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Tupelo - Black

Scientific Name: Nyssa sylvatica
Best Planted in USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9.
 

$32.95

Plant Quick Guide

Growing Zones:

4-9.

Mature Height:

30-50 ft

Mature Width:

20-30 ft

Spacing:

20-30 ft

Growth Rate:

Slow

Flower Color:

Green-white
  • Description
  • Planting
  • Care
The Black Tupelo, also known as the Black Gum or Pepperidge tree, is a native tree to North America and provides excellent ornamental value to your landscape. This deciduous tree has a slow growth rate but generally reaches 30 to 50 feet in maturity height with a beautiful rounded shape and straight trunk. The leaves are a dark, glossy green and vary in shape in stretch. They change to shades of red, orange, yellow, and sometimes purple in the fall. Spring gives way to tiny flowers that turn to small, dark blue, non-toxic fruits each fall, feeding the birds and other wildlife. Black Tupelo is generally a low-maintenance ornamental or shade tree, hardy in USDA Zones 4-9.
First, decide on a planting location. Consider carefully what kind of sun, soil, and growing-space your tree or shrub will need. Once you've located the perfect spot, the hole you are digging must be at least double the width and as deep as the root system you are planting. The top of the root system should be level with the ground. Before placing the tree or shrub in the hole, use your hands to gently break up the root system. Once the tree is in place, backfill the hole with native soil and any leftover potting material. Pack down the soil to eliminate any air pockets. When finished, water thoroughly. To insure your plants a successful growth rate and productive life, plant your seedlings per the instructions included in your Plant Me Green package.
Black gum trees are generally low-maintenance. Plant this tree in full to partial sunlight. It prefers loamy soil with an acidic pH and good drainage. But it can handle a spot with poor drainage and even some standing water. It also is moderately tolerant of clay soil, as well as gravelly or sandy soil. Even though they take many years to reach their mature size, they must be planted in an area that allows them plenty of room to grow. That’s because these trees have a long taproot that reaches deep into the ground, which can be difficult to remove without harming the tree if you ever had the need to transplant it. It’s also not recommended to plant this tree near walkways, patios, and other areas that get a lot of foot traffic to avoid stepping on its dropped fruit. Otherwise part of your tree maintenance might involve cleaning up the fruit each year.

Trees in their first growing season will need regular watering, but after that you likely won’t have to worry about watering unless your climate is dry. The black gum tree doesn’t require much pruning beyond trimming branches to retain your desired shape and removing any parts that are damaged, diseased, or dead. If any of the lower branches are drooping downward, you can prune those off if you wish to make walking around the tree easier. The best time for general pruning is in the late fall or the late winter after the coldest weather has passed, though you can take off problematic branches at any point.

Feed this tree annually in the fall using a slow-release granular fertilizer. In general, use 2 cups of fertilizer per every inch of trunk diameter, measuring the trunk at about 4 feet off the ground. Sprinkle the fertilizer into the soil around the tree in an area that extends 1.5 times the distance from the trunk to the tips of the branches.

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