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Black Tupelo

Nyssa sylvatica

Other Common Names: Black gum, sour gum, pepperidge

Under Power Lines:
No

Street Tree Planting:
Yes—minimum planting strip width of 6 feet. If planting a street tree, you must be approved for a permit.

Description:
This slow-growing deciduous tree makes an excellent street or yard tree and is known for its spectacular fall foliage.

Mature Height:
60 feet

Mature Spread:
20 feet

Leaves:
Deciduous tree with dark green summer foliage and brilliant fall color ranging from yellow to scarlet red to purple.

Flowers:
Small non-showy flowers provide an excellent nectar source for bees.

Cultural Notes:
Tree does best in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. The black tupelo has a long taproot, making it nearly impossible to move once the tree is established. Female trees need a male pollinator to set fruit.

Potential Problems:
No major problems, but some susceptibility to leaf spots, canker, rust, leaf miner, and scale.

Minimum Planting Distances:

  • 3 ½ feet back from the face of the curb
  • 5 feet from underground utility lines
  • 10 feet from power poles
  • 7 ½ feet from driveways (10 feet recommended)
  • 20 feet from street lights and other existing trees
  • 30 feet from street intersections

Additional Resources