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Liquidambar styraciflua Tree

Sweet Gum Trees
  • From £49.99 (ex VAT)
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The sweet gum family are unrivaled in their autumn colour displays. This medium sized, slow growing tree boats 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, the common name Alligator tree stems from this feature.

The tree itself has an upright habit and will grow to 10 x 6 metres in 20 years when given a position is moist or damp soil in full sun where possible. A really beautiful addition to the garden and one of our favourites for explosive autumn colour.

AKA Sweet gum, Red gum, Satinwood. Alligator tree

  • Common name: Sweet gum tree
  • Height and spread in 20 years: 10 x 6 metres
  • Season of interest: Spring, Summer, Autumn
  • Foliage: Green lobed leaves transform to shades of orange, red and purple in autumn
  • Soil: Suited to moist, free-draining sites and most soil types

Planting Advice for Liquidambar Styraciflua trees

When planting Liquidambar trees, such as the sweet gum tree, it is important to prepare the planting area well. Pot grown liquidambar trees can be planted at any time of the year. You will need to carry out the following to prepare your planting site.

Firstly, remove all weeds and grass within a metre of your desired planting hole then dig a hole as deep as your root mass and approximately 2x as wide. We recommend digging a square hole as this encourages the roots to grow straight as opposed to around inside the hole. To help your tree establish more effectively, we advise applying root grow (sprinkle in the hole for pot grown trees), especially if you have poor soil. Gently loosen the roots and place into the planting hole.

If your soil is poor, mix 50% of the original soil with 50% high quality compost, fill in the hole and firm around gently. Make sure not to bank the soil up around the collar of the tree as this can cause problems. To see how to use a tree stake and tie, watch our informational how to videos.

Aftercare Advice for Sweet Gum trees

If you’re planting in dry weather, water well and regularly for the first few months. The same goes for spring and summer planting. Make sure to keep an eye on your young tree 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 your tree a little. We also stock a range of irrigation kits, suitable for a variety of planting schemes.

Once planted, it is important to keep the area free of competing weeds and grass for the first couple of growing seasons. Using a glyphosate based weed killer or installing mulch matting and bark chips will aid in this. Do not simply mow the grass around the area as this will only encourage it to grow more vigorously. A point to note, if you are mowing your grass, nearby a liquidambar tree, it is best to remove any seedballs first. These can cause a problem for the lawnmower blades. If you know your area is prone to rabbits, we would advise using a rabbit guard.

Pruning Advice for Alligator trees

Sweet gum trees do not require regular pruning however you can still trim your liquidambar tree if it looks 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 liquidambar tree is between January and February.

Delivery Timescales

Most deliveries are made within a week of placing the order. All trees are carefully packed by our experienced team, with many despatched to our tried and tested couriers within 24 hours (please allow up to 10 days). There's no need to be in to receive your trees and you can request where they are left via the checkout.

There is a slightly longer timescale on pleached and mature trees (trees over 2.5m in height) because we group orders together by geographic area for specialist delivery - we will contact these customers to notify them of the delivery date and whether the delivery driver needs assistance.

Gift trees and those required by a specific date can be accommodated with pleasure, although we accept no legal responsibility for late deliveries.

Our nursery is a busy despatch centre, so please make an appointment to collect or view trees.  For collections, despatch charges will be refunded.

Delivery Costs

1 small tree (most trees with a height under 1.5 metres) : £7.95 + vat

1 medium tree (most trees 1.5-2 metres in height) or 2-4 small trees: £9.95 + vat

2+ medium trees or 5+ small trees: £12.95 + vat

1-4 large trees (trees too large to fit in a box): £19.95 + vat

Mature, pleached or 5+ large trees: Cost is calculated in the checkout process and varies by postcode. You can buy additional trees with no increase in delivery cost.

The above prices exclude the Scottish Highlands, where delivery starts from £24.95 + vat and is calculated in the checkout process.

Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and Non Mainland UK

Our courier charges are not viable for just one or two trees, but if you have a larger requirement then please do speak to us to see if we can find a solution.

Below are definitions of various forms, which refer to the shape of the tree defined by the pruning it has received. For more advice, please contact us.

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.

Multi Stem: A multi stem tree is has two or more stems arising from or near ground level, growing from one root system. Take care to buy a true multi-stem like all ours and not those that are 3 saplings in a pot to cheaply imitate them.

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.

Bush: A plant with many stems low down, rather than one clear stem.

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 branch), which supports a branched 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

The table below gives sizes and forms available for this variety, along with photos you can enlarge (these are only a guideline as all plants are unique so vary).

Plant Specification Form Supplied Size Root typePrice Quantity Qty
Liquidambar styraciflua Tree Form: Pruned & Shaped Tree Supplied Size: 150-200cm Root type: 10L pot Liquidambar styraciflua Tree Price £49.99 (ex VAT)
Pruned & Shaped Tree 150-200cm 10L pot £49.99 (ex VAT)
1
Liquidambar styraciflua Tree Form: Multi-stem Supplied Size: 100-120cm Root type: 7.5L pot Liquidambar styraciflua Tree Price £49.99 (ex VAT)
Multi-stem 100-120cm 7.5L pot £49.99 (ex VAT)
1
Liquidambar styraciflua Tree Form: Multi-stem Supplied Size: 150-200cm Root type: 12L pot Liquidambar styraciflua Tree Price £59.99 (ex VAT)
Multi-stem 150-200cm 12L pot £59.99 (ex VAT)
1
Total: £0.00 (VAT Free)
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