Would you identify this tree?

Asked August 24, 2015, 3:04 PM EDT

Could you please identify these tall, narrow trees, and tell me how to care for them? There are three in my new yard. They might be, according to my Audubon book, black tupelo, Nyssa sylatica. And can you give me advice on their care?

Anne Arundel County Maryland nyssa sylvatica black gum trees

1 Response

Yes, this looks like black gum. They prefer moist, well-drained, acid deep soil, but in the wild will grow in anything from poor soils to swamps. Also will grow in full sun to semi shade. Keep out of high winds. Does not tolerate high pH.

All this means that you should avoid using a lot of lime on your lawn in the root zone of your tree. Otherwise, you don't have a lot of control over growth or conditions. You can mulch in the root zone, but as always no more than 1-2" deep and keep off the trunk. It is a fairly slow grower--4-6 inches a year. Prune in fall, but it shouldn't need pruning.

This is a highly desirable native tree because of its beautiful fall color, glossy leaves in season, and value of drupes for wildlife.

ECn