Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sweetgums

Liquidambar

A family of 4 species of trees native to Asia and North America which are related to the Witch Hazel. There are also 20 extinct fossilized species which previously grew worldwide during the dinosaur times. The range of those now extinct species included western U.S., Siberia, central Europe and even Greenland.
The Sweetgums are rarely bothered by pests, diseases or deer and are resistant to flood damage, salt, heavy clay and storm winds. While excellent shade trees; it is important to position them where the spiky fruits will not be a nuisance when they fall. Sweetgums also do not enjoy root disturbance so it is recommended to move them very carefully and when they are small. If a Sweetgum suffers root disturbance while transplanting; it may take up to 5 years to get established and finally resume growth.
They prefer full sun on a moist, deep, fertile, well drained, acidic soil.
Propagation can be from softwood cuttings in summer or from seed sown in fall.

Liquidambar acalycina ( Chinese Sweetgum )
A rare vigorous tall tree native to China, that can reach 100 feet in height or more. Based on my own observations I believe it could potentially reach the same size as Liquidambar styraciflua though little data exists on old growth trees in the wild. A tree of 65 x 45 feet is reported to grow in New York City. Some additional records include: 10 years - 23.5 feet; fastest growth rate - 5 feet.
The attractive, very luxuriant, velvety foliage has 3 very pronounced lobes and is up to 8 x 10 inches in size. The foliage is rich maroon red in spring turning to mid green in summer then to fiery red late in fall. The leaves still drop earlier than L. formosana; being before Christmas. The growth continues late in the season which may sometimes present a problem of frost damage on growth that has not hardened off.
Hardy zones 6 to 10 and is hardy to as low as -10 F. The Chinese Sweetgum thrives in the hot humid summers of the eastern and southeast U.S. which mimic its native range.

* photo taken on April 11 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum

* photo taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* photo taken on Feb 8 2015 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


'Burgundy Flash'
New foliage in spring is deep burgundy red and retains that color all summer. Autumn foliage is also deep burgundy red. Extremely attractive! Reports of zone 5 hardiness though I seriously doubt this tree has been tested much in the midwest.

* photo taken on Oct 4 2016 in Mt Airy, MD


Liquidambar formosana ( Formosan Sweetgum )
A large straight trunked tree native to mountains in southern China and Taiwan.
Reaching up to 80 feet or more; some records include: growth rate - 5 feet; 5 years - 16 x 12 feet; 15 years - 50 feet; 20 years - 58 feet x 14 inch trunk diameter; largest on record - 200 x 70 feet with a trunk diameter of 10 feet.
The foliage is broadly 3 lobed and up to 6 x 8.5 inches in size. The very shiny leaves have a finely serrated margin and are purple at first turning deep green above and downy below. The leaves turn to deep red very late in the fall.
Foliage remains on the trees often into early January in the Pacific Northwest.
The flowers are greenish yellow and inconspicuous. They appear in spring as the leaves emerge.
They are followed by spiky rounded brown fruit clusters up to 1.5 inches across.
The gray-white bark darkens and becomes fissured as the tree ages.
Hardy zones 7 to 10 and flood tolerant.
Very tolerant of heat, humidity, floods, storms and urban conditions but can be prone to chlorosis on alkaline soil; it thrives as far south as Tampa, Florida.
subsp. 'Monticola'
A full zone hardier to zone 6 with foliage that is purplish in spring turning to deep green in summer then brilliant red in fall. This form thrives well in cool summered southern England as well.

