Liquidambar styraciflua ('Red Star') 'STARED'

Liquidambar styraciflua ('Red Star')
Liquidambar styraciflua ('Red Star') 'STARED'
sweetgum
SIZE/TYPE medium-sized tree
USUAL HEIGHT 5-7m
USUAL WIDTH
LEAVES deciduous broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES green
FLOWERS insignificant or non-blooming
COLOUR OF FLOWERS
BLOOMING TIME
LOCATION full sun
USDA zone (lowest) 5b   (down to -27°C)
WINTER PROTECTION  
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Deciduous broadleaf
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Sweetgums are highly ornamental trees or shrubs which have been on top of the popularity list for centuries. These come from North America from where they spread to nearly whole world: from colder parts of temperate regions to southern countries where summer temperatures easily reach 40°C. Their give-away are star-shaped leaves which can easily be mistaken for maple leaves, and their autumn colours.

Stared is one of the most recent varieties of sweetgum with leaves cut so deep like a too low neck on a frock of a lady who forgot she was going to attend a charitable ball “Help Africa” and not a teenager party “Miss Bikini – Monokini”. Liquidambar leaves have a unique feature that they hang on the tree in such a delicate way as if on a threat. So when wind comes they flicker like a thousand stars caught up in a trap. Which reminds me of a saying “up a gum tree”, sounds like it fits, doesn’t it? The most amazing show begins at the end of summer or in early autumn (conditions pending) when they gain burgundy red shades, slowly changing to vivid red from top to toe. This colouring lasts for as long as two months. In most areas sweet gums keep their coloured leaves or at least a portion of them until Christmas.

Another nice feature is the fruit. Formed in about 3 cm wide spiny spheres they can be quite attractive to look at and a bit irritating when stepped on barefoot once they have hardened up, if not cleared from pavements or lawns in spring.

Compared to other sweet gum varieties Stared is slower growing, quite slender in statue, very dense and not so big. It can grow about 5-7m tall and upto 2m wide in our climate. It is generally available feathered – branched from the ground. Pruning is not necessary but if you need to do so at the end of winter before the buds burst out.

Sweet gums are soil tolerant but prefer semi-fertile, deep, and well-drained soil that should be slightly acidic to neutral and moist. Once established they can take both temporary flooding and drought. The location should be sunny as it does not tolerate shaded areas. If you buy a plant taller than say 1.5m stake it well for at least 2 years. Plants older than 3 years are fully hardy to -27°C (USDA zone 5).

Last update 22-11-2008
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Liquidambar styraciflua
GLOSSARY
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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