Sign In to join the community | Help
Lawn & Garden

Nyssa sylvatica, Black gum, Black tupelo

Common Name: Black gum

Type: tree

Family: Cornaceae

Zone: 3 to 9     Find Your Zone

Height: 30 to 50 feet

Width: 30 to 50 feet

Sun exposure: full sun to part shade

Fall Color: red orange and yellow

Soil: Damp to wet

Leaves: deciduous

Fertilizer: Vigoro Tree, Shrub and Evergreen or Miracle Gro Evergreen Tree Spikes


This tree has excellent fall color and does well in damp to wet places and can tolerate occasional flooding or standing water. Having a tap root makes it somewhat unique and nearly impossible to transplant. It is a very adaptable tree and can tolerate some drought and well drained dryer soil. This plant is dioecious, meaning that it comes in male and female and requires one of each to produce fruit and flowers which are insignificant. This makes a great lawn or street tree and is pretty resistant to insects and disease. Also referred to as Black tupelo. Check out our 8 Water Loving Trees.


STEP 1: Digging the hole

  • Find a location that has suitable sun exposure for your particular type of plant.
  • Dig your hole an inch or two shallower than the rootball of the plant.
  • Dig the hole twice the diameter of the rootball.
  • Scuff up the sides of the hole with a shovel to help roots break through the native soil.

STEP 2: Putting plant in hole

  • When removing the plant from the pot, check to see if the roots were circling the pot.
  • If the plant is rootbound, gently break up the roots with your hands until loosened up.
  • Set plant level, in the center of the hole.
  • Make sure the top of the rootball is just above soil level.

STEP 3: Amending the soil and filling in the hole

  • Amend the soil with proper amendments for your soil type. 
  • Incorporate 50% native soil with 50% amendment soils like garden soil, composted manure or soil conditioner.
  • Make sure dirt clods are broken up or removed from hole along with rocks.
  • Fill the hole with soils to the soil level and pack down. Do not cover top of rootball with dirt.
  • Water in thoroughly to remove air pockets.

STEP 4: Mulching and fertilizing

  • Cover the planting site with at least 2 inches of the mulch of your choice (pinestraw, cupress mulch,etc.)
  • High Phosphorus root stimulator fertilizers like Quick Start from Miracle Gro are great to use at time of planting.
  • When planting trees, a tree stake kit may be required to prevent the wind from blowing over or breaking our newly planted tree until it becomes established.

Find your closest local store
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2015-05-10T18:47:38+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL