Sweetgum Trees
Q.

Liquidambar styraciflua

Anonymous added on April 12, 2014 | Answered

When I was 18 (10 years a ago) my parents bought a Liquidambar. It grew outside and was transferred to a pot when they moved to new house with a smaller garden. Recently, it outgrew this pot and was transferred to a new one. My father trimmed some of the roots and branches to keep it more manageable. Lately (as of mid-February) it seems to have changed colou! This is most unusual, as we live in a sub-tropical climate and deciduous trees often don't change until very late in the year. This year the "wet season" was quite late but very abrupt and we had weeks of cool rainy weather in February. I was concerned it had died, but my father has confirmed that there are new buds appearing on it. This is about 5 to 7 months ahead of schedule. We have yet to start winter. I was wondering what could've caused this and what might happen to the tree if it develops new growth just as the weather cools off. Is the tree in danger? I've turned to a US gardening website, as people know very little about North American plants/trees in Australia. We had thought that it might be outside its usual climatic range, but the local nursery advised that it flourishes in equivalent climates in Texas, Mexico and Florida. Last year it put on a spectacular display in winter.

A.
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Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on November 30, -0001

Stress can sometimes make deciduous trees turn early. Most of the time, they recover fine from it. I would guess the stress of either the pruning or the dry weather may have caused it to try to go into dormancy to reserve its strength. Basically, when a deciduous tree turns, it is trying to enter dormancy. For most areas, late season growth would be a problem due to possible cold damage, but given your zone, the tree will be fine. It should recover and resume a normal schedule in the next year.

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