Jayme is a writer and artist from Oklahoma who has survived 9 consecutive years of gardening wins and fails.
Almost everyone loves a beautiful tree. They offer us shade and sometimes fruit in the summer and windbreaks in the winter. In the spring, they might produce lovely flowers, and in the autumn, some brilliantly colored leaves.
Like every pretty thing though, trees require maintenance. They need to be trimmed and pruned when their branches hang low, and someone has to clean up after they have shed their flowers, leaves, and other baubles.
Trees That Don't Shed vs. Trees That Do
There are two main kinds of tree: deciduous and evergreen. The former lose all their leaves in fall and winter, while the latter keeps them pretty much year round, losing them very gradually. As you can imagine, evergreen trees are far less messy!
Keep in mind, however, that while evergreen trees may not shed their leaves the same way, they can drop petals, needles, and fruit, so there is still a bit of maintenance and cleanup required. If you want a truly no-maintenance tree, you'll have to go artificial!
5 Messy Trees Not to Plant in Your Yard
When you buy that new home in April, you might not realize that those majestic trees that won your heart at the showing may eventually make you despise your yard. If you hate extra lawn care as much as I do, then here are five specimens you may want to avoid.
- Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
- Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
- Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
- Oak (genus Quercus)
- Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)
Keep scrolling to learn why these trees are such a pain. At the bottom of the page, you will find a list of more messy trees to avoid, as well as a list of comparatively low-maintenance trees.
1. Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
As a Southerner, it is very difficult to insult this beautiful and traditional tree. Magnolias are a traditional element in southern landscaping. At one time, ladies wanted to keep their skin as creamy and white as the flowers of this tree.
It is one of the prettiest trees in the world. It makes a distinct sound when the wind blows through the leaves and it produces large, white flowers that fill the air with sweet perfume. The seeds are a striking cherry-red color, and the bark pattern is uniquely textured.
Daily Debris Cleanup
When I was younger, we moved to a farm with five of these elegant belles. They were old and dignified and planted right against the house. Every morning, (and I do mean EVERY morning) of the year, they had shed enough small branches to create small brush piles. I don't know how they managed to never look bare. I do know we never had to gather kindling wood for the winter because it was always available just outside the door.
In addition to the twigs and branches, they shed their leaves. Magnolia leaves are crisp and waxy even when green, which made raking them very difficult. It was easier to poke them with a sharp stick.
And those sweet, white flowers? The petals were leathery, wet, and tough. You didn't want to mow over too many of them, because they would congeal under the mower and create a mess. Plus, the pollen in the center of the flower left the whole yard covered in what looked to be little matchsticks.
Beware the Magnolia Cones
So why did we bother to rake up all the leaves and petals when we lived "way out in the boonies"? Because lurking under that innocent carpet lay the dreaded magnolia cones. I suppose in some places the cones are seasonal, but in southeast Oklahoma, they fell all year. Step on an unseen cone, and you were asking for a broken ankle. Hit one with the mower? If it didn't ruin the blades, then it was slung out and into something else. LIke a window, perhaps.
Unlike pine cones, magnolia cones are not brittle. They are like baseballs, easily capable of taking out a window or knocking a person unconscious.
Cleaning up the magnolia litter was a dreaded chore. All of the cones had to be gathered daily by hand, and disposal was a challenge. Whereas the wood, flowers, and leaves would all burn easily (the leaves sound like fire-crackers, by the way, if anyone would like to try) the cones would not burn. Hundreds of cones a week were collected and eventually piled on a back acre. They were still there after a decade, and I suppose they are still there now.
Magnolia Tree Planting Tips
This doesn't mean magnolias should be discounted. They are enjoyable, ornamental trees. My recommendation, however, would be to plant them a safe distance from your yard. At the very least, plant them as far away as possible from common foot traffic areas to prevent stepping on cones.
You could also try planting a Little Gem Magnolia, also known as the dwarf Southern magnolia. It will still create the same mess as its larger relative, but on a much smaller scale.
- State tree of Mississippi
- State flower of Louisiana
- Lent its name and grace to the film Steel Magnolias, a popular drama
- Fossilized remains of Magnolias have been found dating back 68 million years
2. Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
The sweet gum tree is often planted as an ornamental tree. It has brilliantly colored autumn foliage, much like the maple tree, which makes it stand out when trees start putting on their fall fashion show.
