when are you supposed to prune sweet gum trees?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BamaSuzy, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

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    I have a volunteer sweet gum tree that is growing beside the bunny barn. Because it is making a good shade there I plan to leave it. It is already taller than the roof having been growing about three years.

    It has several lower limbs that need to be trimmed off because I can't see to keep it cleaned under there in the summer with all the leaves weighing down the limbs.

    When would it be safe to cut or prune these limbs off? I would really like to keep this tree for shade and it looks like a nice healthy tree (and yes I know some folks say sweet gums are messy but this is between the bunny barn and the chickens larged fenced area so who cares)....
     
  2. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    It's been my experience that you can cut those trees to the ground and they will come right back up - I have one in my yard that I run over with the lawn tractor weekly and every week, it springs right back up. Hope springs eternal with these trees.

    I believe the best time to prune would be in the late fall when the sap is down and be sure to apply tree paint to keep the bugs out. I've never had really good success killing these trees on my place, even spraying with brush killer doesn't do it, so doubt that you'd kill the tree off by pruning some limbs.

    Sidepasser
     

  3. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree with Sidepasser. You can't kill them, and they can be darn hard to push over with a tractor. Although they provide great Fall color, do consider the gum balls. They can be a nuisance.
     
  4. jeffreyc256

    jeffreyc256 Well-Known Member

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    Prune in winter around Feb in central Alabama. You couldnt kill it with a nuke. They grow fast, up and out so consider that if it is real close to the building. Also because they grow so fast they are weak and tend to break and top out in wind and ice storms but they dont die.
     
  5. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    If you cut it level with the ground, odds are, next spring it'll shoot straight up at least as high as it is now, with a single stem, and from there start spreading outwards...

    like others mentioned, you can't kill em... I've bushhogged sweetgum and mulberry, and the next year they grow even faster...

    good luck
     
  6. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If it is a lite trim I would do it anytime, but if it is a Heavy trim, I would do it in stages or wait till Jan or Feb to do it. They are tough to kill, but there is no sence it hurting it if you don't have to. . Randy
     
  7. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

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    There were massive sweet gums where I grew up adjacent to this farm and we never had any problems with them blowing over or the tops blowing out.

    This one has pretty limbs and is a pretty shape except for too many limbs really close to the ground. I will make myself a note to trim it in January and put the note on the wall in the barn so I don't forget!!!!

    Thank you all!!!! :)
     
  8. Jerr4

    Jerr4 Poems Pears and Promises

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    You may prune limbs of a tree at anytime and please don't not put anything over the cut. Make sure make a angled cut so that water will not sit in the cut. All trees grow from the top up so if you trim lower branches they usually will not grow back. When we finish our house I have been requested to plant a Sweet Gum.