Beware Of This Colorful Tree That Looks Great In Your Yard But Wrecks Your Feet

If you're searching for a gorgeous tree to add to your landscaping, sweet gums (Liquidambar styraciflua) can look very appealing, but you might want to think twice about this tree before planting it in your yard. These trees have star-shaped leaves that turn into a stunning array of yellow, red, orange, and purple colors in the fall, and they can grow to 70 feet tall, making them great for supplying shade and beautifying your backyard. Unfortunately, they also produce an enormous amount of fruit referred to as gumballs. This may sound harmless, but the gumballs are covered in spikes, which can really hurt if you or your pet step on one.

Though the sweet gum tree can get a little prickly, it can also bring birds and pollinators to your yard. These trees produce beautiful floral clusters when they flower in the spring, but if you want to avoid cleaning up their fruit, you may want to steer clear of planting them.

Beware the sweet gum's fruit

Because of how much of a nuisance the sweet gum's fruit is, let's just say you might want to avoid planting this tree close to your house. Not only will the gumballs hurt your feet when stepped on, but they're also easy to trip over and can create a fall risk, especially if your property has hills. Additionally, the gumballs can be annoying to clean up. 

Near the end of summer, the fruit will start to dry out and eventually fall off the tree in autumn. These gumballs will continue to cover the ground throughout winter and the start of spring, creating an abundance of extra yard work. Because the sweet gum's fruit is so abundant, it can make it harder to cut your grass and might end up stuck in your gutters or drains. Though these trees will grow super tall and can be a beautiful addition to your yard, you'll want to think about whether having its spiky seed pods all over your grass, sidewalks, and driveway is worth it.