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Wildfire Black Gum Tree for Sale - Buying & Growing Guide

  • Wildfire Black Gum Tree
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Nyssa sylvatica 'Wildfire'
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Nyssa sylvatica 'Wildfire,' better known as the Wildfire black gum tree, offers visual appeal in a way that most other plants don't. Instead of catching your eye with large flowers or exceptional foliage, this cultivar will earn your attention with its new growth. Each new shoot that appears on this tree has a surprisingly vibrant reddish-purple color that persists throughout much of the growing season. Along with that unique trait, the Wildfire black gum tree also has beautiful red fall foliage. Before fall arrives, those leaves can provide some much-needed summer shade. 

  • The Wildfire black gum tree boasts fantastic fall color.
  • New growth is red and remarkably showy.
  • It works well as a specimen or large shade tree.

Plant Care



The Wildfire black gum tree adapts well to either full sunlight or partial shade.



Water multiple times per week during establishment. Water a few times per month after establishment.



Use a general-purpose fertilizer once per year during the fall.

Planting and Care

Author Image
by John Haryasz | Horticulture Writer and Landscape Designer – last update on August 16, 2022

Planting instructions

The Wildfire black gum tree enjoys growing where the soils are moist, well-draining, and have a low pH. This plant also adapts well to partial shade, but full sunlight is often preferable for the best growth. Like most black gum trees, the Wildfire black gum should grow in an area that has deep soils to allow this tree’s deep root system to develop properly. That deep root system makes it quite difficult to transplant this tree, which is why you should be highly selective when choosing an initial growing location.

Watering and nutrients

A Wildfire black gum tree that has just been planted will need a relatively high amount of water for the first growing seasons. Typically, you’ll need to water this tree multiple times per week to keep the soil moist during establishment. After establishment, your Wildfire black gum may show excellent drought tolerance, which usually means you won’t need to water it except during times of drought or heat waves. This tree can also survive without fertilization. Still, a single application of all-purpose fertilizer in the fall can be beneficial.


The pollination process for a black gum tree is somewhat complex. At times, a black gum may hold only male or female flowers. This norm seems to indicate that black gums always rely on cross-pollination. However, in some rare instances, a black gum tree may hold both male and female flowers, which allows for self-pollination. Bees and other insects are responsible for black gum pollination, which leads to the development of small dark fruits that provide a food source for birds and other animals during the fall season.


Fortunately, the Wildfire black gum tree does not need a lot of pruning in order to survive. However, you should consider pruning this plant once per year during the late winter or early spring. When pruning, you should remove any part of the plant that is dead, damaged, or diseased. You may also use your pruning to shape your Wildfire black gum tree, but doing so is not often necessary, as this tree takes on a pleasing form on its own.

Pests, diseases, and animals

There are several pests and diseases that can negatively impact the health of your Wildfire black gum tree. Perhaps the most prevalent of these concerns is leaf spotting, which causes black lesions on the leaves and can cause the foliage to become deformed as well. Other diseases can befall this plant, too, with rust being one of the most common. Along with disease threats, the Wildfire black gum tree can experience infestations as well. Tupelo leaf miners and scale insects are two of the most common bugs that harm this plant.

Achieving maximum results

While the Wildfire black gum tree is a valuable member of the landscape, it is not ideal for every planting location. Specifically, this species is not well-suited to withstand areas that have considerable amounts of air pollution. Despite that, the Wildfire black gum tree can work well as a street tree, especially if you prune the lower branches, which makes it much easier for people to walk beneath the canopy and enjoy the shade this tree can provide.


Is the Wildfire black gum tree a messy tree?

The Wildfire black gum tree is not the messiest tree you can grow, but it may require some clean-up. For instance, since this tree is deciduous, it will lose its leaves each year during the fall, meaning that you'll need to do some raking to keep your garden neat. Some people may be concerned about this tree dropping its fruits as well. However, those fruits are so popular for many animals that they will often be eaten before they have a chance to fall to the ground.

Is the Wildfire black gum tree a fast-growing tree?

The Wildfire black gum tree is not known to be fast-growing, but it is not fair to call it a slow-growing plant either. Instead, the wildfire black gum tree grows at a moderate pace, which amounts to about 1 foot of new growth each year. This tree continues spreading its canopy at that rate until it reaches its mature size, which can surpass 60 feet tall in some cases.

What are some other names for the black gum tree?

The black gum tree is a plant that can go by many common names. Some of the most popular of those names are black tupelo, sour gum, and pepperidge. Additionally, this plant also has the botanical name Nyssa sylvatica. The plant we call Wildfire black gum tree is a cultivar of that species and holds the botanical name Nyssa sylvatica 'Wildfire.'

  • deer-resistant
    Deer Resistant
Mature height
40-60 ft.
Mature width
30-40 ft.
Sunlight requirement
Full Sun
Growth rate
Botanical name
Nyssa sylvatica 'Wildfire'
Shipping exclusions
Grows Well In Zones
Growing Zones: 4-9 i Growing zones help determine if a particular plant is likely to grow well in a location. It identifies the average annual minimum winter temperatures across the U.S. provided as a map by the USDA.
(hardy down to -10°F)

Wildfire Black Gum Tree

Nyssa sylvatica 'Wildfire'
  • Ships in 1-2 days
  • 1-Year Warranty Eligible
  • Pots or accessories are not included unless specified in the product options.
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