Sweetgum – Wings on Twigs

Q: I have a very small tree on the edge of my yard in the midst of a lot of other foliage. I recently noticed the tree has a strange ribbon like fungus growth on most of it’s branches. I believe it is dead and plan to cut it down. Should I be worried about whatever this is spreading to other nearby trees and bushes.

A: That tree is a perfectly healthy young sweetgum! This tree is well-known to have “corky extrusions” along young twigs, usually in the second or third year of growth.

You can certainly take out the sweetgum if it interferes with other plants. You could also leave it to grow and become a shade tree. Consider that lots of folks do not like sweetgum trees because of the thousands of spiny balls they drop each fall.