Plantidote of the Day 2012-09-11
Sweet gum tree
To tree or not to tree, that is the question. This small (14" high) volunteer sprouted in a container where something else was growing. Eventually, the other thing, whatever it was, got transplanted. Now I need to decide whether or not to plant this tree. Normally, the answer would be an enthusiastic "Hell, yes!" It's a nice tree, colorful, hardy, etc. But there's a dark side....
Liquidambars are famous for the horrible little spiny balls of pain they drop everywhere. There are two of these trees in the front yard, and they're still shedding balls from last fall. Stepping on one of these on the sidewalk is like stepping on a marble -- you'll be on your keister in no time. So there's lots of sweeping and cleaning up with these trees.
Liquidambars are deciduous, too, so there's leaves, lots and lots of leaves. Leaves I can live with. Spiny balls, no.
Otoh, I hate to kill a tree just because it's doing what trees do. And if I plant it in the backyard, the spiny balls will just go in the ivy and stay there.
So let's take a vote -- plant it where it can't do much harm, or trash it and get a better tree. What do you think?
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