Self Healing


I was quite surprised when I took a look at this Sweet Gum tree on my property.  It is close to my neighbor’s line and had a large hole in it.  The hold always seemed to be full of water and dripping liquid.  I was actually concerned it was rotting and worried it could fall on the neighbor’s house.  I had an arborist look at the Sweet Gum and he said it would be fine for now.

Apparently, it was healing itself with all that dripping fluid.  It went from a big hole to completely closed. If only I knew that was happening, I would have documented the healing.


Another Sweet Gum on the property has a hollow hole and it has not healed itself.  It has provided refuge for opossum mothers and snakes.

The tree’s botanical name is Liquidambar styraciflua.  There was certainly a large quantity of liquid coming out of the wound.  The sap of the Sweet Gum tree can be dried and used for chewing gum. (Do your own research before trying.)  The sap was used for gum flavor into the 1920’s.

17 Comments on “Self Healing”

  1. Deb says:

    You going to try the gum making? Isn’t interesting what nature has for us to learn.

  2. Sweetgums are amazing and where I come from considered trash trees. Not sure what Texans think of them. I was interested to find in England and Australia they are called Liquidambars and have many cultivars beloved for fall color!

  3. Christina says:

    This is a reason for not using chemical sealants when pruning our trees; the tree does a much better job of healing its wounds. Also this is why we shouldn’t prune when a tree is dormant as used to be thought.

  4. FlowerAlley says:

    I never thought about the genus name’s meaning until your post. I feel a bit stupid. This was great. A little seed for thought.

  5. shoreacres says:

    Most people don’t like this tree because of its prickly pods, but I think they’re cool. I had no idea that its sap could be used as chewing gum. The Karankawa Indians might have liked it. They used to chew tar from the natural seeps along the coast.

    Your mention of self-healing reminded me of the plant called self-heal.

  6. Hmmm… that’s interesting. I wouldn’t have known either.

  7. Chloris says:

    Wonderful how the tree heals itself, and that is why you call it gum tree. Liquidambars are prized over here for their wonderful autumn foliage.

  8. Sheryl says:

    It’s amazing that the tree was able to heal itself. Like you, I generally think that a tree is on its last legs when it has a hole in the trunk.

  9. Tina says:

    It’s amazing just how many plants can self-heal–if one just leaves them be.

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