The Blackgum should be considered an excellent native tree to plant in the home landscape for both fall color and year round ornamental effect. Can be used as a specimen or as a street tree. Because it has a nice compact form, it is a nice size for small landscapes.
The Blackgum is an ideal candidate as one of the central trees in a restoration hedgerow.
Honeybees make a very fine honey from the flowers. Where the tree is common in the south, Blackgum or Tupelo honey is often sold by name. In some areas this tree is known as a "honey tree." In earlier times sections of the trunk of Blackgum were used as bee hives. The tendency of many Blackgums to develop cavities made it ideal for early beekeepers to use as hives when cut in 2-4 foot sections.
Out in the country and exurbs, this tree is a wonderful source of food and homes for the critters. Because it tends to develop cavities in its trunk, Blackgum is usually ranked as one of the more dependable den tree species for squirrels, owls, and the like. The list of animals that eat the fruits includes wild turkey, yellowshafted flicker, robin, brown thrasher, wood thrush, pileated woodpecker, gray squirrel, fox, raccoon, opossum, and chipmunk.
Blackgum has a very dense wood that is difficult to cut and nearly impossible to split. Consequently it is not well suited for the manufacturing of most wood products. However, if large enough sections of clear wood are found, it can be used for lumber, veneer, and to some extent for railway ties. The lumber primarily goes into products where a high quality finish is not necessary, such as shipping containers and parts for covered furniture. Most often, Blackgum is chipped and used to produce paper products. It can be readily pulped and is used for high-grade book and magazine papers. Blackgum was also known as a "toothbrush" tree to pioneers. Its twigs contain soft fibers, which made a natural toothbrush when twisted.