Sweet gum trees are beautiful, with spiky star-shaped leaves that provide plenty of shade in summer and produce brilliant colors in autumn. However, sweet gum balls can be a huge nuisance, and even a hazard for young animals that may swallow them, children or anyone who likes to walk around in bare feet. There are only a couple of ways you can clean up sweet gum balls, so be prepared to put in some time and effort.
Enlist the help of your friends, children or the kids next door to go around and simply pick up all of the sweet gum balls, but wearing gloves is recommended.
Wait until all of the sweet gum balls and leaves have fallen, and rake them up into a large pile and place in lawn bags.
Buy or rent a specialized tool for harvesting nuts, since many of the manufacturers of these machines claim that they will pick up sweet gum balls, as well.
Consider using a commercial chemical that can be sprayed on the tree to stop or decrease the production of sweet gum balls. Ask your local nursery about what options are available.