Delivery Date Determined By Size
The Firestarter Black Gum in a black nursery pot covered in the dark green foliage on a white background



  • Deep green, oval-shaped leaves turn a stunning shade of red in fall
  • Firestarter® transitions to its fall color earlier than other varieties, giving you an extended period of intense color
  • It has a narrow, pyramidal form, making it a wonderful shade tree, specimen planting or on either side of your driveway
  • Low maintenance
  • Hand Selected, Fresh from the Grower
  • Ships on our trucks because of the size of the tree - does not fit in a box

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 30-35' tall
  • Mature Width: 10-18' wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade
  • Spacing: 15-18' apart

Firestarter® Black Gum

Bower & Branch Trees and Plants

Nyssa sylvatica 'JFS-red'

Regular price $575.00
Delivery Date Determined By Size
Shipping included
How large is this tree? View the Size Guide.
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Your Tree Qualifies for Our 3 Year Tree Guarantee
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Why plant Firestarter® Black Gum?

Don’t call the fire department! Your heart will skip a beat every time you catch a glimpse of your Firestarter® Tupelo Tree in fall, all lit up in blazing red foliage. Then you’ll remember that it’s supposed to look like it’s in flames. This tree’s five-alarm foliage rivals that of many Red Maples in fall, but Firestarter® has a narrower, more upright shape than most Maples, making it useful where a Red Maple would grow too wide.

The Tupelo Tree is undergoing a renaissance. Although it is native to much of the eastern U.S., only in recent years have many people begun to realize what a fantastic tree it is. What’s not to love? It’s easy to grow, tolerates wet or dry conditions, doesn’t have any major pest issues, and offers spectacular autumn color! Firestarter™ is a new Tupelo introduction that was selected at J. Frank Schmidt Nursery in Boring, Oregon, in 2005. The tree stood out from a large crop of seedlings with its upright habit, its particularly dark green summer foliage, and its vivid autumn color. It also turns color earlier in the fall than many other Tupelos.

How to use Firestarter® Black Gum in the landscape?

Choose a site for your Firestarter® Tupelo where it can live out a long, glorious life, because this legacy tree will enchant many generations to come. Tupelo is the longest-lived deciduous shade tree in the eastern U.S. In 2000, researchers found the oldest yet: a 679-year-old tree in New Hampshire! Plant it within your mixed borders or out in the lawn. This tough, adaptable beauty even makes a stellar street tree!

Why Bower & Branch?

At Bower & Branch, it’s our job to know and grow trees… especially big trees.

- Trusted, Experienced Growers

- Trusted, Knowledgeable Expertise

- Trusted Brand of Quality Trees Across the United States

We do the hard part. Our trees and plants are grown and cared for by only the best, local growers for years before they find their forever home in your landscape. Bower & Branch is known for having hard-to-find, substantial sizes and selection. The quality of our trees and plants are consistent in health and vigor—always ready for immediate impact in your garden and instant curb appeal. We never rush our trees to reach a 'grade size.’ Our trees are grown for quality height, vigor, health and age.

We believe in empowering homeowners with the truth about strong, healthy and structurally sound plants that are grown to perform in the ground after they leave the nursery for home delivery, always fresh inventory from the grower.

How To Plant Firestarter® Black Gum

Grow Firestarter® Tupelo in full sun to bring out the richest coloration in its fall foliage. This tree will also do well in part shade, though its autumn color will be more subdued there. Firestarter® is perfect for that low spot in your yard that stays soggy after a rain, and it tolerates some drought once established, too. A leaf spot disease sometimes afflicts Tupelos, but it is no cause for alarm.

How To Water

Water weekly, or better yet, use the Bower & Branch® Water Element to deliver just the right amount of moisture to your tree throughout the growing season.

How To Fertilize

Incorporate Elements Starter Plant Food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.

How To Prune

Pruning, though rarely necessary, should be accomplished in the fall.

Planting Zones

Hardiness Zone: 5-9

How Does Shipping Work?

Bower & Branch Trees, the real BIG trees, don’t fit in a box! Our large trees require expert delivery and care, that means our large trees are shipped on Bower & Branch trucks. We are the only ones who know how to ship our big and bigger trees and plants with tender loving care.

We deliver your trees and plants directly to your driveway or curbside! Ask Bower & Branch about planting services and rates – we'd be happy to assist in installation.

*Big trees and shrubs, Size XL (A) and bigger, will take approximately 2 to 4 weeks to be delivered. - Sizes Large (AA) and smaller (Treelings, Shrubs, Bushes, and Perennials) will be shipped directly to your home by a local common carrier in a plant-safe box.

How Does Sizing Work?

The size of our trees have nothing to do with the container size like you may find elsewhere–big doesn't mean just height - it’s also vigor, age, and overall health.. Other online retailers are going to tell you that a plant is a seven gallon, that means nothing to your tree or plant (or you.)

Our trees for sale online are graded on large, x-large, and even bigger sizes. This is because our trees are sized by their age—the higher the letter, the more mature the tree. The age determines the trees’ overall height, size of the trunk and the overall branch density.

All of these characteristics are what you should be looking for when choosing a tree for immediate impact and instant curb appeal. Our extra-large tree and plant sizes are sure to wow you and your neighbors!

See the size guides below.

How Trees are Shipped
Size 4XL D Trees Size 3XL C Trees Size 2XL B Trees Size XL A Trees Size LARGE AA Trees

Our Guarantees


Bower & Branch guarantees customer satisfaction within all product groups and sizes. If for any reason you are not satisfied with the product or experience, you have 90 days from the original date of purchase to request a replacement of the purchased product(s).


Reach out to a Plant Whisperer:

- Email:

- Phone: 866-873-3888

- Or via Online Chat


Bower & Branch offers a Three-Year Tree Guarantee on all of our trees, sizes X-Large (A) and up. Only the finest and the most experienced growers are awarded the opportunity to grow for Bower & Branch, so we offer the best guarantee available.

If your tree(s) should fail for any reason during the three-year guarantee period, you will receive an online gift card in the amount that you originally spent on the tree.* You can then use this online gift card for any Bower & Branch Purchase.

* Bower & Branch provides online gift cards in the amount of the original purchase price of the tree(s). The amount does not include any additional costs such as delivery, planting, tax, or any other products or services. Online gift cards can be applied towards any Bower & Branch purchase on and have no expiration dates. Bower & Branch does not guarantee tree replacement or availability of any desired product at any time. Cash refunds are not offered. Bower & Branch requires that all original tags and receipts are present when a guarantee request is initiated. The Bower & Branch Three-Year Guarantee only applies to plant material that has been planted in the ground. Container plantings are NOT covered.

At Bower & Branch, we do our best to honor all guarantee fulfillment requests to ensure customer satisfaction. However, we reserve the right to refuse the request if the required guarantee steps were not satisfied. Bower & Branch also reserves the right to deny any guarantee fulfillment request that is made as a result of animal damage, problems with plant hardiness and zone issues, or acts of nature (snow storms, hurricanes, and similar).

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