Sweet Gum Seeds and Fruit
The seeds and fruit from this tree are one and the same, commonly known as gum balls (and not the nice kind). These spiky balls are one reason you might not want to plant sweet gums too close to the house. If you have one of the non-sterile varieties, it will shed not only its leaves, but also thousands of "gum balls". Gum balls may sound appetizing, but in reality, they are neither sweet nor edible.
They are hard, brown, spiky balls that can create some serious hazards. Not only can they wound you if you slip and fall onto them, but they can also roll unexpectedly, causing sprained ankles . . . and the above-mentioned slips and falls.
What's worse, these sweet gum balls (again, not to be confused with sweet gumballs!) are nearly impossible to rake, meaning they almost always have to be picked up by hand. I saw a yard once that was bordered by 12 sweet gum trees. The owner declared that it took the entire family two weeks every year to pick up only the majority of balls.
Not a good idea to hit them with the riding mower either. When airborne, they are as dangerous as grenades. Like magnolia cones, the balls don't break down easily in compost or a rubbish pile. And yes, they can be sharp enough to pierce through gardening gloves, a thin shoe sole...and definitely skin.
Sap, Sap, Sap
I don't know about cooler climates, but in the Oklahoman heat, sweet gum trees ooze amber sap that sticks to your shoes when you walk across the yard.
Then all the leaves, dirt, and other outside debris sticks to the resin and tracks into your house. If you think you worked hard getting the yard cleaned up, wait until you try removing sweet gum sap from a carpet. (Or from your car!)
Pros of Sweet Gum Trees
However, the tree has some beneficial properties. Its infertile seed pods contain shikimic acid, used to synthesize Tamiflu, a drug used to prevent or alleviate influenza infections.
The sweet gum balls can also be turned into interesting craft projects—a far more common use for the tree's dried seed pods. 50 or so of these seed pods can be glued together to form a topiary, basket, or wreath for a Thanksgiving decoration. That only leaves you approximately 98,456 gum balls left for disposal.
3. Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
Who doesn't like pecans? They are a delicious nut! This is no doubt why people thought it was handy to plant pecan trees close to their houses. Just step outside, and there will be all the pecans you can eat right for the taking! Don't forget that pecan wood smells heavenly in a fireplace, and when used in a smoker gives meat a savory flavor. So how could a pecan tree be bad?
Pecan Trees Shed Everything From Leaves to Branches
Like the catalpa tree, the pecan tree sheds just about everything. Older trees, which produce more bountiful crops, are very brittle, especially in a dry season.
They don't just shed twigs, either. A heavy wind or ice storm will take out whole branches, some of which are the size of small trees themselves. Not that really bad weather is needed . . . I have seen some reasonably young, supposedly supple pecans drop branches in just a light thunderstorm.
They also deposit an absolutely incredible tonnage of leaves, and not just a few at a time. It will seem as though every leaf on the tree counted to three and then let go, all at once.
These leaves are small, and will easily clog gutters. They can also work their way into crevices on your automobile where they cause some problems. Somewhere under that knee-deep crunchy carpet though, lie your prized delicacies . . . the pecans.
The Pecans Require Lots of Work
But pecans don't fall off the tree looking like the un-shelled versions you buy at the store for the holidays. They are encased in two shells! The first one is a dark, armor-plated outer shell (may be green when it first falls) If you find the pecans still imprisoned thusly, you have to either wait for this husk to fall off, or you have to work a little harder for your snack.
If the outer shells have already fallen off, then you will have a million of these too. Watch out for them when you are digging for pecans; these shells can have sharp points that will puncture a tennis shoe sole. Ouch!
If you love pecans, then having your own tree is probably worth the work for you. You won't mind the damage to your roof from a fallen branch, or the garage full of leaves.
Unbelievably Sticky Sap
You might, however, mind the yellow coating of adhesive sap that just coated your car. Not to mention the sticky pollen that coated the sap and created a pasty substance that will eventually eat the paint. This pollen/sap mixture can actually be sticky enough to rip apart a windshield wiper blade if you accidentally turn on the wipers before scraping the glass!
If none of this bothers you, then you will gather your nuts with joy and think of pecan pies . . . and I hope you really like pecan pies. One lovely old pecan tree that I know all too well once produced over 100 pounds of shelled pecans one season. That, my friends, is a lot of pecan pies.
