At Native Forest Nursery we grow bare root seedlings and #3 container trees. Our container trees are grown in a #3 air pruned pot. This root making container eliminates nearly all potential for root wrapping. This allows for an excellent root structure and delivers an extremely healthy tree. The bare root seedlings at our nursery are grown in a sandy loam soil with high organic matter content, which provides an extremely healthy environment for our seedlings. Our bare root liners and seedlings are hand lifted, packaged, and kept in cold storage until you are ready to plant. Conservation uses for our products include reclamation, mitigation, reforestation, restoration, wildlife habitat improvement and wetland uses. Horticultural uses for our products include field liners, container liners, landscape plantings, budding stock, grafting stock and ornamental uses.

Family: Cornaceae
Latin Name: Nyssa sylvatica
Foliage: Dark green
Fall Foliage: Purple to bright scarlet
Bloom: Greenish-white
Bloom Time: May to June
Shape: Pyramidical to rounded crown
Bark: Thick blocky ridges
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Zone: Zone 3 to Zone 9
Size: 30 to 50 feet
Spread: 20 to 30 feet
Care: Medium, well drained soil

Popularly known as the Black Gum, this tree’s lovely binomial name—Nyssa Sylvatica—is derived in part from a Greek water nymph (named Nyssa) and is also partially in reference to the tree’s woodland habitat (sylvatica pertaining to forests). It is alternatively known as “Sourgum”, “Pepperidge”, “Tupelo”, and “Tupelo-Gum”. The Black Gum is a fantastic combination of beauty, refuge (for wildlife), and commercial use (as very workable timber). Native to the eastern United States, this tree can be frequently found in woodlands extending from Maine to Florida, as northward as Ontario and as far southwest as Mexico.

The Black Gum belongs to the Cornaceae family. It develops to a decent 30-50 ft., topped by a pyramidal or rounded crown, and its branches span out to roughly 20-30 ft. With a 3-9 hardiness zone rating, this species prospers in medium, well-drained soils and proliferates best in full sun to partial shade. The tree’s trunk is straight with a perpendicular array of extended branches which layered with a thick blocky bark that furrows with age to the point that it resembles alligator hide.

Deciduous in nature, the leaves of the Black Gum are leathery and lustrous, capricious in size and shape, and are a beloved treat for deer—so much so that too many deer can completely hinder the establishment and growth of a new tree. In May and June, the tree produces clusters of small green-white flowers for its many pollinators. The Black Gum’s true splendor shines through in autumn, when the pigment of its foliage transforms from dark green to spectacular mauve and purple, and then eventually to bright scarlet.

The Black Gum is adaptable and resilient, abiding brief floods and even fire: concerning flooding, the tree reestablishes itself commendably in erosion-prone areas and helps to contain the soil; regarding fire, the tree may survive even if its aboveground portions are burned because it will sprout again from the caudex or root crown. This tree can thrive amongst a mix of other tree varieties, as it is shade tolerant and grows favorably beneath more dominant trees, making an ideal woodland tree. As a source of food and shelter, the Black Gum can provide for foxes, black bears, white-tailed deer, beavers, and a great amount of bird species. Its timber is prized for its usage in non-splitting light woodwork, including (but not limited to) veneer, containers, pallets, docks, and wharves.

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