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Flowering Trees

Come spring, maple trees have been in bloom, but their blooms aren’t obvious unless you’ve got an allergy to maple pollen. Flowering trees create flowers to entice pollinators to fertilize seeds, a few of which type fruits called drupes. These trees might have big or thick- blooms, seeds that could become squishy, and missiles or several fruits that make chaos on the floor. Plant them away from structures, garden furniture and sidewalks; they require areas that are open to strut their products.


Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) and tulip-trees (Liriodendron tulipa) bear huge, amazing flowers before they leaf out in spring, but as the thick petals fade and drop, they are able to create a slimy mess. Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia) trees create masses of magnificent panicles of red, purple, pinks or white over an extended period of time. The tree is named -like character of the flower petals which pile large in a layer that was slippery. The bristle-formed red spikes of the bottle brush (Callistemon citrinus, C. viminalis) can damage paint on vehicles or structures.


Many decorative trees bloom but litter the floor with seeds that sprout in to mini-forests. Messy maple helicopters, ash panicles and oak acorns all follow spring flowers that horticulturists contact “insignificant.” The lush lavender flowers of the western redbud (Cierus occidentalis), unique spikes of mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), and ungainly blooms of carob trees (Ceratonia siliqua) all give way to long, fleshy seedpods. When the distinctive blend flower-seedpods of the blue gum tree (Eucalyptus globulus) drop, they are able to dent a hood or concuss the family cat.


Older types of flowering plum or cherry (Prunus) and crabapple (Malus) trees pelted are as beneath their huge canopies with showers of small, tough fruits. Many hybrids that are newer place more focus on useable fruits or flower creation. Strawberry trees (Arbutus x “Marina”) produce masses of pink blooms followed by masses of messy fresh fruit called drupes. Bronze loquat (Eriobotrya deflexa) creates rose-shaped flowers and fleshy yellow-to-orange fruit, related to rosehips, that entice birds, squirrels and other critters. Ethephon sprays suppress the messy fresh fruit of the Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) and huge spiny fruits of the American sweetgum or liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua), apple and crabapple, carob and olive-trees.

Other Issues

Regular leaf fall soft or splintering wood, or a mixture of elements can result in flowering trees that are messy. Bronze loquat and magnolias fall leaves, flaxleaf paperbark (Melaleuca linariifolia) and mimosa have brittle wood that shatters in high winds. Bradford pears (Pyrus calleryana x “Bradford”) not only has brittle wood and creates messy fresh fruit, but its fresh fruit also attracts birds that carry parasitic mistletoe. For certain strategies for for the city, consult your nearby urban forester, Tree City U.S.A. adviser, or public-works professional regarding certain trees and cultivars.

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