Tenacious Sweet Gum Balls

Nothing sweet about
bird beak spikes that cling and trip
unwary humans

Decorative balls
ornamental but painful
when you trip and fall

Corona like spikes
that protect the gumball seeds
from dangers like us

Gumballs awaiting the unwary.

I have become fascinated by the gumballs that continue to swing from the branches in the brisk winter breezes long after the sweet gum leaves have called it a season. They are green and pliant early in the season becoming hardened and brown as they weather on the tree. I have seen them decorate the azaleas, boxwood, dogwoods, and hollies that catch the gum balls that fall from the trees overhead. Once upon the ground, especially if it is frozen, the tenacious little balls will roll your ankle or send you ass-bound in a New York second.

Click here to find out what you can do with these beauties, including:

1. Lay the seed pods around young plants to deter snails and slugs who would rather not tangle with them

2. Put them around plants that you also want to protect from rabbits (press the spikes in the ground a bit so they don’t blow away)