Sweetgum trees are very long-lived with a lifespan of up to 150 years, although they do not flower or produce the distinctive "gumball" fruit during the first 15-20 years of life. Sweet Gum trees prefer full sun with at least six hours of direct, unfiltered light every day. This tree grows at a moderate to fast rate with a height of 1-4 feet per year for the first 1-5 years and growth of 13 inches to 24 inches each year thereafter, reaching a mature height of 60 to 75 feet with a spread of up to 50 feet. The American sweetgum is a very versatile tree that can grow well in acidic, moist, sandy, loamy, well-drained, wet, and clay soil with fairly good drought tolerance. The American Sweet Gum grows in Hardiness Zones 5-9.
Sweet Gum trees are a shade and ornamental tree with a spreading canopy that helps block sun while adding visual interest to the landscape. Sweet Gum trees naturally attract an array of wildlife as well, including cardinals, blue jays, chipmunks, squirrels, mourning doves, and luna moths who are attracted to the flowers and fruit.