Preventing a Sweetgum Tree From Making Balls

Sweetgum trees are a fall beauty with their variegated colorful leaves. However, for many homeowner's this display does not make up for the deluge of spiny seed pods that litter their yard. This is a guide about preventing a sweetgum tree from making balls.

February 26, 2011 Flag
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How do I get rid of gumballs?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By Linda from IL

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February 27, 20110 found this helpful

What in the hell are gumballs?

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March 4, 20110 found this helpful

Look up Sweet Gum trees on the internet. Like the pine tree has pine cones, the sweet gum tree has gum balls. They are small round balls with sharp spikes all around them. You would only have to step on one of them bare-footed one time and you would never forget what they are!

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March 4, 20110 found this helpful

You can collect the sweetgum balls (dried ones), spray paint and glitter them, and either use them on Christmas gifts

or Christmas trees, in bowls on the table on in clear glass vases or baskets with natural pine cones. They make really pretty ornamental touches for wreaths for every season when left natural, and I've used them in floral arrangements by gluing them onto thin sticks and placing them right in with cut, dried

or silk flowers.

You might not be able to prevent them from falling to the ground, but you can sure find lots of crafty uses for them.

There are people who will buy them for craft uses as well.

Hope this helps.


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March 5, 20110 found this helpful

I would pay postage to send me some! They are supposed to be good for spiders. I put some out several years ago and worked like a charm.

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Anonymous Flag
March 17, 20110 found this helpful

Very few of the many seeds are fertile. Gum balls can be tilled into compacted soil for aeration, minding the pH, of course.

I appreciate the craft ideas certainly, as my garden is polluted with balls from my (well-liked) neighbor. Are they a sourde for storax gum? Not sure, find your own web info at your own risk.

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March 18, 20130 found this helpful

I have a whole big pile of sweet gumballs inback of my shed here in Springfield, Missouri. Anyone that wants them is welcome to them. Just email me and I will tell you where I live. cjpage1954 AT

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January 28, 2014 Flag
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What is the capsule called you put in the drilled holes so they don't produce sweet gum balls or fruit?

By Kathy

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April 14, 20150 found this helpful

It is called "Snipper". They come in packs of 25 and you place them every 4 inches around the base of the tree. They are $155 per pack. Too expensive for me!

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Anonymous Flag
April 6, 20160 found this helpful

I heard you can drill a hole in the tree to its core and drive a copper ground rod in there and within a year it should quit producing balls ?????

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March 26, 2011 Flag
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How can I prevent sugar gum tree balls?

By Bob from Magnolia, TX

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March 26, 20110 found this helpful

About the only thing I can think of is to remove the tree. You could call your ag. extension service, but I don't know that you can prevent an existing flowering plant from making seeds. There may or may not be varieties that do not make the balls, but what you have is what you've got right now.

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Anonymous Flag
March 25, 20160 found this helpful

call a lawn service and have the tree sprayed in the fall.

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Anonymous Flag
May 14, 20160 found this helpful

A vasecto-tree?

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April 18, 2010 Flag
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How can I keep my sweet gums from making balls?

By Wyatt from Sallisaw, OK

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April 25, 20100 found this helpful

From Cleveland Ohio -

I have had Davey Tree come out and spray the tree to help relieve the amount of monkey balls. However, it by no stretch totally eliminates the quantity. It simply reduces the quantity. This procedure was mentioned to me by a friend who is a naturalist for the local metroparks. He said they spray the sweet gums on a few of the parks' golf courses each year.

Here are a few detals. I had a very tough time finding a party that does this stuff. Davey Tree happens to be a major player in our area. Cost was shy of $100 for a very large tree. The tree is sprayed in the spring right around the time germination begins.

Also, I last had it sprayed a few years ago and that year my breathing (nose constantly blocked in the evening) was pathethic. It got to the point where I would walk around outside in the middle of the night hoping my nasal passages would open up. Was it the tree or not? I don't know. However, it just so happens that my breathing has not been that bad since then.

Best of luck ... to me, these balls are a major pain. Just can't afford to have the tree taken down, though.

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September 17, 20100 found this helpful

We have four lovely sweet gums in our backyard. The thorny gumballs are worth putting up with for the beauty and joy of these magnificent trees. I do not know the age of these trees but they are huge, and as one poster has already commented, they hold up very well to high winds. We also get temporarily side flooding and these trees have stood that test as well. In the Fall, their colors are gorgeous. I don't see the problem.

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February 18, 20110 found this helpful

Seriously? You navigate the frozen tundra your driveway has become for nearly 3 weeks, then nearly bust your butt on a spiney ball!

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