The Sweet Gum family are unrivaled in their autumn colour displays. Liquidambar styraciflua boasts large, deeply lobed star shaped foliage that is a glossy, mid-green throughout the spring and summer. When autumn arrives the leaves turn vivid reds and oranges in a breath taking display. The bark is corky and fissured giving an interesting texture that is popular with children for bark rubbings.
Liquidambar styraciflua is a medium sized, slow growing tree with an upright habit and will reach 10 x 6 metres in 20 years. It prefers a position in moist to well-drained soil in full sun where possible. Originating from the USA, it is often called an American Red Gum due to its red autumn colour and it is certainly one of our favourites for striking autumn colour.
AKA Sweet Gum tree, American Red Gum, American Sweet Gum, Alligator tree
Our pot grown Red Sweet Gum trees can be planted at any time of the year. Begin by removing weeds and grass within a metre of your desired planting hole, then dig a square hole as deep as your root mass and approximately 2x as wide. We advise sprinkling root grow in the hole to help it establish.
Gently loosen the roots and place into the planting hole. Mix 50% of the original soil with 50% high quality compost, fill in the hole and firm around gently. Avoid banking the soil up around the collar of the tree as this can cause problems. Use a stake and tie to help anchor the roots - instructions are in the full planting guide.
If you’re planting American Sweet Gum in spring or summer, water well and regularly for the first few months. Keep an eye on it and increase watering if there are extended periods of hot or dry weather. If you’re planting in autumn, you may only need to water a little. Consider using an irrigation kit to make it easier.
Once planted, keep the area free of competing weeds and grass for the first few growing seasons. If your area is prone to rabbits, use a rabbit guard to protect the trunk.
Tip: if you are mowing grass near a Sweet Gum tree, it is best to remove any seedballs first as they can cause a problem for lawnmower blades.
American Red Gum trees do not require regular pruning, but you can trim them if they look a little untidy. The ideal structure is for one central leader, so if you see any competing branches, remove the weakest along with any suckers. The best time of year to prune a Sweet Gum tree is January or February.
1 small tree (most under 1.5 metres in height) : £9.95 + vat
1 medium tree (most 1.5-2 metres in height) or 2-4 small trees: £11.95 + vat
2+ medium trees or 5+ small trees: £14.95 + vat
1-4 trees delivered by pallet to kerbside (inc. mature Japanese Maples): 24.95 + vat
Mature trees, pleached trees or orders too large for pallet: Cost is calculated in the checkout process and varies by postcode not quantity. Starts from £48 + vat.
The above prices exclude the Scottish Highlands, where delivery starts from £24.95 + vat and is calculated in the checkout process. Please note, we are unable to deliver outside of Mainland UK.
All trees are carefully packed by our experienced team and most are delivered within 3 weeks of placing the order, unless stated otherwise. There's no need to be in to receive your order and you can request where it is left via the checkout.
For pleached and mature trees (trees over 2.5m in height), we group orders together by geographic area for specialist delivery - we will contact these customers about the delivery date.
Trees on pre-order are still growing and an estimate of when they will be ready is on the product/basket page. Orders are despatched once all trees are ready.
Gift trees and those required by a specific date can be accommodated with pleasure, although we accept no legal responsibility for late deliveries.
To collect trees, please book an appointment. Delivery charges will be refunded.
The product table at the bottom of the page gives the forms and sizes available for this variety. Please note, photos are a guideline as all plants are unique. *Pot sizes may vary. Below are definitions of terms:
Supplied Size: Height measured from the top of the pot.
Single Stem / Pruned and shaped: Classic shaped tree with a single stem that has had pruning to help create a beautiful, natural shape.
Top grafted: A height noted next to this form refers to the length of clear stem, which will not grow taller. Only the head of branches will develop. Top grafted trees do not require complicated pruning and are ideal for small spaces.
Feathered: A feathered tree has branches from the bottom of the trunk all the way up. These branches can be removed if a clear stem is required.
Multi Stem: A multi stem tree has two or more stems arising from or near ground level, growing from one root system.
Bush: A plant with many stems low down, rather than one clear stem.
Clump: Several plants in one pot that can give the appearance of a multi stemmed and very bushy tree.
Climber: A plant that is a natural climber and will be delivered usually running up a bamboo cane, ready to position in the garden.
Standard Tree: A more mature tree with an upright clear stem of approximately 1.8m-2.0m (measured from the soil to the lowest branches of the crown). Standards are available in different forms relating to their girth size (circumference of the stem measured 1m above soil level), not height:
Standard either 6-10cm or 8-10cm girth, approximately 2.5-3.0m in height
Premium Standard 10-12cm girth, approximately 3.0-3.5m in height
Heavy Standard 12-14cm girth, approximately 3.5-4.5m in height
Extra Heavy Standard 14-16cm girth approximately 4.0-6m in height
|Plant Specification||Form||Supplied Size||Root type||Price||Quantity Qty|
|Single Stem Tree||150-200cm||10L pot*||£44.99 (ex VAT) Was £64.99 (ex VAT)|
|Multi-stem||150-200cm||15L pot*||£64.99 (ex VAT)|
|Clump||150-200cm||15L pot*||£79.99 (ex VAT)|
|Heavy Standard Tree, 12-14cm girth||approx 3.5-4.5m||45L pot*||£249.99 (ex VAT)|