The Possibility of New Life

For several weeks I have been trying to avoid working on the sideways tree since it affects my allergies.  Having a temp of -5 also might have contributed to me staying home, but only a little.

What is left of the sideways tree

The Sideways Tree

Since so many of the trees in this wooded area are elderly and falling down, I have been looking for ways to encourage new growth.  Not only does it look nice, but I am hoping it will keep the hillside from eroding.

Winter is the wrong time of year for seed production, so I haven’t been able to harvest any fallen ones…except for these guys.

I borrowed this picture from Tree Pictures .

Like a lot of people, I mistook the trees for maples and attributed these nasty seed pods on the ground to some other source.  Turns out they are from a plant that wears a lot of names.  Around here they are called Sweet Gum, but they can also be called Liquidambar, Storax or Alligatorwood.  They are often used in reforestation projects because they grow quickly.

There is an abundance of these seed pods on a neighboring street, so Toby and I have been gathering them up on our walks.  We take them to the area around the fallen tree and lob them into the woods.  To be honest, I have no idea if the pods have viable seeds or not, but I still fee like I am helping to bring the possibility of new life to the area.

These seed pods are so strong and spiky that they can be used around the garden to discourage interlopers.  They are hard enough that you can puncture a tire if you run over them.  By now, Toby and I must have tossed a couple hundred of these pods into woods.  If nothing else, maybe they will discourage some of the animals that travel the pipeline up into out back yards.

Two cartoon deer dying

Aagh!  Avoid the spiky seed pods!



  1. Our Neighbor had one of those Sweet Gum trees and we used to git those spikey seed pods in our back yard. They had the tree removed because it was so BIG and close to their house. They worried a hurricane or strong wind might blow it over onto their house. We were GLAD it was gone!

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