There is an age-old problem that almost all gardeners eventually have to face: Too many plants for too little space. For me, this realization happened five years ago, when I had reached the limit of how many trees I could plant in my relatively small yard. Still, I visited gardens across the country and saw new trees I liked, only to tell
myself, over and over again, that I simply did not have the space for another one. That was until I met ‘Slender Silhouette’ sweetgum and fell head over heels in love because it could fit almost anywhere. This is a compact, columnar tree with an impressive mature height and a width of only 3 to 6 feet, so it takes up little precious space. Its great architectural form makes it a focal point like no other.
Unlike other sweetgums, which drop scores of macelike fruit all over the place, ‘Slender Silhouette’ only produces minimal fruit, which drop in a small area due to the tree’s narrow structure. This sweetgum’s foliage is deep green in summer and then turns yellow, orange, red, or burgundy in fall. It also tolerates a wide range of soils, including clay.
Problems These trees are rarely attacked by pests, but bleeding necrosis, a fungal disease, can occasionally be a problem. When infected, the tree will look like a can of oil has been poured on its bark at the soil line. Although there is no known treatment, experts believe that raising the soil grade around the tree fosters this disease. -Mary Anne Thornton gardens in Louisville, Kentucky, and serves on the boards of the Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and the Bernheim Arboretum. From Fine Gardening 148, Like it / love it
- Zones : 10, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
- Plant Width : 3 to 6 feet
- Plant Seasonal Interest : Fall Interest
- Light : Full Sun
- Maintenance : Low
- Characteristics : Showy Foliage
- Plant Type : Trees