Oh, the joys of spring are in the air, you step out your front door to enjoy the morning air and almost bust your butt after slipping on a gumball. This is the time of year when the gumballs start falling after new buds are forming on the tree. Homeowners are always trying to figure out ways to clean this pesky little fruit up after it has fallen. From raking to blowing there are several ways to help with this task.

Gumballs come from the Sweet Gum Tree (liquidambar styraciflua) after the female flower has been pollinated in the spring. They are the fruit that this shade tree creates. Not only are they not very showy hanging on the tree but create a hazard once they hit the ground. We have tried different solutions over the years on how to clean them up. They are usually too heavy to be picked up by a lawn mower or get thrown around by the blade like you’re in a batting cage. Raking them is a better solution but can be a timely endeavor. The best thing we have found is to use a leaf blower to blow all the gumballs into a pile. Then go about cleaning them up by placing on a tarp or in a trash can and disposed of in the yard waste cans. This varies from different municipalities as some provide yard waste cans or require them to be put in paper bags. If you use the leaf bags I recommend getting a funnel to help hold the bag open, then placing the bag in a trash can to help it stand up straight. These items can be found at your local home improvement store.

Some tree companies are now providing a spraying application that can reduce the amount of fruit that the tree will produce. The name of the product that is used is called Florel, it is a synthetic growth regulator. It is a safe effective way to control gumball production on the tree, it is safe around pets and humans too. I recommend calling a certified arborist to find out if this solution would work for you. They have the expertise and proper equipment to get the job done right.


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