Pleached Sweet Gum ‘Worplesdon’

Pleached Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ (Hamamelidaceae)

pleached sweet gum Liquidambar styraciflua Worplesdon
Contact us

The Sweet Gum has a wonderful habit and beautiful Maple like leaves. They emerge in spring bright green and from September onwards they put on a show which is almost unrivalled by any other tree. The foliage changes from orange to red to Burgundy. Sometimes all three colours can be seen on the tree at the same time, a wonderful sight.

  • Deciduous
  • Hi and low pleached options
  • Also available as instant hedge elements, specimen trees, roof trees, block on stem, box head trees
  • Stem girth from 12-14cm up to 35-40cm, occasionally bigger available but they need booking in advance
  • Various stem heights and frame sizes available
  • Trained on frame in pleached form for 1-5 years in some cases even longer
  • Pleached Sweet Gum are available as freshly pleached trees while stocks last
  • Available in pots and containers, cocoa rootball or rootball
  • Nationwide delivery service by articulated lorry, smaller vehicle by prior arrangement

Here are some examples of trees currently available. Click any image to enlarge or to send an enquiry about that specific plant.


Sweet Gum ‘Worplesdon’ – Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ (Hamamelidaceae)

If you are looking for a tree that produces an explosion of colour in the autumn, then the Sweet Gum ‘Worplesdon’ must be on your list of trees. This deciduous ancestor of Liquidambar styraciflua is simply stunning. It is often confused with Maple due to its similarly shaped five-lobed leaves. Commonly found on the Eastern seaboard of the USA from South-Eastern New York to Florida and inland as well as parts of central America it reaches heights of 45m. However, in the cooler Northern European climate it seldom exceeds 12-18m and 8m wide.

The earliest record of the tree being introduced to Europe was in 1681 when John Banister planted one in Fulham London at the palace gardens.

As a medium sized tree, it develops a broad pyramidal shaped crown and to ensure this continues, it is important not to remove the central leader or this will cause it to spread out. The dark green glossy leaves measuring 10-18cm long, emerge in spring against the dark grey slightly fissured bark. While the tree produces relatively inconspicuous small green to yellow flowers in April and May, it is the colour of the foliage in autumn that makes this tree so highly prized. From September onwards this beautiful display gets underway, with leaves changing from orange to red to magenta Burgundy. Sometimes all three colours can be seen on the tree at the same time, a wonderful sight. The tree produces round capsule shaped spiky ‘fruits’ on long stems measuring 3-5cm long in the autumn and they can hold on well into the winter.

The Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ will tolerate most fertile, moist soil types, including slightly alkaline. It prefers to be planted in full sun but will respond reasonably well in partial shade during the day, do remember this is a light loving tree. To prevent the canopy from being damaged in strong gusts of wind more sheltered locations are preferable. An added advantage is this tree tolerates hard landscaping and paving as long as suitable tree planting pits are allowed for. Winter hardy it has become a very popular ornamental tree with garden designers and landscape architects looking for a splash of colour in the autumn. Its popular qualities were recognised in 1987 and 2002 when it won the Award of Garden Merit.

As an individual specimen or grouped together with others while taking a central balanced position, the autumn display cannot be missed. The Sweet Gum is suitable for planting in large gardens, parks, squares and along avenues. It is available as Hi and low pleached trees, screens, Hi and low espalier trees, specimen clear stem trees, feathered trees and multi stem trees. Available throughout the winter months with wire rootballs. Potted stock while stocks last and Cocoa rootball by prior arrangement.

Planting advice for Pleached trees, Freshly Pleached trees, Espalier trees and Freshly Espaliered trees.

An important consideration when planting pleached or espalier trees in a straightfreshly pleached trees ready to be planted line is the slope of the ground. Pleached or Espalier trees look their best when they are planted on flat or gently sloping ground. Doing so will line up the frames and stems and creating effect of one continuous line when viewed at all angles. Even on a gradual slope this effect can be achieved. However, with a slope of more than 10-12 degrees, it may be necessary to step the trees/frames when planting (the frames on freshly pleached trees can be manipulated to account for a sharper slope of perhaps 15 degree if necessary).

To create a good visual effect, it is important to line up the stems and frames (unless you are planting them in a circle or semi-circle). To start off the planting holes should measure roughly double the width of the rootball or pot….

Read our full planting guide here

How are Pleached Trees made?

freshly pleaching trees on framePleached trees or screen trees start life as a seedling or cutting, much like any other tree, being repotted or replanted a number of times in their formative years. They grow happily on the nursery with hundreds or even thousands of other trees. When the time is right, highly skilled nurserymen and woman go out into the field amongst the trees with tags in hand and pick the very best trees for pleaching. The criteria for choosing the best trees for training includes, selecting those with the straightest stems, healthy root stock and appropriately spreading and uninform crowns. Once tagged and lifted the trees are loaded onto trailers and sent to potting sheds for training. Read our full guide to pleaching trees here

Delivery pf Pleached Sweet Gum varies depending on:lifting large plants over a house

  • How many trees you require
  • If you want us to plant them
  • Accessibility of the site
  • If any need sourcing
  • The seasonal ability to lift or plant specific species

    Please contact us to discuss your individual requirements.

We Have Many More Pleached Species Available

Read more about pleached trees or click on a particular species below.


Contact us