Saturday, March 4, 2017

4 of 31: My Nemesis - The Sweetgum Tree

My small home rests in the middle of a beautiful corner lot in a quiet suburb of the midwest. Just under half an acre. The hostas are starting to peek out, the earliest signs of life are taking root, and the brown of winter has willingly succumbed to the lime green of spring. These last few unusually warm weeks are undoubtedly the cause of my severe case of spring fever.

Earlier today, I spent a good part of the morning and early afternoon soaking up Vitamin D thanks to a bold sun and clear blue skies. I found myself peeling off layers as the thermometer rose to a toasty 71 degrees.

I couldn't ask for a more beautiful day, so why is it that I'm angry typing? You know the kind of typing that produces shouting clacks with each keystroke.  Well there are only two words that induce this kind of violent typing:  sweetgum trees.

Not one, not two, but three sweetgum trees stand sentry over my yard. They angrily drop their spiky, nefarious gumballs covering my lawn like a prickly blanket. They are more than an unsightly nuisance, they are dangerous. No ankle is safe in my yard!

Don't get me wrong, sweetgums are stunning trees in the fall and provide ample shade in the summer. But after spending hours maneuvering the gumballs into manageable piles and shoveling them (like with a snow shovel) into TWELVE YARD BAGS and FOUR TRASH CANS, I sort of want to punch whoever planted them in the face!

So when I looked out across my now visible lawn, I felt a certain sense of satisfaction. It wasn't until I looked up that I despaired. For on the dark brown limbs of all three trees, there dangles thousands more of the little monsters taunting me in the gentle breeze. I know that the next storm or brisk wind will bring them down, and I'll have a repeat performance of my day.

I guess it's time to stock up on the IcyHot patches for my lower back!


  1. Haha! I know you have ranted about those stupid trees before, but I loved reading this! I think it's hilarious that they're called gumballs...such an innocent name for a not-so-innocent little demon! My favorite line is "I sort of want to punch whoever planted them in the face!"

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  3. Oh, my! I used to have a sweetgum tree, and it was the most beautiful tree... wonderful shade in the summer, and beautiful color in the fall! But my sweetgum tree didn't have the spiky things. Apparently some do and some don't? I don't know, I'm not a tree expert. But you have my sympathy! ~JudyK

  4. I often pick up sweetgum spiky balls when I am walking my park, to add to our nature materials at the science center (preschool). For this reason, I wanted to plant one when we were adding a tree to the yard. Thankfully, a wise friend shared basically your story - she assured me that I would resent those spiky balls! We planted a purple autumn ash. Perhaps not as pretty in the fall, but still very nice.