Liquidambar (Sweetgum)

Quick Facts

Liquidambar trees are wonderful shade trees if they’re in the right location. In the less-than-ideal spot, their intense roots and messy nature can prove to be quite high high maintenance. These are a prime example of why skilled plant placement matters, especially for the long-term value of a home! Not typically a tree we recommend planting, but the messiness can be absolutely worth the shade if you have a great one!


Not notably drought resistant, these typically need to be on your moderate watering schedule – especially if they’re on the younger side!


Liquidambars mature quickly, and are generally just behemoths of trees. Their large size makes dead and diseased branches that much more dangerous, so they should be inspected regularly for broken branches, signs of disease, and structural issues.


The awful little fruit they bear nearly all year are their worst trait – though the fruit is more of a pest to you than the tree. Near a patio, garden, or play area, these tough little ‘spikeyballs’ can cause a real menace of a mess.

Soil and Roots

These trees have strong root systems – great for the trees, but often spell trouble for homeowners when planted too closely to a house or foundation. We’ve seen them cause issues with in-ground pools, spas, patios, other solid surface foundations. The roots are often ground-level, and commonly break through concrete driveways and sidewalks.

Have questions, or need help pruning, planting, or caring for your plants and trees?  Schedule a visit with one of our ISA Certified Arborists!