Anyone know of a use for the "gum balls" that the Sweet Gum tree drops? My brother has way too many of them and rakes them up and throws them out. Seems like a waste. Any suggestions, let me know. Kathleen
I have seen folks spray paint them gold and then put little beads in them. They were little Christmas Tree Ornaments.
Other than that, I do not know what else to do with them. In a compost pile they take a long time to decompose too. I have a sweetgum tree in the backyard, and those deals are painful to step on for sure!
You could throw them at the kids who run across your lawn.
If you have problems with animals digging in your gardens and/or potted plants, put these spikey pods on top the soil/potting mix to deter the little buggers.
I have used them with pinecones etc in grapevine wreaths just tied them tied them on with a little wire
My fiance puts them in the chipper and uses it for mulch!
Some gardeners use them to help fill up large containers-maybe a third up-if they are going to be planting more shallow rooted plants-
You can string them together for swags to add to Christmas decor...I like using organic things for ornaments. I use our fir cones from the Douglas firs here that way too. You could use them to cover a picture frame or in mixed wreaths.
I would hang them to spray paint them and use 2 colors for added depth or you could dip them in a color wash of acrylic paint. That way they are just stained and don't loose their organic appeal.
You could also dust them with that refined glitter that would make them look frosted.
Circle them around plants as a slug deterrent.
You could paint them white and make snowmen out of them. But do like the idea of throwing them at children running across your garden.
I wish I lived somewhere where we could grow those trees. I am originally from up north, now a FL transplant. The first time I saw the balls, I was in GA. I was sooo fascinated with them, and I managed to fill a few shopping bags with the ones laying on the ground. Now, I have no idea what happened to them. They are great for crafting. Of course, I see everything from a crafting or gardening standpoint, which for some reason drives my hubby crazy... don't know why...
Hope you got a giggle.
THEY DO WORK WELL FOR MULCH IF CONTAINED BY A BORDER- SAW THEM USED AROUND NUT TREES AND NOW I COLLECT THEM FOR MY BERRIES
I'm considering trying to use them to keep soil loose and aerated, since they have so many little ridges and pockets, and take a long time to compost. I am going to try growing some White Sage here in Greensboro,NC, and the plant is native to more dry, rocky, well-drained Southwestern soil. So I was thinking, perhaps this annoying overabundance of Sweetgum balls might come in handy, simulating the rocky, choppy texture of the required soil, as well as keeping it aerated for drainage. It's worth a try anyway. They're free and all over my yard.
But,if you mix them or spread them into your soil.... won't you have little volunteer sweet gums all over?
Oh yeah, I guess I didn't think about that. Hm, well I wonder if maybe they've lost their seeds, or won't push up (they're at the bottom of the dirt)
Be warned, not all "pests" are deterred by the thought of stepping on them. Case in point, I raked mine into a pile to be disposed of and was not able finish the job, so later in the week when time permitted, garbage bag in hand off I went.. imagine my surprise when I found that my neighbor's filthy swine felines had used my pile for a latrine.
Don't know much about pelletized fuel, but they look like they could burn pretty well when dry?
Don't try this at home without an expert opinion (smile).
You can 1 in someones shoe, just for laughs.
I made a very beautiful Christmas wreath with them. You can get the site on how to do that from Martha Stewart. We have never seen so many of these balls on the ground at our place than this year. It is unreal. I keep wanting to pick them up after making that wreath, but there are millions!!!! The wreath is very pretty.
Here is a link that might be useful: Here's the link to the site.
If you have ever walked barefoot in a yard full of gum balls you will know why many people dislike them.
Will plop myself down next to the raked pile and sort them out for crafting and anti-slug use. Will look nice with the Magnoia pods that falin a wreath.
I have 12 sweet gum trees in my yard!!!! I will sell the balls for the right price. What is the going rate for gum balls?
I realize this is a very old topic thread, but I found out that slugs DO NOT like crawling over the sweetgum balls spiny surface, so they will keep them away from your plants and flowers
You could step on them barefoot and scream in pain.
Want nothing the do with them.
My arborist said that the sweet gum tree is one of the best air scrubbers in the Houston, Texas area. For an instantly elegant Christmas decoration, arrange a small string of white Christmas lights in a large glass vase filled with sweet gum balls.