Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oak Flowers: What a Mess!

Every spring brings a bit of a messy problem in my Tennessee garden. Oak flowers fall everywhere and get into everything. There is no escaping them when you are shaded by mature oaks in the garden. Do you see all the oak flowers swamping my deck? What a mess to clean up! And here you thought trees only dropped leaves, and those only in the fall. At least this is what I thought prior to moving here in 2001. Big surprise for me! It's okay, give me the shade any day and if I have to put up with all these messy flowers falling for a week long period in the spring, so be it. Right now I have to get back to sweeping the deck....

What messy problems do you have in your garden caused by trees? Cottonwood? Pollen? Flowers? Branches? Do you do anything special to deal with these issues?

in the garden....

I'll be out of the net the next few days. Finals and projects will occupy most of my time. So don't worry if I'm not around. I'll do my best but it is a BIG project. (read tough!)


  1. Good morning Tina, I hope your visit when well. I did not know those wormy things were from oak trees. We have them but we don't really have oaks around us. Where are they coming from? I guess there is a secret oak somewhere. All the trees seem to be dropping bits more than there normal amount right now. Probably all the rain and wind beating stuff down. The river birch trees are the worst messer here with the falling of small branches. Constant pick up sticks. Good for the waistline. Good luck on your project. HA

  2. Hi Tina .. I have a mess to pick out of the garden with Maple twirly bird flyers .. they try to root as quickly as possible so it takes a bit of care picking each one out .. a royal pain !! LOL

  3. Those oak flowers aren't as bad as the pine flowers...those icky chennile worms. In between rainstorms I had to get on the ladder and clean out the gutters because the pine stuff had filled up the downspouts. Nothing better than being on a ladder as it sinks into the soft wet soil, hoping that the rain doesn't start again before you are done.

  4. That's a LOT of oak flowers! I do have to deal with bamboo leaves, especially in the winter months. They tend to be very messy!

    All the best for the project! Will miss you!

  5. The cottonwood drops a lot of branches over the winter. I also have a tree that has sticky bud coatings--not sure what it is--that Fiona (but not James) has a habit of getting in her fur.

  6. We, I have many, many pinecones! And oak worms and birch worms. Alot of a mess!

  7. Tina, as much as I love that remaining Bradford Pear tree--it is a mess! Spring blooms fall everywhere, including the pond. Ugh! :)
    Good luck on the exams!

  8. Tina, As you saw yesterday, I have Oak flowers, too. They are a mess each spring,this year they have been especially noticeable clogging the gutters. I also have shagbark hickory nuts that fall on the patio...this will be a banner year, since last year there weren't many!


  9. Morning all! I wasn't sure if I'd post this. I thought it might be too mundane and not so beautiful but am pleasantly surprised at all the other problems and talk I am hearing of messy trees!

    Frances, I never knew oaks dropped these either until I moved here. A real mess. You must have some kind of oak somewhere. You'll find it one day I bet. My birch is so small-not much mess yet. Bummer too since it is over the parking area. We had a very good visit. Too short as always. Finals in school That one is done now! It was a pleasure speaking with you too!

    Joy, Grrrr on the volunteers. Big headache there for sure!

    Janet, You are my kind of gal to get up there and clean your gutters in between the rains! You be careful now. I don't care for those worms either. yucky!

    Kanak, They are so light they catch onto everything-everywhere. A real mess. I'm on here early, but won't be later so much. Too much work!

    Monica, I should know what that sticky bud tree-but it escapes me. Poor kitty to get tangled in it!

    Dawn, Gotta hate those pinecones! I get them here and what a pain to pick them up. I sympathize totally.

    Linda, That must be a real pain cleaning the pond. But oh the shade-especially in Texas!

    Gail, Yes! You had tons of oak flowers. I loved the shagbarks. All your trees are gorgeous. Thank you so much for having me come by. You should have seen my classmates. They waited to help me unload all the irises-every bag gone. Even Jim was excited. Have a good day and get in the garden. I'll be working on school work. Sigh.

    Talk to you all later!

  10. After you left the sun came out big time! I just knew the partly cloudy day was going to be partly sunny, but so blue! One of the iris fell over and it is still blooming like crazy...thank you for a great visit. Gail

  11. I love mundane posts, they're my favourites. To me gardening is all about the small things, the little daily tasks, the minor hassles and the beautiful tiny discoveries. But good luck with the Big job though!

