Cutting the sweetgum tree: timing, necessity and more

Cutting the sweetgum tree: timing, necessity and more

Cutting - not absolutely necessary

You can stay calm because: you don't necessarily have to cut your sweetgum tree. By nature, this wood has an appealing and harmonious structure. A round to cone-shaped crown builds up. While the crown is still narrow when young, in most varieties it becomes increasingly oval later.

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Things to cut away

However, under certain circumstances, pruning makes sense. As part of the maintenance and less with the intention of shaping, you should cut your sweetgum tree with loppers or a saw if you see the following shoots:

  • old and bald
  • crossing each other
  • directed inwards
  • growing downwards
  • ill
  • damaged (e.g. by squalls, lightning, etc.)

The right time to cut

As with most other trees, autumn is the perfect time to cut the sweetgum tree. An alternative is early spring. But in general you should prefer autumn. In spring (around April) it is ideal for cutting off shoots that have frozen in winter. You can recognize such shoots by the fact that they do not develop leaves.

A summer cut is also possible

If necessary, a cut can even be made in summer. However, this should only be the case if the side branches of the sweetgum tree hang too low and are therefore disturbing. They can be removed between June and August. Larger wounds should be treated with a wound product so that no pathogens can penetrate there!

Use the cuttings to multiply

The clippings don't have to end up on the compost! You can use the one-year and two-year shoots for propagation. The keyword is: cuttings. Please note:

  • 10 to 15 cm long
  • in possession of at least 3 buds
  • put in potting soil
  • place in a cool location (5 to 12 ° C)
  • plant out in spring
  • Cuttings can also be harvested from young trees in July

Can you cope with a real cut back?

The sweetgum tree is so easy to prune that you can prune it back harder. This can be necessary, for example, if it is too big. Mostly it is up to 4 m wide. More rarely, the crown reaches a diameter of up to 8 m.

If the tree is too big and protrudes towards the neighboring property, for example, cut it back in autumn! At the same time, you can - if necessary - thin it out in the crown area. He then drifts through well again.


The sweet gum tree 'Gumball' naturally has a spherical crown and therefore does not need a topiary either. Perfect as an ornamental tree in a solitary stand!