Is There Any Way To Get Rid Of Sweet Gum Balls?


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Russ James answered
Sweet gum trees make beautiful shade trees, but the gum balls are annoying.

There is a product called "Florel" that can be sprayed on the trees at a specific point in the spring when the tree is flowering. Sweet gums can get over 100 ft. Tall. If the tree is tall you will need to hire an arborist or a company who has a tree sprayer capable of reaching the top of the tree. Most professional sprayers will only reach to 50 to 60 ft, so that is something to consider as well. If your tree is under twenty feet tall you may be able to do it yourself with an electric or possibly a hand pump chemical sprayer.

Florel must be timed correctly, mixed and sprayed accurately for it to work. Read the label completely for directions. There is a narrow window when it can be sprayed, which is a specific period during the flowering stage. Sweet gum trees flower a little differently than other trees making the timing a little more complicated. Generally, it will take an arborist, which is a tree specialist, to perform the job correctly.

Florel works by preventing the flower from maturing, thereby preventing the formation of sweet gum balls. It has no harmful affect on the tree other than preventing it from flowering. Florel must be applied each year or the following year you will have gum ball again.

Keep in mind that when the tree is sprayed, if any over-spray drifts onto other flowering plants, it will prevent those flowers from developing completely as well. Spray on a calm day, if possible, or at least know what direction the wind is blowing and what trees may be down wind from you. A neighbor may be upset if your spray gets on his trees.

If you can't find Florel locally where you live, you may have to order it online. Also, if you live near a large city there should be a company that supply material to landscapers, nursery operations and turf professionals. I used a company called BWI incorporated. It is a wholesale company, but is also open to the public.

I am the owner of an educational website found at
I am also a retired arborist and turf professional.

Hope this helps.

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