    I'm a very untidy gardener, and now that I am putting the effort in I realise it's not merely lazines - I do prefer a very windblown, blurry sort of look. So I tend not to notice trees dropping things. Other than the apples :D

  12. Tina,
    All the messes in our yard come from our neighbors. LOL An Oak on the left, a Poplar on the right and a Magnolia across the road. All the leaves seem to like our yard for some reason. :-)

  13. I have several huge maples and a couple cottonwoods. 'Nuf said;) I'll trade them all for a couple mature oaks. I planted oaks when I moved here but they probably will not have acorns in my lifetime.

    My Pagoda Dogwoods drop small black berries all over the walkway but it's brief and not too annoying.

  14. Hrm... no nice at all! I do have a huge tree outside my front door. Flowers in spring, small fruit late summer and leafes at fall - there's no end of it! But we do like the tree anyway since it brings some karakter to the garden. Arn't there any kinds you can pay to clean it of =)

  15. Looks like a good compost material or a substitute mulch! Our neighbor's oak tree does the same and much of it visits us.

  16. I have messy trees in my yard too Tina. The wormy look flower heads from the Pecan Tree every spring and the gumballs from the Sweetgum every fall. :( Good luck with your finals!

  17. I just learned something besides Tina's Oak problems. But Garden 4 Joy said about the twirley maple thingies. I thought I saw something growing the other day that looked red like my Crimson King Maple. I wanted to dig it up but it broke off.
    Our problem is fir needles. Not just once a year but ALL year long everywhere. They come into the house every day. They are on the car and under the windshield wipers and leave streaks of water when you turn the wipers on. I hate them. The other day my car was also completely yellow with pollen from them. Oh and also little tiny things like the starts of little cones not sure what they are but there are thousands of those too.

  18. That looks like Oak pollen to me, when have it here too, clogs up the gutters.......

  19. Yes Spring can be almost as messy as Fall(-:
    I have the dogwood petals all over the place. Willow tree limbs,leaves and pollen and now rose petals from the rain!(-: I have a lot of clean up to get done!!!
    Good luck on your finals and projects!!!!

    CiNdEeS' GaRdEn

  20. Gail, No sun today, just fog and drizzle. We need some sun! The iris will be fine.

    Emily, You cracked me up with your 'break in' post. What a day!!

    Jamie and Randy, What a bummer! Now you have to rake and clean all from the neighbor's yard. Hopefully you are enjoying some of that shade down there too:)

    Marnie, I love cottonwoods but after seeing how much cotton they put out-wow! Your Pagoda dogwood is quite wonderful, I don't blame you a bit for putting up with the berries.

    Gittan, Oh yes, we love character in the garden so bring on the trees. Can't have enough of them really. I usually just sweep it up into the beds or use for mulch, but it is so messy. How is your gingko? I hope well. I was able to comment this morning, but had troubles a few days ago.

    Dave, It is light and works well. It does not stay around long-good thing!

    Racquel, I'd take the pecans but no thanks on sweetgum balls. I bet Skeeter will agree!

    Linda, That is one really good thing about comments, we learn so much from them and it helps others. At least this is my hope. Maybe you'll have some more volunteers sprout up. Those fir needles sound like a pain-all year!

    Darla, Yes! Awful on gutters! I have to clean frequently too. In rain storms no less-like Janet above. What a pain. But I do like the shade.

    Cindee, I never really knew spring would be so messy, but it surely is! What a busy time.

    Thanks everyone for best wishes on school. I really need to get to it. Hubby says the same thing-I think he is about to crack the whip to get me to work. I have a deadline of 12 noon tomorrow. Not much time. Have a great garden day!

  21. Our big Ponderosa Pine makes a huge mess after a lot of wind. Those long needles get in and around everything. I think most of the dead needles are out now, but later in the summer they start dropping again.
    I never realized how much our big Japanese maple would drop. Flowers and seedpods, but it's not really too bad.

  22. I have Pyacanthas trees popping up all over the back yard all the time and they grow so fast that they are above the grass in between mowings. However, mowing takes care of then. Actually since I really like them I should did them up and plant them where I would want them.

    Good luck on exams and the big priject!!!! Can't wait to see the project.

