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Firestarter® Black Gum

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A beautiful native variety producing foliage that matures to a glossy dark green, then fiery scarlet in fall earlier than other cultivars; upright, narrow oval habit with upswept branching; needs moist, organic, acidic soils; intolerant of urban pollution

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Characteristics

Average Landscape Height:
35 feet
Average Landscape Width:
18 feet
Growth Rate:
medium
Genus:
Nyssa
Species:
sylvatica
Cultivar:
JFS-red
Summer Foliage Color:
forest green
Fall Color:
scarlet
Minimum Light:
partial shade
Maximum Light:
full sun
Minimum Moisture:
average
Maximum Moisture:
moist
Plant Form:
oval
Canopy:
low
Pruning:
late winter pruning
Other Species Names:
Tupelo, Black Tupelo, Sour Gum, Pepperidge
Branching:
excurrent

Ornamental Features

Firestarter® Black Gum is primarily valued in the landscape for its decidedly oval form. It has forest green deciduous foliage. The glossy pointy leaves turn an outstanding scarlet in the fall. It produces black berries in early fall. The furrowed black bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Landscape Attributes

Firestarter® Black Gum is a deciduous tree with a strong central leader and a shapely oval form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

Planting & Growing

Firestarter® Black Gum will grow to be about 35 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 18 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 3 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 70 years or more.

This tree does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the foliage in alkaline soils. It is quite intolerant of urban pollution, therefore inner city or urban streetside plantings are best avoided, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selection of a native North American species.

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