Had to go down to New Jersey for the day in search of a new mini-van for the family. Got bored at the dealership and took my hungry kids outside in search of something to eat. I thought I might find some volunteer mulberry trees overhanging the parking lot. I found one, but it was too young to bear fruit. Didn’t find any fruit, but instead one tree that people more north of New Jersey never see–sweetgum. Sweetgum (Liquidamber styraciflua) can be identified by its star-shaped leaf. This tree is native to southeast US where northern New Jersey, NYC/Long Island, & southern CT represent the northern part of its range. Sweetgum is abundantly found in southern states and is apparently second to oak in hardwood usage. Personally, I would like to try some of that gum that apparently exudes from its bark and can be used as chewing gum. It supposedly is hardy to Zone 5, so it could probably be planted in many portions of the Catskills and New York State. 


May the Forest Be with You,


Ryan Trapani

Director of Forest Services

Catskill Forest Association