape of a candy gum ball. The sweet gum is a large tree that often grows up to 100 feet tall. Just like leaves, they must fall, so the tree can prep for new growth. The seeds of the sweetgum are eaten by birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. Do they grow fast? Who knew?! The spiky clusters are actually balls of fruit with tiny seeds inside that birds and squirrels snack on. It is theoretically possible to eliminate the balls each year but it is a difficult process. 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