The glossy green star-shaped leaves of the sweet gum are its most ornamental characteristic. Where it is given room to develop, few trees will approach it in symmetrical beauty. The ball-shaped fruit hang on the tree long after the leaves have fallen, giving added interest to the tree, but they are a nuisance in the lawn once they have fallen. A disease called bleeding canker has attacked sweet gums in some parts of the state. There is no known cure for the disease, and it may be wise to choose some other species for planting in areas where the sweet gum has already been extensively planted.
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Information: University of Missouri - Horticulture | Image Source: Missouri State University - Biology