It is probable that the fiery foliage first led people to suppose this tree to be a relative of the sweet gum. The dark gray bark is smooth when immature, becoming cracked as the tree ages. The leaves are elliptical ovals and green during the growing season. (Zones 5-9) Leaves turn yellow-purple-red in the fall, and stay on the tree quite late. On sprouts or young trees, the leaves may have a few coarse teeth. This "black gum" can be readily distinguished from the red gum, or liquidambar, as far as the colour of the trunks can be made out. The soil where I live has a high clay content and I'm in zone 9. No â¦ You painfully find them with your feet. Sweetgum tree leaves mottled with black. Black gum is an excellent choice to add autumn color to your garden. The Sweet Gum tree is the sand spur of the forest. Grows 60'-70', with a 45' spread. Last time I checked, trees were all blind and pollination was pretty much random (like going on eHarmony for the first time). When tins of leaf margins turn dark and curl like in the pictures, this could be a water issue. The only edible part of the tree is the dried sap [â¦] Avoid polluted sites. So what advantage do trees like Japanese maple, dogwood, Bradford pear, and black gum gain by turning red in fall? Hi All, One of my 2 Sweet Gum Trees (I'm pretty sure that's what they are) is having an issue where the edges of the leaves are turning black. They don't do it to impress potential mates. The 2 trees are about 4 feet apart and have virtually identical watering and sun exposure. It can be an excellent shade tree in the right location, away from foot traffic where the spiky "gumball" fruits will not be an annoyance. Flower and fruit: Flowers are small and insignificant. Native habitat: Dry hills or wet flatlands of the eastern U.S.; a Kentucky native. The black gum is susceptible to fungal diseases including botryosphaeria canker, leaf spot infections and heart rot infections. Perhaps it is time for some rehabilitation. We have two sweet gum trees in our backyard that are mature and their leaves appear healthy, but one tree trunk near the ground has black bark. Tree size: This slow-growing tree attains a height of 30 to 50 feet and a width of 20 to 30 feet. They grow together-both large trees in the bottom lands of the South. Its shape is pyramidal, becoming more rounded with age. Leaves turn yellow, orange, red to purple in the fall. I thought it was strange that the tops of many Sweet gum trees is missing on many of these mature trees. Deep, glossy green star-shaped leaves mark the Sweetgum. The maple is a genus with about 128 different species, including the vine maple ( Acer circinatum ), hornbeam maple ( Acer â¦ Other trees with "maple-like" leavesâthe sycamore, sweetgum, and yellow-poplarâhave leaves that are alternate in arrangement. Growth habit: Pyramidal when young, black gum develops an irregular rounded or flat-topped form with age. The vicious seed pods have impaled many a forager and has done much to ruin the Sweet Gumâs reputation. Sweet-gum is known for its unique star-shaped leaves with outstanding yellow, red, and purple fall color. In the fall, the leaves turn yellow, orange, red and burgundy. The black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) is a deciduous tree that is originally from the United States.It is favored for its brilliant fall foliage and its winter form, which displays attractively dropping branches over time. Bark: Bark Color: Black Light Gray Surface/Attachment: Ridges Bark Plate Shape: Rectangle Square Bark Description: If an appropriate space is available, check out the cold-hardy cultivar, 'Moraine', which is recommended for northern Illinois. Sweet Gum Tree Losing Leaves When any part of a tree goes black, it indicates too much moisture which gives way to wilt, disease, pests, decay or death. Rarely reaches 100 feet in the wild. Leaves are 3 to 6 inches long and 1/2 to 3 inches wide, alternate, roughly oval with sharp, blunt points.