NOTE: Pecan trees are also inviting to web worms, and you will often find worms and other bugs under the dense carpet of leaves, inside the husks, and burrowed into the pecans.
And as a final gift, you may find your yard covered in tons of baby pecan trees.
4. Oak (genus Quercus)
It was hard to include the great oak tree in this list because it is such a wonderful tree. I love oak trees for their shade, their amazing size, and of course all the folklore and legends that surround them.
Acorns, Leaves, and Branches
Some oak trees can dwell unobtrusively in your yard, dropping only their leaves and a few twigs now and then. Others, however, produce acorns, which are very fascinating, but difficult to rake up.
Some oak trees are sturdier than others. For years we had very large, old oaks that rarely lost a twig during high winds. Now I have an oak tree that can drop a tree-sized limb if someone sneezes inside the house.
Prone to Lightning Strikes
According to the forestry service, oaks are more likely than other trees to be struck by lightning, (with beeches being the least likely.) Whether this is due to their height, or the fact that there are more species of oaks in some places than other trees, it is still something to take into consideration if you have an oak planted too close to your house.
Note: Like sweet gum balls, acorns (and pecans too) can be used in a variety of craft projects. Be sure to toast nuts and seed pods in the oven before you decide to paint them or glue them to a wreath. If you don't, you might walk in one day to find the nuts are speckled with holes, and your centerpiece crawling with little worms. If you'd rather cook than craft, you can also make your own acorn flour.
5. Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)
The catalpa tree, (also known as a catawba tree) is a fairly common tree, so much so, in fact, that it is often considered a "weed" in certain areas. I don't personally know of anyone who plants them intentionally, especially near houses, but that doesn't mean you are safe from their presence.
Catalpa Leaves, Flowers, and . . . Worms
This tree has very large, heart-shaped leaves, which look incredibly lush and well-groomed during the spring and summer. They almost look too perfect, like drawings where each leaf is painstakingly reproduced.
They also produce fluffy white flowers and long, skinny seed pods. And they are home to the catalpa worm. Make that worms.
A single tree can be covered in thousands of these grotesque little creatures (which are actually caterpillars), earning the catalpa the nickname of "fish bait" tree. The worms make excellent bait . . . but you won't have much time to go fishing if you have one or two of these trees.
Massive Cleanup Required
The catalpa tree sheds the large green leaves all year in heavy breezes. In fall or after a drought, one or two trees can completely bury a yard in gigantic brown leaves. They also shed twigs and bark, and in the spring, those pretty white flowers explode across the lawn, making it look as though a Styrofoam bead factory exploded on your grass.
While you are busy raking leaves and twigs and large chunks of bark, you will also find the seed pods. Don't forget to watch for the worms. If you brush up against the leaves, you might find yourself covered in little friends.
Worst Messy Tree Features
|Tree||Sheds Leaves?||Sheds Limbs?||Sheds Flowers, Fruit, Other Debris?||Draws Lightning or Is Weak?|
Weak limbs/draws lightning
More Messy Trees to Avoid
- Eucalyptus Trees: In addition to having shallow root systems and brittle branches, these trees are extremely messy. The bark is constantly peeling off, leaving a mess of dried bark below.
- Redwood Trees: In addition to ruining sidewalks and foundations and choking out any other plant life by blocking the sun, redwood trees are incredibly messy. They never stop dropping needle-like leaves, and they are prone to dropping branches during storms.
- Bottlebrush Trees: The bottlebrush-like flowers of this tree shed like no other, and due to their soft nature, they're extremely difficult to clean up. You'll end up with thousands of red, needle-like bits stuck here, there, and everywhere.
- Mimosa Trees: This tree is brittle, yielding branches that frequently break off even in slight storms. In addition to dropping branches, leaves, and flowers, it also drops lots of seeds, so you may quickly end up with more mimosas than you bargained for.
- Mulberry Tree: These trees produce an incredible amount of pollen, which will coat not only your car and lawn, but is likely to infiltrate your home as well, making "dusting" an even more frequent chore. The pollen from this tree also attracts an army of different insects who are also likely to make their way inside. Yuck.
- Linden Trees: These trees secrete sap like no other. Just one of these trees can coat your car, your lawn, your walkway—everything—in a sticky film of sap.
