Tree with Green balls – Garden Tips 2024


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Throughout an entire year, a tree will take on many forms. From flowers to seeds to fruit, each season will bring new changes. Here is a list of trees that have green balls and what they mean.

Trees with green balls: The green balls on trees usually indicate a seed or piece of fruit is growing inside a shell. Chestnut trees have large, spiky green balls, while walnut trees have smoother green balls.

Best Trees with Green Balls

Chestnut Trees

In the fall, you will see large horse chestnuts on the ground but before they get there, they grow inside large green balls. These green balls are often camouflaged on chestnut trees as their green color is the same as the green leaves.

However, toward the end of summer, the green balls will start to change color, similar to the leaves. The green balls turn yellow and then brown and as they change, they start to open.

Sometimes the balls will open enough to drop chestnuts while other times you can find brown chestnuts still inside their shell on the ground, either partially or fully.

While there are some varieties of chestnuts that are edible, the more common horse chestnuts are poisonous. Be careful if you have pets as eating horse chestnuts can prove fatal.

Opening the green balls is a fun activity to do with kids but exercise some caution as the green balls have very spiky outsides. While the spikes are large enough to work around them, they are sharp and can hurt if you aren’t careful.

Osage Orange Trees

You can find osage orange trees in the central United States as they dislike very cold winters. The trees loom large at over 30 feet tall and while it may have the word orange in its name, the fruit is vastly different from the citrus fruit we know and love.

While osage orange trees are technically edible, they are not regularly consumed. The fruit is bitter and the liquid inside of it can irritate sensitive skin. However, you can try to toast the seeds as they have a more palatable taste and texture.

The green balls on an osage orange tree are fruit, not shells, and they take on a waxy texture. You can cut down these trees and use them for furniture as they have a distinct yellow hue that is bright and sturdy.

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Oak Trees

Oak trees can be found throughout Canada and the United States and their towering height is beneficial if you want lots of shade. These trees are easy to identify, thanks to their leaves that are indented around the edges and, of course, their acorns.

Squirrels especially love oak trees and in the fall, when the tree produces acorns, squirrels become busy gathering them and storing them for winter. This process is a major reason why oak trees seem to spontaneously grow in neighborhoods.

The acorns on oak trees have two parts to them. The top looks like a flat hat while the bottom is a long ball that starts green and then has an inner brown part.

The bottom green part is the seed and while squirrels may love them, if eaten raw by humans, they are toxic. In particular, raw acorns can be extremely poisonous to horses, cows, and dogs.

If you want to try to eat acorns, you need to remove them from their shell and then break them into small pieces. After soaking them in water to remove the bitter acid, you can then roast them.

Walnut Trees

Like many trees, walnut trees produce green balls that look nothing like what is inside of them. Walnut trees are large and provide vast amounts of shade, so are perfect if you have a very large backyard and enjoy picnics.

Starting in the early summer, walnut trees will start to grow green balls that are also known as drupes. The drupes have a speckled green look to them.

As the drupes ripen, they will start to open and then in the autumn, they will fall to the ground. Inside the drupes is a second outer shell and you can then crack this open to remove the walnuts you are familiar with.

Walnuts are an excellent source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. You may also notice volunteer walnut trees in your neighborhood as birds will drop the hard shells to open them.

Maple Trees

Found everywhere in Canada and the northern United States, there are many varieties of maple trees. These trees are easy to grow and because of their seed system, have become quite prolific.

Maple trees have a type of green ball but they are flat and narrow. These green balls have many names, including keys and helicopters. The design of the seeds is perfect because they float easily on the wind, carrying the seeds to new locations.

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The green seeds on a maple tree begin to grow in summer and by late summer or early fall, you can find them everywhere. If you are standing under a maple tree and there is a gust of wind, don’t be surprised when you are rained on by them.

Southern Magnolia Trees

The green balls on this tree are quite small, so you may not have noticed them before. These balls come out in late summer and will keep growing until the fall.

Interestingly, as the green balls become ripe, you can actually harvest them. Inside the green balls are small, red seeds that are edible. They are used in many recipes including pralines.

Southern magnolias are evergreen trees that can grow up to 40 feet tall. They provide glossy foliage that is bright green and in the spring their flowers provide a wealth of beauty.

Southern magnolia trees prefer direct sunlight and soil that is moist. If you live in a dry climate, try planting a tree at the bottom of a slope so that it naturally collects rainwater.

Growing magnolia trees is easy and if you want to harvest some of the seeds, you can then save them and plant them in the spring. You can then choose to directly plant them in your yard or in a container before transferring them.

American Sycamore Trees

You can find sycamore trees in the northern parts of the United States as they do fine in cooler temperatures but don’t like the warm winters of the south. Sycamore trees can grow up to 75 feet tall and sometimes, even 100 feet, so they are more often found in forests than in backyards.

Amazingly, sycamore trees can live for over 200 years and if the conditions are right, they may even survive for over 500 years. There are impressive pictures of sycamore trees that have trunks as wide as a car.

During the fall, American sycamore trees will start to produce green balls that are fuzzy in texture. As fall progresses, the balls will turn brown and will start to open up, revealing fruit inside.

The fruit inside is edible and tastes sweet. While it is not grown commercially, you can still harvest it for your personal consumption.


Sweetgum Trees

Found in the southern United States and all the way into Mexico, sweetgum trees have unique leaves that resemble stars. They also have spiky green seed pods that provide an interesting texture to the tree.

This tree is named after the sweet sap that it produces. The sap is very fragrant and as it dries, it starts to resemble gum.

Sweetgum trees are popular in landscaping because of their unique foliage. Furthermore, they attract many birds including goldfinches, although squirrels are also particularly attracted to the scent of these trees.

As for the seed pods, they are very spiky. While the texture is softer as the balls are developing and still green, once fall hits, they start to dry out and turn brown.

In turn, the spikes are more pronounced and as they fall to the ground, they become a real stepping hazard. You do not want to go out in bare feet when the balls are on the ground.

Furthermore, the rough texture makes it hard for the balls to compost, so you will need to rake them up yourself. This is a hard endeavor and labor-intensive.

What tree has round green pods?

Walnut trees have round, green pods that can grow to be quite large. They have a smoother texture than other green pods found on trees.

What tree has a round seed pod?

Magnolia trees have small, round seed pods that have edible seeds inside of them. Their size makes them hard to see but if you look closely, you will be able to find them.

What trees have long green pods?

Maple trees have long green pods that are also known as helicopters. These seed pods are designed to float on the wind, making it easier for the tree to propagate itself.


If you look closely, you can see some remarkable parts of a tree. Many trees house their seeds inside green balls. They come in all shapes and colors and are integral in creating new trees.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>