How to Prune Sweetgum Trees

Sweetgum trees, commonly referred to as liquid ambers (based in their genus name of Liquidambar), are hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5b throughout 10a. They have shiny, dark green , star-shaped leaves which turn purple red in late autumn. Exotic Exotic trees grow 60 to 70 feet tall with a canopy spread up to 45 feet. Liquid amber includes a pyramidal shape which becomes more rounded with age. Good pruning assists in blossom, fruit and fresh tree growth, while pruning leaves the tree more vulnerable to disease and may ruin its evolution. Trees in early spring or late winter before new growth begins.

Examine the tree to determine which branches must be pruned. Look for dead, split and broken branches, in addition to rubbing and jagged branches.

Cut back suckers down to the soil for suckers. Suckers shoot from the tree’s bottom and needs to be removed as they occur. Pruning the suckers prevents roots from developing, helping to meet the frequent sweetgum problem of invasive roots.

Decide on a ladder up on level ground solidly against the tree trunk to achieve branches which are too high to reach from ground level. Do not set.

Reduce any branches which need trimming to shape the tree or that have grown too long. As a shrub with a central boss, liquid ambers need only pruning that is cosmetic. These trees grow so quickly that branches can escape control and have to be trimmed back to avoid damaging different trees or obstructing views. If you don’t intend to remove the branch 18, never cut over one-third of the period of a branch.

Cut branches which may be achieved in the ground with lopping shears or hand shears; cut the stems back to inside inch of a branch or bud. Buds that alternate generally grow in the direction that they tip, so cut the stems back to a bud that points outward to steer clear of growth crossing branches that are different or growing into the tree canopy.

While cutting cut branches that are larger not within reach with rod saw pruners, using caution to ensure branches do not fall on you edge. Create a 45-degree cut for an intersecting lateral division. Cutting on branches assists in healing and prevents water from lying in the cut, which might encourage fungal growth.

In which the branch and back meet cut thick, heavy branches using a rod saw or chain saw just outside the branch collar. The branch collar includes compounds to help in healing; cutting into the collar triggers a critical back wound that could cause disease or wood decay fungi. Cut the branches at a 45-degree angle to permit water run-off and encourage recovery.

Step away from the tree periodically to inspect the tree and determine just how much more needs to be removed to reach the desired shape.

See related