Nyssa sylvatica


The Tupelo is a beautiful shade tree with good fall color – usually bright red, but some trees are orange or wine red. An excellent lawn tree, it grows as a wide pyramid with branches mostly horizontal. Females bear ½-inch fruits that are dry and non-staining. You can’t tell a male from a female tree when it’s young.


Note that any tree grown in a lawn may develop surface roots unless irrigation is properly managed. Tree roots need both air and water in the root zone. Lawns are frequently overwatered, resulting in water-logged soil with no air in the root zone. Check your tree’s root zone to see if it is water-logged or too dry. The best method is to dig a small hole about 12 inches deep and look at the soil: if it is bone dry, there is not enough water; if it is muddy, there is too much water; if it is moist like a cake, it is just right. Alternatively, you can use an inexpensive moisture meter from your nursery or hardware store and look for a “moist” reading.


Height: 30 to 45 feet
Spread: 25 to 35 feet
Growth Rate: moderate

Irrigation needed: medium to high water
Fall Color: red / orange / maroon
Flowers:  inconspicuous
Seeds/Fruit: dark oval seeds on female trees in fall

Planting Distances
Front of green utility box: 8 feet
Building, swimming pool: 15 feet
Fence, paving, underground utilities: 6 feet
Overhead, high voltage lines: 20 feet

Fall Color
Fall Color