* historical archive photo


Liquidambar orientalis ( Turkish Sweetgum )
A moderately growing, broad-crowned tree native of southwest Turkey that can reach around 50 feet or more. Some records include: growth rate - 2 feet; largest on record - 100 x 70 feet with a trunk diameter of 5.5 feet. One at the Bologna Botanical Gardens is 100 feet in height with a trunk diameter of 5 feet.
The 3 to 5 palmately-lobed leaves are up to 4 or rarely 5 x 5 inches in size. The smooth, matte-green foliage turns to orange and red during autumn.
The greenish-yellow, inconspicuous flowers appear during spring as the leaves emerge.
They are followed by spiky rounded brown fruit clusters up to 1 inches across.
The thick, orange-brown bark cracks into small plates.
Hardy from zones 5b to 10 and needs hot summers. Very drought tolerant; I have seen this used as a street tree in Santiago, Chile where rainfall in summer is extremely rare. THIS TREE IS CRITICALLY ENDANGERED IN THE WILD DUE TO LOGGING AND HABITAT LOSS. It is a top rated ornamental tree and its use in landscaping is encouraged.



* photos taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery


Liquidambar styraciflua ( Sweet Gum )
A large tree native to bottomland woods of the eastern U.S. from Missouri and Illinois to New Jersey; south to eastern Texas to central Florida. The Sweetgum can reach up to 80 feet or more.
Some records include: growth rate - 6 feet x 1 inch diameter; first year from seed - 16 inches; 5 years - 17 + feet; 6 years - 30 feet; 20 years - 47 x 25 feet; 30 years - 70 x 40 feet; 38 years - 80 x 40 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet; 70 years - trunk diameter of 4.4 feet; largest on record - 200 x 100 feet with a trunk diameter of 10 feet. Some of the largest known trees grew in the river valleys of the Neuse River in North Carolina and the Wabash Valley in Illinois. Due to over a century of destruction of our old growth hardwood forest, is unlikely that any forest giants above 150 feet in height or 7.5 feet in diameter remain in the U.S. today.
The Canadian champ ( not native ) is 66 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet at the cemetary in Port Dover, Ontario.
The Sweetgum is very adaptable thriving far from its native range in places such as Santiago, Chile, Vancouver to Cali, eastern Australia and much of Europe. Trees have exceeded 90 feet in England. A supurb shade tree with a moderately dense canopy; the strong wooded, wind firm Sweetgum is also long lived up to 400 years.
The glossy green leaves are up to 6 x 6 inches or rarely as much as 10 x 7 inches on vigorous shoots. They have 5 or 7 tapered lobes with margins that are finely toothed. Many people compare the shape of the leaves to Starfish. The foliage turns glowing orange, red and purple with often all colors on the same tree over the autumn season. The fall color typically lasts over a long period of time and is even intense in the Deep South and the West Coast. Seed source originating from a subspecies native to the mountains in Mexico is almost evergreen but not as cold hardy.
The flowers are greenish yellow and inconspicuous. They appear in spring as the leaves emerge.
They are followed by spiky rounded brown fruit clusters up to 1.5 inches across that often persist well into winter.
The twigs are red-brown, often with corky wings.
The gray-brown bark is deeply furrowed and ridged. The wood weights 37 pounds per square foot.
The wood is used for furniture, interior trim and veneer.
Hardiness varies depending on the seed source of the parent tree. The maximum hardiness ranges are zones 3 to 10. -35 F is the killing point for even the hardiest seed source and clones. Trees may not leaf out until June if temperatures reach -20 F and kill the leaf buds. It is hardy in cultivation north to southern Ontario and Maine. Sweetgum survives as a shrub at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada where it gets cut back to near ground level during hard winters. The Sweet Gum generally tolerates more winter extremes where summers are hot. They prefer soil PH from 4.5 to 7 and can develop chlorosis in higher PH soil. The Sweet Gum is not salt tolerant and should be kept free of turf competition when young. 60% of seedlings typically die in grassy areas.

* photos taken on April 15 2010 in Columbia, MD



* photos taken on April 18 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* photos taken on May 16 2010 @ Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD




* photo of unknown source on internet


* photos taken on 4th of July 2010 in Washington, D.C.

