Sweet Gums can be beautiful trees. The trees have a natural pyramidal shape with lush green foliage during the growing season that turns to spectacular colors in the fall. However, they have a significant litter problem – Gumballs, the fruit of the tree. The gumballs can be irritating with an almost continual drop from August through March. These can be unsightly as well as dangerous. There have been numerous injuries as a result of slips, trips and falls. Many homeowners and businesses have resorted to removing the trees to combat the nuisance fruit.
An alternative to removing the tree is to spray the tree in the spring with Florel. Florel is a synthetic growth regulator that we use to control the nuisance fruit of Sweet Gum trees. An effectively sprayed tree can have the fruit production reduced by 50 to 70 percent. Occasionally we can obtain more than 70 percent control but this should not be expected.
Please note: the timing of this spray is crucial. There is a short window of opportunity, usually 1-2 weeks in March or April. After the fruit sets, spraying will not help to control the fruit. If you would like a free estimate for spraying your Sweet Gum trees please call or request an estimate through our web site.
How it Works
The Florel is applied to the Sweet Gum tree when the flowers are at mid-full bloom stage. Ethephon, the active ingredient, is absorbed by the tree and is broken down into ethylene, a natural plant hormone that causes the fruit to mature more rapidly. Bananas, tomatoes, and many other vegetables picked green are ripened with Ethylene. The chemical does not persist in the environment and the tree is safe to walk under once the spray dries.
Sprays are applied with specialized high pressure tree spraying equipment. If the sprays are applied too early or too late they can be less effective. We apply Florel spray when the majority of blooms on the tree are at mid-bloom stage. It is very common for a tree to have various stages of flower development at any time during the spray application period. Typically there are some branches that reach full bloom after the majority of the tree has bloomed. Large trees will often have a staggered sequence of flowering with lower branches flowering first. The bloom sequence then progresses up the tree with the top of the tree usually flowering last. This sequence of flowering is the main reason we cannot guarantee full control of the gumballs.