- Tulip Trees: Also known as tulip poplars, these trees drop something in every season—flowers in spring, sap in summer, leaves and seedpods in fall, and sticks in winter. In short, these trees are a mess year round.
- Plum Trees: Unless you can somehow pick and eat them fast enough, a plum tree is going to litter the ground around it with innumerable sticky, squishy plum lumps. They're about as fun to clean up as they are to step in. Unfortunately, this isn't only the case with plum trees, so unless you plan on starting your own jam company, it's probably best to avoid planting a fruit tree of any kind.
- Bradford Pear: A popular ornamental tree, this one can make the yard look a snowstorm in late spring when the flowers fall. It also sheds leaves throughout the year, and gobs of them in fall. The limbs can also be brittle, and it puts up a lot of annoying suckers.
Before I Make Like a Tree and Leave . . .
All trees have their pros and cons. If you have large, well-established trees, you may tolerate the cons because you are reticent to sacrifice the tree's shade for the time it takes a newer model to grow to adulthood.
If you do decide to take the plunge and replace those messy trees with lower-maintenance trees, you may have to wait a while before your landscape looks complete. Here are some recommended trees for us lazy landscapers, but keep in mind that while these trees don't shed as drastically as the five listed above, they do still drop leaves, fruit, flowers, etc. The only truly no-maintenance trees are the ones made of plastic (and even those require a little dusting from time to time!).
Low-Maintenance Trees That Don't Shed Their Leaves in Fall:
- Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
- Crabapple (genus Malus)
- Pine (genus Pinus)
- Spruce (genus Picea)
- Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
- Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
- Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
- Cedar (genus Cedrus)
- And of course, don't forget those lightning-safe beeches (genus Fagus)!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Jayme Kinsey
Fran Stinson on August 21, 2020:
I lived in Southern California with a pool in ground, and two 90 foot canary island pine trees. They constantly shed their needles in the pool and would clog the filter. They where removed and the maintenance on the pool became much easier.
Ryan on August 14, 2020:
I had a liquidamber tree in my back yard and it was awful. I mean.. when I bought the house I though, that's a cool maple. And that fall I was impressed with the color. Then I started to change the landscaping in that area and I realized what I was getting myself into. The thing had broken into every irrigation, drainage system it could. It's surface roots were everywhere and nearly breaking into my patio. I tried to remove it. Yeah. It had only a 6 inch stump so I thought it would be respectibly easy to remove. No. It a 3ft diameter root ball 2 1/2 ft deep. It was an absolute monster to remove compared to any normal tree I've removed. I had to remove it with equipment. I thought aspens were evil. This tree is insidious. If I had a large yard, it would be something different. But I have a small yard. I don't need a 100ft tree.
Liquidambers are awesome looking trees. In someone else's yard. Far far away from mine.
Ann on August 08, 2020:
Golden Rain Trees - horrible mess all year long. First they drop their leaves, then the seed pods which are inside what appears to be a cross between a leaf and a flower petal. These little black seeds then start to grow their own crop of trees everywhere they come to rest soil or not. About the time that is done they literally rain the tiny yellow flowers so numerous that we have to sweep daily sometimes more than once to keep the concrete patio from feeling like you are walking on a cushion. Then it starts dropping the little branches that the seed pods and flowers were on. There is about one month where the shade is wonderful before the whole process starts over again.
Susan chambers on August 04, 2020:
Is there a way to stop Crepe Myrtles from blooming and making a huge mess on my patio?
Pam on July 21, 2020:
Love the information about messy trees! I will definitely use this if I ever move, but I have to add the Cottonwood to your list. I've been told that now the only kind of Cottonwood you can buy is "cottonless" but, boy, the older trees are horrible. I have two large Cottonwoods in my back yard and their cotton make it impossible to be in the back yard for about six weeks every spring/early summer. It creates drifts of cotton that sticks like crazy once it lands on landscaping (and it never biodegrades). You can't rake it or blow it and it clogs the lawnmower when you try to mow the lawn. These trees also like to drop twigs constantly but they provide wonderful shade so I won't be getting rid of them.
Sara on July 02, 2020:
This was the funniest and most informative article i have read in aome time. Thank you for the chuckles.
Jeff on May 27, 2020:
Try looking up a Flamboyant tree. We have them in St Thomas and they make an Oak 'Tree look clean.