* photos of unknown source on internet

* photo taken on Oct 17 2011 in Columbia, MD

* Santiago, Chile photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on Nov 9 2011 in Columbia, MD


* photos taken on Nov 13 2011 in Columbia, MD


* photo taken on Nov 10 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Oct 23 2015 in Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken on Oct 26 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Nov 4 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Mar 16 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on July 25 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken Aug 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* photo taken on Sep 16 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* photo taken on Nov 5 2016 in Annapolis, MD

* photo taken on Nov 9 2016 in Annapolis, MD

* photo taken on Nov 19 2016 @ Annapolis, MD

* photos taken on Apr 14 2017 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* photo taken on Apr 27 2017 in Columbia, MD

* historical archive photos


'Aurea'
yellow striped leaves

* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery


'Cherokee'
Very cold hardy to -30 F; it is otherwise similar to species.

* photos taken on Aug 2 2012 in London, Ontario

* photos taken on Aug 30 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 25 2013 @ University of Maryland, College Park

* photo taken on Oct 21 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC


'Corky'
Similar to regular L. styraciflua, except for having very winged stems.

* photos taken on Mar 23 2011 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


* photos taken on Mar 18 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on Apr 14 2017 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD


'Festeri'
An Australian variety stays green very late in the fall and holds its leaves for much of the winter. The foliage often does color to purplish-red in fall.

'Golden Treasure'
foliage similar to 'Silver King' but has yellow margins. During fall the foliage often turns orange-red to deep red yet keeping its golden margins.

* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery


'Gumball'
A dwarf form that forms a large domed shrub, reaching a maximum size of 17 x 12 ( rarely over 7 x 6 ) feet. Some records include: 10 years - 8 feet; 27 years - 20 x 17 feet.
The glossy foliage turns to intense deep purplish-red over a long period during autumn.
It does not produce any fruit.

* photo taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on Feb 8 2015 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


'Happidaze'
Fast growing, up to 30 x 25 feet in 10 years; eventually much more.
The foliage is glossy, deep green turning deep maroon red in autumn. It has well spaced branches and a dense canopy.
With no seeds this makes for an excellent shade and street tree.
Hardy north to zone 5.

* photos taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014


'Lane Roberts'
Foliage begins changing color after mid summer turning to shades of orange and deep burgundy-red in autumn. The very persistant foliage may cling on the trees until March in the Deep South.
The bark is often smooth, unusual for a Sweetgum.

'Moraine'
Uniform habit and rapid growing with a very dense canopy. Foliage turns deep burgundy to purple in autumn. Orignating from a northern seed source this is a good selection for winter hardiness.

'Palo Alto'
Bright orange to red autumn color lasting over a long season.

'Rotundiloba'
Thick glossy leaves with rounded lobes. Generally seedless and very vigorous in habit; growth rates as much as 5 feet may occur with ideal conditions.


* photos taken on May 16 2010 @ Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD


* photos taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.



* photo taken on Oct 23 2012 in Harford Co., MD

* photo taken on Oct 17 2013 in Harford Co., MD

* photos taken on Nov 14 2015 in Harford Co., MD

* photos taken on Oct 2 2016 in Harford Co., MD

* photos taken on Nov 13 2016 in Harford Co., MD

* photos taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


'Silver King'
Rapid growing up to 20 x 15 feet in 10 years, eventually much more. Foliage is green with a broad creamy white margin. In autumn the margins turn to pink as the rest of the leaf turns red.
Hardy north to zone 5

* photos taken on May 6 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD





* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


'Slender Silhouette'
Better than a Lombardy Poplar; this fast growing columnar tree reaches up to 60 feet or more with a spread of only 6 feet! It is more narrow than the cultivar 'Fastigiata' which reaches up to 12 feet across. Excellent for confined areas. Fruit is rarely produced.
Hardy north to zone 5

'Variegata'
Gray-green leaves splashed with paler green and yellow blotches and streakes.

'Worplesdon'
Reaches about the same size as species. The long-lobed leaves have fall colors that are purple, orange and yellow, usually all at the same time.

* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery

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