The Blackgum is not bothered by serious insect or disease problems. Occasional problems with leaf spot, leaf miners, cankers, caterpillars, and scale insects, but rarely are serious enough to need any action on the part of the homeowner.
In recent years a large number of Blackgum trees have been discovered dying in the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia. the symptoms include leaf spots, branch cankers, leaves dying a hanging on the tree, and leaf blotches. The problem is believed to be some version of anthracnose, similar to the problem attacking dogwoods on the east coast. Blackgum and dogwood are so closely related that they formerly were classified in the same plant family.