Medium, deciduous, North American tree
Description: Glossy, obovate to elliptical leaves turn shades of orange and crimson in fall; small, insignificant flowers in spring become ½”, black, edible yet sour fruits in fall
Habit: Grows 30-50 feet high and up to 30 feet wide; straight trunk and rounded crown when mature
Culture: Prefers average, moist to wet, acidic soils in full sun to part shade; adaptable but does not tolerate alkaline soils
Hardiness: Cold hardy to USDA Zone 3
Origin: Eastern North America
Attributes: Attracts birds; Fall color; Rain Garden
Black Gum is one of our handsomest medium-sized trees, native from Maine and Ontario, and south to Florida and Texas. Also known as Tupelo, Sour Gum, and Pepperidge, this species is valued for its gorgeous fall color and benefits to wildlife: the small, nectar-rich flowers are attractive to bees, while birds and other wildlife feast on the copious, sour fruits. The tree was introduced to American gardens by 1750. While Minister to France in the 1780s, Jefferson requested Black Gum plants, among many other natives, to be sent from America as gifts for his garden-loving French friends.
This species is dioecious, meaning a male and a female plant are both required for pollination and fruit set. Our plants are unsexed due to their immaturity; we recommend purchasing more than one plant to increase the likelihood of fruit production, including berries and seeds.
This plant will ship bare root. Approximately 2' tall.
Bare root planting tips:
~ If you can't plant immediately, store your plant in a cool location and keep the roots moist or pot in a container with a nursery potting mix from your local garden center.
~ Before planting, let the roots soak for several hours as you prepare the site. You'll want to dig a large enough hole so the root mass can spread out and the plant is at the same soil level as when it was growing in the nursery.
~ Once planted, water it in well and wait a month before fertilizing. Mulching will help to maintain moisture and raise soil temperatures for faster growth.