web graphic
Seattle reLeaf
Seattle reLeaf Home PageBenefitsGet InvolvedPlanting and CareRestorationManagement PlanRegulations

Get Involved
Tree Ambassador
Trees For Neighborhoods
2017 Species
Frequently Asked Questions
Planting Considerations
Past Plantings
Ask Our Experts
Contact Us

spark imagination

Black Tupelo

tupelo street tree

Black tupelo trees make excellent street trees

Back to 2014 trees

Scientific Name: Nyssa sylvatica

Other Common Names: Black gum, sour gum, pepperidge

Under Power Lines:

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

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

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

black tupelo tree fall color

Black tupelo leaf in the fall

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

More Information:


Back to 2014 trees



Home | Benefits | Get Involved | Planting & Care | Restoration | Management | Regulations | Contact Us