Plant Preview

Welcome to Plant Preview, a blog dedicated to helping gardeners learn about gardening techniques and preview new plant cultivars. Read about new plants here first and hear how your "comrades in compost" are making use of new plant introductions in their gardens and landscapes. Blog author Geri Laufer is a life-long dirt gardener, degreed horticulturist, author and former County Extension Agent. Plant Preview is copyrighted by Geri Laufer.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fire Master™ Black Gum PPAF thrives anywhere it’s planted

The perfect choice for a slow-growing native shade tree that is master of the autumn countryside, an ideal solution to landscape challenge areas and recommended as a long-lived commemorative tree.

Fire Master(TM) Black Gum is an easy care native shade tree introduced by Garden Debut(R) in late 2010 with exceptional coloration. In the wild, Black Gum (also known as Tupelo) grows across the entire eastern half of North America, but at low densities of 1 to 3 percent in native forests. Nyssa is one of the few species that is both fire resistant and shade tolerant, and both young and old trees show excellent growth even under dense shade, indicated by the species name, sylvatica, meaning woods. 

Landscape architects note that Black Gum grows in conditions that range from flooding to drought, and can grow on almost any type of soil or site, from swamps, floodplains and bottomlands to xeric sites, uplands and dry ridges. Nyssa is slow-growing which may explain its great longevity, being the longest-lived hardwood in the Eastern U.S. with a mininum age topping 650 years. 

With a pedigree like that, Fire Master(TM) Black Gum PPAF is the first choice for a slow-growing shade tree for any type of difficult landscape situation. And what's more, it adds show-stopping color to the canopy with new spring growth ranging from soft, dusty pink to red and lime, then maturing to shiny, dark green summer leaves. In fall, the foliage turns many shades of yellow, orange and reaches a firey climax of brilliant, Chinese-lacquer red on high-gloss leaves. Even the petioles and veins are red. 

This slow-growing, pyramidal tree matures at a height around 50 - 60 feet tall and spreading to about 25 feet wide after 40 - 50 years, a great size for many urban yards, ideal in scale, without towering over one- and two- story homes. 

For added horticultural interest, Fire Master(TM) Black Gum sports small, greenish white blossoms in spring, the source of nectar and pollen for Tupelo honey, followed by 1/2 inch ong purple-black fruits that resemble tiny prune plums with a waxy bloom. These are quickly eaten by birds and wildlife when they ripen in September (before other wild native fruits are ready), yet do not stain driveways nor decks. Its bark matures to medium gray and resembles textured alligator hide. Fire Master(TM) Black Gum is relatively immune to insects and diseases. 

Landscape uses for Fire Master(TM) Black Gum include: specimen use adding color, form and texture; as a shade tree; commemorative tree; planted at the sunny edge of woodlands; planted in the dense shade of trees or buildings; or selected for landscape problem areas such as wet, sticky soils or dry, parched ridges. Reduced maintenance required by this native cultivar syncs with faster contemporary lifestyles and the demand for lowered maintenance. Fire Master(TM) Black Gum was selected for resistance to insects and diseases, as well as for improved hardiness and general ease of transplanting and growth. 

The best color is produced in full sun, but Fire Master(TM) Black Gum also tolerates dense shade and will grow on a broad variety of soil types, so it solves many "problem areas" in landscape design. And because Fire Master(TM) Black Gum is so long-lived, it is the ideal dedication or legacy tree planted to commemorate happy occasions. Its versatility makes it an ideal commemorative tree to plant to recognize milestones in life.  

Keep newly planted trees moist for the season after planting while the roots grow into the native soil, and add an organic mulch to maintain soil moisture levels. After becoming established, Fire Master(TM) Black Gum has carefree watering needs. 

For more information on Fire Master™ Black Gum and other superior plant introductions from Garden Debut® brought to gardeners by Greenleaf Nursery Company. 

Plant Category:
Native deciduous tree
Mature Height:
Reaches 50-60 feet in 40-50 years
Mature Spread:
25 feet wide
Mature Form:
 Broadly pyramidal
Growth Rate:
 Naturally slow-growing variety
Sun Exposure:
Full sun to dense shade, and all the permutations between
Soil Type:
 Sand, loam, clay, red brickyard clays of the southeast U.S. very adaptable
Soil Moisture:
Thrives anywhere, from floodplains, bottom lands to dry ridges and west-facing rocky slopes
 ½ inch, oval, purple drupes, resembles prune plums in miniature, with waxy bloom
 Native to Eastern North America
Foliage Color:
 Red new growth in spring; rich, shiny green summer foliage; brilliant colors climaxing in fiery Chinese-lacquer red fall color, red veins, red petioles
Foliage Shape:
Fall Color:
 Fiery, Chinese- lacquer red fall color
 Tight grey bark
Root system :
 Vigorous once established, with admirable tolerance for any soil moisture type
pH Level:
 4 – 8, very adaptable
Climate Zones:
 4 – 9, (winter lows  of -20 to -30 degrees F. to +10 degrees F.)


When performance counts, use Garden Debut® introductions!

1 comment:

  1. As the days lengthen, I have been able to steal a few minute after work to explore the forests that surround our house.trees for sale