Posted by: Dan Sprague | May 27, 2012

Gum Balls in Arkansas

We have a sweet gum tree in our yard in Florida and it is not much of a problem. The gum balls it drops are soft and fall apart quickly.  My sisters yard in Arkansas has 4 or 5 sweet gum trees in her yard and all I can say is they are not yard friendly up there.

The trees are wonderful shade trees but the Gum Balls they drop are dangerous. The trees drop thousands of golf ball size seed pods. The balls are covered with sharp spines that will draw blood if you fall on them. There is very little flat ground in Ar. and when you put these round, pointy balls on a slope, it is hard to walk over them without falling and getting impaled by them. The balls role when you step on them and I have fallen several times.

These hard balls break down very slowly so if you do not rake them up, they make your life miserable for months. A riding mower is almost a requirement to cut a lawn covered with them. A mower can throw them 30′ or more, so you want your to be above a mower deck when you cut the grass and you do not want pets or people around when you cut the grass.

You have to use gloves in any garden plant beds to get these balls out of the beds. You can not just grab a handful of weeds. If you get a gum ball in the weed handful they will draw blood when you squeeze down on the weeds.

It was great fun to watch the cat and dog navigate through the gum balls on the ground. The cat would hit one, jump land on another, hop from it, and would do that all across the yard. The cats would walk along the tops of the fence rails. The dog did not have that option. He would just carefully navigate gum ball areas.

I feel blessed we do not have this type of sweet gum trees in Florida. I do not think even pigs could or would eat them



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