Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | January 22, 2010

Spikey Balls, Monkey Balls & Sweet Gum Balls

This is a spikey ball. This is what’s driving Mark crazy at the moment. The yard is covered with them. They’re fun to kick, but they’re hard to rake or blow with the leaf blower. Mark already spend one weekend raking them up in December before the snow fall. They fill 3 big black garbage bags. And now we have an equal amount out there now.

We call them spikey balls, but they’re also known as “sweet gum balls” or “monkey balls” – don’t ask me why (I’m sure my dad will come up with a good explanation). Rabbits and slugs don’t like them, but the squirrels do. We’ve taken to burning them when we have a fire in our fireplace – though it’s hard to get them to sit on the log, since they tend to roll off. You can use them as a firestarter – they apparently burn blue. But when you use a Duraflame like we do, who needs a firestarter?

You can also use the monkey balls as mulch. Maybe we’ll save them for our summer vegetable garden to keep away the critter (other than the squirrels).

These  puppies come from the Sweetgum tree, and apparently we have many of them.

Perhaps next year, we’ll do some crafts with them, like this intrepid blogger did. Or this person. Here’s a dog ornament. And a cute mouse. And a silver Christmas ornament.

Calling Martha Stewart! And calling all Boy Scout leaders and Girl Scout leaders. Here are some easy/cheap craft ideas. We’ll supply the spikey balls.

I found the Weasel Nut Gatherer that actually  works to pick up these balls from the yard. You can get it here. It works well, except for those already ground into the dirt. You have to kick those up first, before picking them up.


  1. […] gum balls for sale! I had no idea that my sweet gum ball post would create so much discussion. As my sister was reading it (thanks for subscribing, sis!), she […]

  2. […] then the spikey balls started falling. And by April, we had at least 10 garbage bags of them (above) stashed in our garage, taking up a […]

  3. do you still sale these interested in a bunch!,

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