    I also may not be on much for a few days but will try to sneak in for a few mintues each day. Life is different with a 2 year in the house and tomorrow I go to Portland to pick up Elizabeth as she if flying in for 8 days. Saturday is Jay's graduation from college and we are having a cookout after it and also Christy gets in on Saturday for 2 weeks. Busy times ahead.

  23. Let me see....
    I have Douglas fir and Cider needles everywhere !
    Sometimes I just let it go.
    Too much work !

  24. I cannot tell you how many of these I vacuumed out of my car!! I was visiting a friend and she had them everywhere. They fell on the roof of my car (I didn't realize it), and I opened my sunroof and piles of them fell inside!!!!!!!!!

  25. We call this stuff Tree Spaghetti and also Tree Worms from the pine trees! lol, It does cause a mess for my yard in the spring. Also the pine needles falling on flowers, limbs from all trees after wind and the dreaded Gum Balls from the Sweet Gums. Our Dream house will not have anything but ornamental trees for us to enjoy! Too much work with the other trees. Hum, I would miss my shade though. I must rethink this one but dont see us moving to that dream house any time soon. So off to do more tree work! lol

  26. That is definitely deeply messy! We have a mole problem this year :-/ that we're trying to get rid of. It is very stressful and destroying the soil!

  27. Afternoon Tina, I was out in the yard trying to clean up after having some dead limbs removed from the one shade tree. A big oak tree. It still has some but way up high. It drops limbs all time, even more after a wind.

    Finally got the backside of my azaleas trimmed. Took me 2 days. Now to get them to the curb for pickup. Would be nice to have a chipper. Lot of mulch from all the trimmings & limbs.

    Veggies are looking great. I have small tomatoes, onions {that make the big ones}, Swiss Chard, small squash [Zucchini & regular}. I had my first Blue Berry yesterday. It sure was good. Lots more going on.

    Best of luck on exams. Can't wait to see your project.

    A question: Can you eat the onions like green onions before they make the big bulb of onion?

  28. I'll trade your Oak mess for my male Cottonwood mess any day. I spent over a week on my hands & knees picking up the sticky stuff from the flower bud capsules & there's still more out there. Ugh.

  29. We have the same problem. Lots of work! They are not falling here yet, but will be soon. Can't wait! ;) -Jackie

  30. Right now I'm having a petal problem. The petals are pretty, but they're also a pain.

    My kids started freaking out once after they saw some tree flowers on their swingset - they thought they were worms!

  31. We have a Christmas tree which was planted near the front door years ago. I have to deal with needles and cones every time we have any wind. I would love to cut it down and put something which makes a little less mess, but my hubbie likes it, so it stays.

  32. Hi Tina, I don't think anyone's mentioned it, so I'll say the kwansan cherry blossoms...they are beautiful in bloom but when they come snow that sticks on the driveway then turns slippery and dangerous! And don't even think about parking your car under it!

  33. my neighbor's cherry tree (a really big one) overhangs our back patio which already lacks the attention it deserves.. we are front porch types.

  34. I know how that is. My birch has dropped catkins all over the front yard and porch the last couple weeks, and constantly drops small branches. I guess I'm glad it only drops the small branches. And then my elder leaf maple just drops leaves all year long, all over the patio. My mom has a silk tree (mimosa) that's just the worst. The flowers drop in all the other plants, I'm always picking those plants out of the leaves of everything below. The things we do for the love of gardens.

  35. Bamboo leaves go everywhere in our garden. I didn't know it was so messy before living here. They show up in many photos, for those who notice. Sometimes I pick them out before taking a photo, sometimes I don't.

  36. Looks a lot like the mess the maples leave around here! Next comes the helicopters. And let's not talk about all the water sprouts from the maples the squirrels chew, drop, and carry off to line their nests with, so they can make more baby squirrels to dig up plants and eat blooms in my garden.

  37. Hey all, I've been swamped so sorry I've not gotten back sooner. Lots of weighing in on this one! I am trying to answer specific questions, so if I've missed one-I'm sorry! Here are two I saw.

    Heather, Yes, these compost quite well. They disappear very quickly even if left on the lawn.

    Lola, Yes, definitely eat green onions. We've been eating quite a few of ours. And let me tell you, they are sweet! I can eat them straight like an apple (once washed). Now the radishes, they are a big problem. Too hot for me.

  38. We are inundated with oak flowers...POLLEN is everywhere. It lays in huge piles all over everything. It is a mess, for sure! And I have oak trees in the back and front. I know what you mean!