Delivery Date Determined By Size
Wildfire Black Gum leaves transitioning from spring green to fall red color
Wildfire Black Gum leaves transitioning from deep green in spring to dark red in fall
Wildfire Black Gum elongated leaves in their fall red color
Wildfire Black Gum leaves transitioning from spring green to fall red color
Wildfire Black Gum leaves transitioning from deep green in spring to dark red in fall
Wildfire Black Gum elongated leaves in their fall red color

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 40' tall
  • Mature Width: 25' wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade
  • Spacing: 20-25' apart



  • Hand Selected, Fresh from the Grower
  • Ships on our trucks because of the size of the tree - does not fit in a box

Wildfire Black Gum (Sour Gum)

Bower & Branch Trees and Plants

Nyssa sylvatica 'Wildfire'

Regular price $625.00
Save 20% on Select Great Trees for Fall 2022 Planting - Use Code FALL22 at checkout.
Delivery Date Determined By Size
Shipping included
How large is this tree? View the Size Guide.
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Why the Wildfire Black Gum (Sour Gum)?

Warn your neighbors not to call 911, because this stunning shade tree will seem to burst into flames—not just once, but twice a year! Wildfire Black Gum pushes out fiery red leaves in spring which turn a cool green in the summer months, only to become ablaze again in fall. A single specimen in your yard will glow like a bonfire, and a row of trees lining your driveway or property line will become a breathtaking firestorm of red. This magnificent native tree isn’t one of those “live fast and die young” types, but is in it for the long haul, and many generations will be able to enjoy the show because of your wise choice.

Black Gum calls most of the Eastern U.S. home and also goes by the names Sour Gum, Tupelo, and Pepperidge.  Two fun facts:  bees make a high-grade honey—“Tupelo honey”—from its flowers, and the first Pepperidge Farm® cookies were actually made on a farm with “Pepperidge” trees on the property.  This selection was discovered in 1990 by Oregon nurseryman Steve Hottovy in a crop of one-year-old seedlings.  This plant has such brilliant red new growth that Hottovy thought a Red-Tip Photinia plant had gotten mixed in with his “Tupelos.”

How to use in the landscape?

Black Gum trees don’t get a lot of attention, because they don’t grow as fast as many Maples that also turn red in the fall, but people are finally beginning to take notice. New selections like Wildfire are paving the way for this stellar native tree to make it into more yards, and more and more people are learning its virtues. Before you know it, the news will be traveling like... oh, you know! 


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

This native Tree requires little care once established in the landscape. Wildfire is known for its red tinted foliage through the growing season and will benefit from regular Spring and Fall Bower & Branch Ongoing Care Fertilizer Element applications.

Blackgum can withstand some dryer conditions and urban settings. This is a very good grower in all kinds of conditions so if you have a problem area, this tree will overcome.

On the nursery the structure of branching is accomplished so additional pruning is required other than to determine how much clearance you would like under the tree. Simply remove lower branching as the tree matures to your desired branching height, this is easily accomplished in Spring and will not harm the tree as long as the cuts are made properly.

Do not be afraid to tip or shape the side branches as desired for overall appearance as well. After the first year of planting no additional watering should be required in normal weather.

Q: Does this tree get fruit?

A: No, this is a male selection and therefore will not have any fruit. 


How To Water

Black Gum will appreciate watering deeply, and regularly during its first few years in the ground. Irrigate weekly, and especially during long dry spells or extreme heat after it’s established.

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.

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, Size XL (A) and bigger, will take approximately 2 to 4 weeks days to be delivered. - Sizes large (AA) and smaller (Treelings) 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 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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