One of the best native trees for fall color according to Michael Dirr, black tupelo is a terrific choice displaying fall hues of yellow, orange, bright red and purple—often on the same branch. Distinctive bark adds interest, and while blooms may not be showy, butterflies and bees are appreciative of the late-spring food source. Grows to a height of 30–50’ and a spread of 20–30’ at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12” to 24” per year.
‘Wild Fire’ is a great native selection with bright red foliage in spring, turning rich dark green before a brilliant fall finale with yellow-orange, and scarlet. Excellent Leaf-spot resistance. Brown-black bark is heavily textured. Red-tinged branches add winter interest.
Tupelo Tower black gum grows in a narrow, columnar form and was selected from a native Ohio species bringing extra hardiness with it. Stays compact in its lateral size. This makes it an ideal black gum for smaller yard and landscaping uses.