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Author: cinesage One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 129272  
Subject: Cleaning up after sweet gum trees Date: 2/1/2009 5:14 PM
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Besides cutting them down (which DW would not like), does anyone have a suggestion as to how to survive these messy trees? We moved into our home last summer and I didn't know I had a problem until this winter. It seems that the hundreds of pods (balls) that drop (per tree, and I've got half a dozen!) each winter can't be picked up with my leaf blower's vacuum attachment. Instead, it turns them into even littler balls that are not heavy enough to flow into the bag so they just 'float' in the tube until I turn it off, when they fall to the ground like pebbles. And they aren't easy to rake either. If one doesn't pick them up, they litter the driveway, staining it, and, if they're left in the yard, they tear up one's lawn by weakening the root structure. I finally blew them into a big pile where I had to pick them up by hand (gloves are a must per their prickly surface). UGH! I used to think that river birch trees, with their endless branch droppings, were bad, but these sweet gum trees take the cake for being the biggest pain in the arse (even more than Bradford pears; sounds like I have a tree complex, huh?).
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Author: qazulight Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 99985 of 129272
Subject: Re: Cleaning up after sweet gum trees Date: 2/1/2009 8:06 PM
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Plant some pecan trees, the sweet gums will not seem so bad.


Seriously, save a sweet gum?

I was going to finish killing the sweet gums, and in the back plant a couple of Pecans. In the front, put in some long leaf pine, and one live oak. In the swamp I planted bald cypress. They love the swamp water.

But alas, I will let the place go. Still thinking long leaf pine and live oak. These are the ones that hold up best in hurricanes.



Cheers
Qazulight

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Author: madamhusker1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 99990 of 129272
Subject: Re: Cleaning up after sweet gum trees Date: 2/2/2009 12:59 AM
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We call those prickly things Monkey Balls.



Neighbor across the street has a VERY mature Sweet Gum, and I can't wait for it to die. They can't either. (Second owners... they inherited the tree.)


I'm hoping they'll get sick of it and take it out before it dies, or we have another major tornado. If it falls to the west, it'll take out at least half of my front yard.


I'd recommend using a blow torch on the monkey balls, but I assume you want to KEEP the rest of your landscaping.



MH 1


~ not much help today, sorry.

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Author: Watty56 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 100016 of 129272
Subject: Re: Cleaning up after sweet gum trees Date: 2/2/2009 2:19 PM
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... We moved into our home last summer and I didn't know I had a problem until this winter....

Part of me really hates to tell you this, but my inner child is a 5 year old who is snickering wishing I could see your face.

Anyway here goes;

Most of the sweet gum balls drop in the spring and then they taper off later in the year, you probably have not seen the peak yet.

In addition to the seed balls that drop, they also have about an equal number of male parts that resemble dusty pollen laden caterpillars that also drop from the trees.

On a more serious side, you should be especially careful of the balls, especially on stairs, because you can twist your ankle and trip.

They can also clog up your gutters and cause water to back up.

The roots of the sweet gum also tend to go for sewer lines and damage them. You should at least check where your sewer line is and try to keep the trees away from there.

They also tend to rot from the inside out and may fall unexpectedly.

On a brighter note there are several types of sweet gums so you might get lucky and not have the worst type.

Greg

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Author: geocarw Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 100045 of 129272
Subject: Re: Cleaning up after sweet gum trees Date: 2/3/2009 11:12 PM
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Besides cutting them down (which DW would not like), does anyone have a suggestion as to how to survive these messy trees?

Call your local tree service. They can (for a price) spray your tree which will prevent or reduce, the balls. Timing of the spraying is critical. http://agebb.missouri.edu/news/queries/showall.idc?story_num...

Good luck

George

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 100047 of 129272
Subject: Re: Cleaning up after sweet gum trees Date: 2/4/2009 1:20 AM
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<<Besides cutting them down (which DW would not like), does anyone have a suggestion as to how to survive these messy trees? We moved into our home last summer and I didn't know I had a problem until this winter. It seems that the hundreds of pods (balls) that drop (per tree, and I've got half a dozen!) each winter can't be picked up with my leaf blower's vacuum attachment. Instead, it turns them into even littler balls that are not heavy enough to flow into the bag so they just 'float' in the tube until I turn it off, when they fall to the ground like pebbles.>>


This sounds like a spouse who insists on keeping a pit bull with a track record of biting children.



Seattle Pioneer

Who expects trees to have good habits if they expect to survive on his property

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Author: PSUEngineer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 100048 of 129272
Subject: Re: Cleaning up after sweet gum trees Date: 2/4/2009 8:38 AM
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Who expects trees to have good habits if they expect to survive on his property

The seed balls are the only real bad habit of sweetgums. Other than that, they are great trees. They have nice red fall color. They bend instead of breaking so ice storms or high winds don't have much effect on them. They have a nice shape and provide good shade.

The problem with cutting them down is that it takes 20 or more years for a new tree to provide the same amount of shade that you may be seeking. I have five very large sweetgums on my property. If I cut them down, much of my yard would be in full sun which isn't that great during our hot summers. There is enough sun under the sweetgums to grow other trees. I have several wild maples and a planted oak growing under them. When they reach the right height, I will cut the sweetgums down.

There is also a seedless sweetgum out there. The other attributes of the tree are enough for me to consider planting one.

BTW, I get rid of the balls by using a rake with tines that are very close together.

PSU

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Author: cinesage One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 107323 of 129272
Subject: Re: Cleaning up after sweet gum trees Date: 3/29/2010 1:17 PM
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BTW, I found a solution to this problem earlier this year:

http://www.thenutwizard.com/index.html - see the video (http://www.thenutwizard.com/_fileCabinet/Nut_wizard_Cable_Co...)

There are a variety of "nut wizards" available through various websites (like the one listed above). I was about to buy one until my neighbor and I discussed the problem (4 of the 6 trees were on the property line between our homes), and I noticed the roots from one of the trees was destroying my front yard.

We paid someone to cut them down last month!

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 107324 of 129272
Subject: Re: Cleaning up after sweet gum trees Date: 3/29/2010 1:36 PM
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<<BTW, I found a solution to this problem earlier this year:

http://www.thenutwizard.com/index.html - see the video (http://www.thenutwizard.com/_fileCabinet/Nut_wizard_Cable_Co...


When I clicked on the link, I was expecting to see an axe ---- and a stump.


Seattle Pioneer

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