Black Gum Tree
Black Gum Tree-Nyssa sylvatica
The Black Gum Tree is often known by three other names, the Pepperidge, Black Tupelo, and Sour Gum tree. There are many nicknames given to this specimen including the bowl gum and wild pear tree. The Black Tupelos can reach as tall as 60 feet and as broad as 25 to 30 feet when mature providing a full canopy that blocks the sunlight offering plenty of shade for gardens, decks, and medium to large yards. Some of the plants can get to 80 feet tall in the right conditions. These trees are commonly used in parks, nature zones, wildlife areas, commercial lots, farms, and fall viewing destinations because of their vibrant Autumn colors. The colors on each branch range from vivid yellows and oranges to bold scarlets, fiery reds, and brilliant purple hues. The plant has oval-shaped, dark green leaves that are incredibly shiny unless they are planted in acidic soil where they will be duller with a subdued green color. Many people recognize the Gum Trees by their bluish-black fruits that resemble blueberries and the dark gray, blocky bark that has deep shades of gray and black between the squares of wood. The berries invite many species of birds and wildlife to their presence.
Often grown in hardiness zones four through nine, the Black Gum Tree is a slow to moderately growing plant that can gain between 12 to 24 inches each year. The tree prefers full sun, but it can quickly adapt to partial shade, especially if it is transplanted while in the younger stages of growing. It should have at least four hours of full sun to get the most color and growth out of the specimen. The Pepperidge Tree does well in loamy, acidic, sandy, and well-draining soils. It is versatile and adapts nicely to dry or alkaline soil, but it does decrease the boldness of the colors and the deep hue of glossy green that is typical of the Black Gum Tree leaves.