Black Tupelo

April 12, 2018

Black Tupelo

Characteristics & Cultural Requirements

  • Height: 30-50’ Spread: 20-30’
  • Habit/Form: Round
  • Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Exposure: Full to part sun
  • Soil: Medium to wet soils

Ornamental Value

Also known as Sour Gum, this spectacular native tree is underused in our modern landscapes. As the importance of biodiversity becomes more apparent, it is important to have a variety of plant material in all of our landscapes. Natives get a bad rap for being messy or for the gardeny types, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are many natives, like the Black Tupelo that will fit right in to a contemporary landscape. The Black Tupelo, a slow-growing shade tree, has beautiful glossy green leaves for the summer. The flowers aren’t showy, but provide an excellent nectar source to local bees and the fall fruit are devoured by birds and other animals. The fall color is out of this world, and with shades of orange to scarlet red, it is sure to stop you in your tracks.

Landscape Uses

This lowland tree is perfect for those wet areas of the yard or that low spot that is subject to periodic flooding. It is tolerant of poor soils and works well as a street tree. Black Tupelo makes an excellent specimen shade tree when planted in groupings. Our landscape designer prefers it as a native substitute to the overused Maples and Pear trees.

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