SunnyLander on May 23, 2020:
We used to live in a house with a small front yard that had not one, but two sweet gum trees in front. What a horrendous and almost impossible to clean up mess those trees made with their golf ball sized spikey balls that were as hard as rocks! Ouch! Beware the sweet gum!
grantiago on May 05, 2020:
Spray the sweet gums with a growth regulator (Florel for one) in the spring when they are flowering.
mrmic on May 03, 2020:
I'm ready to plant a three trees in my back yard (medium sized), but I have a daughter who is allergic to bees. Help!
someone on April 20, 2020:
i do not like your opinions of trees.
bryan on April 20, 2020:
My community has sweet gum trees planted in front of every house.
Maybe the developer thought this was a great idea. It is a totally failure.
These Trees drop MILLIONS of them good for nothing balls. Many people twist there ankles and the wind brings them everywhere.
Literlly tons of these balls are dropped every year from November to April where they clog up the drain sewers and clog up the waterways.
Where there are neighbors to clean up... you will find 20 - 50 bags of these balls out for waste pickup.
I would never, ever, again buy a home where one of these trees is within a MILE. NEVER... EVER.
and recommend that you don't either, unless you are a glutton for punishment... and these trees WILL punish you. Relentlessly. !!
Sharon on August 03, 2019:
I moved into my Oakland, CA home 10 years ago, and the main trees in the yard were a lemon tree (no special cultivar), several plum trees, and several loquats, I advise, NEVER plant ANY of these trees anywhere you might want to go near. Japanese loquats--filthy mess with something dying and dropping all year long--and I don't mean the leaves, which are voluminous, but at least not moldy, filthy, or squishy, like the fruit. (There is another variety of loquat, the Bronze Loquat, however, which is beautiful and apparently without the useless fruit.) Plums--squishy, rotting fruit through July and August, squashed all over your walkways and patio. The "plums of Damocles." Even if they taste good (some of mine are great), it's not worth the trouble. If you want to keep any nice enough to eat, you will have to string bird-netting under and make a hobby of it, but who can eat hundreds of plums, anyway? And the lemon--a tree from hell, with 3" thorns everywhere and hundreds of pounds of lemons that fall like bombs and break any plants beneath them. Yet strangely difficult to pick off. Filthy black mold on leaves, too. Bottom line: Don't plant fruit trees unless you are a fruit farmer!!!!
Monica Mestas on June 07, 2019:
You forgot to mention Texas Umbrella (China Berry) trees.
Four years ago, I moved into a tiny home built in 1936. Really, I bought the property for the beautiful, gigantic, mature trees, which include 1 catalpa, 1 pecan, 1 mimosa, and 3 texas umbrellas. So as much as I love them, the mess is neverending. If only I had enough disposable income to hire a full-time arborist /groundskeeper. Right now, I'm smack dab in the pecan catkins removal stage. Ugh!
Sharon from NW Arkansas on June 05, 2019:
Wow so glad to find your hub, Thank you for posting. Tree Huggers should read, then come rake my large yard ! Jayme, I so agree with your information. We don’t hate tress just use some smarts before purchasing and planting. Think of your neighbors yards too... winds do blow !!! My home owners experience has been a hard lesson with trees. We had 10 large trees when we purchased our home 25 years ago. Now only 1 weed sapling (it’s life unsured ) First one Elm tree died, back with Dutch Elm disease, cost us to have removed from city street where it fell. Second one very Large Oak during Ice storm 2009 broke limbs... one when thru patio swing top, one thru husbands truck window, one when thru roof of house. Cost to us to trim up beautiful old tall oak to save. Then during another storm that dad gum Oak tree thanked us by getting hit by lightning. So loud was the sound we jumped out of bed sound sleep. Tree man came saw the tips of leaves burned and knew that tree was done, lightning hit top of tree and traveled down thru middle of trunk. Cost us $1,500. To take down and cut up and grind trunk. The third was a sweet gum in front yard by drive way, well after I stepped on one of the darn hard balls and turned my ankle going to my car. Cost was plenty ER, Doctors, pain... My neighbor told my husband he should have sprayed that sweet gum tree to stop it from seeding and making balls. My husband said Thanks, then cut it down himself. Neighbor had a fit
Steve on June 02, 2019:
White Pines are our nightmare. We have several large full size pines surrounding our pool. What a mistake. First they blow out huge clouds of pollen for a couple of weeks in the spring. Then small pods that look like fly larvae. Then a fine rain of refuse through the summer. Then once the first frost hits....about a third of the needles turn yellow and drop everywhere, covering the ground. Finally the last insult....pine cones all winter. I hate them!!!!!
Norm on April 18, 2019:
I see some comments about trees that I would say are normal for trees that lose their leaves in the fall. If you can't handle that then get an apartment. I've got 3 crape myrtles and they don't drop much and are gorgeous. I grew up with large silver maples and while in spring they do have their 'wing' drop it's not much and the next lawn mowing gets rid of them. Here is the absolute worst tree I have had to put up with: Goldenball Lead tree. They are a weed tree, grow faster than fast, almost impossible to get rid of, and when it is done dropping its golden balls in the spring it starts dropping large seed pods (12"+ x 3/4") and then the seeds just pour out of those and they seem to be the most fertile seed ever. I think they'd start growing in humid air. I have pulled three of them out of my property because they were so bad and my neighbor has a couple that constantly rain on my land... I am killing off about 1000 of those seedlings every year. THIS tree should top your and every chart for dirtiest tree!
Pvcole on March 07, 2018:
Crape myrtles drop flowers in the summer, leaves and seed pods in the fall, and the bark peels in the winter and spring. Beautiful tree (my shrubs are 20 feet tall or more) but they drop SOMETHING year round.
LuLu on November 02, 2017:
We are new to Idaho and love it, but we have a tree that is creating mess in front yard. Drops leaves (neighbor says it is the last to lose its leaves) and has these hard "seeds/berries" that stain our driveway.
What is this tree?
Pam Payne on June 02, 2017:
A nightmare tree not mentioned was cork screw willow. I received two slips from friend. Planted them for shade over my patio behind my garage. Four years later I have these huge trees that drop branches all the time-but when it storms the large branches drop. My gutters were constantly full . Had a wooden privacy screen put in at edge of patio. Tree roots pushed it out of ground. Paid $350 but now there gone!
Barbara DeTemple on May 10, 2017:
Let me add the Flowering Crabapple Tree. Yes it has beautiful pink flowers in spring and red berries for winter interest but what a mess and a lot of work to remove seedlings and saplings that sprout up through out the spring and summer. Constant battle.
Jennifer on September 22, 2016:
I have millions of little brown flakes that fall from my beech trees, they get everywhere, I spend lots of hours trying to sweep them up, once I've done it I turn around and they are back, they drive me mad. What are these little flakes and what are their purpose?
Steve on July 07, 2016:
We have a Silver Maple and a Catalpa in our yard, I would rather have the Catalpa any day.
James on May 24, 2016:
Jacaranda, the perfect beautiful tree for someone else's yard!
Leslie J Williams on May 10, 2016:
BRADFORD PEARS - top of the list!
spiral amethyst on May 02, 2016:
crepe myrtle (even tho it is a shrub) - i am surprised you did
not add to the list, very messy!!!!!
kfromwv on August 31, 2015:
I have lived in my present home for a little over a year and finally had the old Magnolia in my yard cut down. I could not stand the thing. I swear it dropped leaves 365 days a year and the leaves were a great pain to rake up. I am not sorry for having it chopped down - I am sure I am one of the few that don't like this classic Southern tree.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 08, 2015:
This was another great hub from you, Jaymie. No wonder they're the worst in the messy tree department. So very insightful and informative. Voted up for interesting!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on June 15, 2014:
@moofish. I've never had the pleasure of being around walnuts, but I can definitely agree about the mulberries!
moofish on October 11, 2013:
heh, you didn't even mention walnut, that's another nasty one... my parents neighborhood is full of Catalpa, Mulberry, maples, walnut, etc.... they ALL make a mess.. what the mulberries lack in direct mess they make up for in bird droppings
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on October 30, 2012:
@Lipnancy--Thanks for stopping by.. These trees are beautiful to own, but they do require a lot of love and care.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on October 30, 2012:
@Denise-I didn't know there were more Magnolias either until I started looking for a picture of one for this hub. I had never seen the little ones before with the petite blossoms. I imagine they would be a lot cleaner.
The ones in NC are probably the same as the ones here in OK. The large trees with the enormous blossoms and leaves. I guess they like the warmer climates.
Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on October 17, 2012:
Great pictures you used as examples of these trees. Unfortunately, I do not own any of these. Great hub. Very informative.
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on October 16, 2012:
Hi Sharkey, I just read your comment and have to reply to this. I did not realize until I lived in NC that there are actually two types of magnolia trees. The one in our front lawn in Michigan was a very small tree that stayed small and the branches grew out. It had a slow growth. The ones I see in NC are HUGE and have a waxier leaf. In fact, I didn't even realize they were magnolias until spring when the blossoms came out. :)
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on October 15, 2012:
Thank you, Les Trois Chenes for the great comment. Sadly, I don't think many towns approve of keeping pigs in your yard. If they did then it would certainly take care of a lot of acorn and pecan problems. I can say from experience though, that they will not eat anything from a Magnolia tree!
Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on October 15, 2012:
Wow! I never suspected. Our local park and city landscaping along some of our streets are full of sweet gum trees, and I was contemplating getting one because of their beautiful fall colors. We do have an oak tree on the property, but it's very far from the house and garden areas, all by itself. However the large oak across the street from our Paso Robles house is dropping acorns on the sidewalk like crazy. Its a lovely oak, and a bee tree, but I'm glad it's not my job to clean off the sidewalk. Thanks for sharing this information.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on October 15, 2012:
Thank you Denise! For the comment and the link! I agree, I would never have the heart to cut down a Magnolia, but I wouldn't plant one close to the house either. Not just because of the litter, but because with our tornadoes and bad storms, we need trees that are much stronger. And that do not draw lightning!
Thanks again for your support!
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on October 15, 2012:
Hi Sharkye11-I just added your hub to my Tree hub. :)
Les Trois Chenes from Videix, Limousin, South West France on October 14, 2012:
What a well-written, informed and useful hub! I'm a landscape architect and these are the sorts of things that everyone should know before planting trees. Particularly when planting near roads, buildings or parked cars. I live in Limousin, S W France now, and the whole area is covered in oak and sweet chestnut woodlands. I can testify to the oak shedding twigs and small branches. The acorns are not such a problem for us - I think they are mostly eaten by mice. Of course the answer to the first problem is to get a woodburning stove, and to the second - a pig!
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on October 14, 2012:
I had no idea that the oak was so frequently struck by lightening. I love this hub. I love trees anyhow, and the video, the music, the humor and the info here is outstanding. I rated it up and am sharing. I have also written a tree hub so I will link yours to that one. Thanks for sharing!
My mother loved magnolia trees and we had one in our front yard in Michigan, along with maples and fruit trees in the back yard. It was a mess to clean up but the beauty outshone it all. When my husband and I lived in that home he did nothing but complain of the petals and leaves. I just tolerated his comments because I wasn't going to de-plant them, haha.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on October 13, 2012:
@Billy--Thank you very much! I was glad to leave the magnolias behind, for sure. I love seeing them far away, in other people's yards!
The oaks are a little un-nerving when you think how many are planted close to homes and businesses. Even if they aren't close, they are tall enough to reach quite a distance if the split, shatter, or fall.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on October 13, 2012:
@Peggy--Thanks for the comment and votes. I forgot to mention in the hub about all the sprouts that would have to be pulled if you don't collect all the seeds and nuts from these trees!
I fell for the gumball trick once. I asked someone for enough to make a tree. They said " only if you take them all." Haha. Two huge garbage bags full! I actually read an article defending those trees, saying that sweet gum balls were soft and pretty. Obviously they have never fallen on a pile of them!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2012:
Love this and your sense of humor! Magnolias are my personal least favorite. I was amazed to hear that oaks are the most likely to be struck by lightning. Interesting information here!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 13, 2012:
Our home is surrounded by large oak trees and whether it is due to last years severe drought in Houston or not...they are dropping acorns this year like never before. Am sure that I will be pulling up ones from garden beds or ones that squirrels have dug into the ground for some time to come. Oh...and the raking job that lies ahead. Ugh!
I have used the sweet gum balls in craft projects and the people were HAPPY to have me collect them from their yard. I can see why!
As to the magnolia trees...I like looking at them but would not want the mess in my yard. Like you indicated, it is just about a daily job to keep the ground cleared out from underneath that type of tree.
You have given the lazy and not so lazy gardeners something to consider when planting trees. Up, useful and interesting votes.