Trees are fascinating organisms vital to our planet’s health and well-being. They provide numerous ecological, economic, and aesthetic benefits and are home to many animal and plant species.
However, sometimes we may notice unusual features on trees that raise questions and spark curiosity. One such feature is the appearance of small green balls on trees.
In this article, it is interesting to explore the causes and implications of tiny green balls and how they fit into the wider ecosystem. Let’s dive in!
What Are Small Green Balls On Tree?
What are the green balls that grow on trees?
These small green balls from trees can take on various forms and sizes, and their presence may indicate different phenomena, such as fruiting, gall formation, or budding.
Small green balls on a tree can be a sign of a gall, but they do not always indicate the presence of galls.
Galls are abnormal plant growths on trees caused by various factors, including insect or fungal infestations or physical damage to the tree.
These growths can appear as small green spots or other shapes and can be found on a tree’s leaves, branches, or trunk.
However, as mentioned, these deformities on a tree can also signify other things, such as immature fruits or seeds, budding, or moss or lichen growth on the bark or branches.
Therefore, it is important to closely examine the tiny balls and consider other factors, such as the type of tree and the overall health, before determining whether they are galls or not.
What Causes Green Galls On Trees?
Mites Or Insect Damage
Mites or other insects can give birth to green galls on trees.
When a mite or hundreds of insects feed on the tissue of a tree, it can force the tree to produce a hormonal response that results in the growth of a gall.
The appearance of green galls on a tree can indicate a pest infestation. Suppose you notice green galls on your trees.
In that case, it is advisable to consult with an arborist or other tree care professional to determine the root and to develop a treatment plan, if necessary.
Infection can “garnish” trees with green balls when a fungus or bacteria penetrates the tree’s bark.
The tree produces special cells called “callus cells” around the infected area to isolate and contain the infection.
Over time, the callus cells can form into a gall, a protective barrier around the infected area.
The green color of the gall is due to the presence of chlorophyll. The formation of green galls can hint at an infection in the tree.
And it is important to identify the culprit behind the infection and develop a plan to treat it to prevent further damage to the tree.
This is the main reason explaining why insect damage and outside infection (mentioned above) can give way to galls.
Hormonal reactions in trees can foster the growth of green galls in response to insect or fungal infestations.
When some outside factors attack a tree, it triggers a hormonal response that triggers the tree to produce special cells that grow around the invading organism.
These cells can form a variety of shapes, including green galls.
What happens if you don’t identify problems with your trees? When you don’t take timely action, the tree will activate its hormone reaction to protect itself from damage.
The hormonal response is the tree’s natural defense mechanism to protect itself from further damage.
The tree produces a hormone called auxin, which stimulates the growth of new cells around the infestation site.
This supports the gall to grow, forming a protective layer around the invading organism.
The green color of the galls is due to the presence of chlorophyll, which is produced by the tree as part of the hormonal response.
Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants their green color and is necessary for photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into energy.
What Tree Has Green Balls?
Both black walnut trees (Juglans nigra) and English (Juglans regia) can grow heavy green balls (their round green fruits).
Most people do not plant this common tree for the landscape. Yet, they are infrequently encountered as orchard remnants or untended seedlings.
Although walnut trees grow to be huge and provide a lot of shade like tropical evergreen trees, they are challenging to clean up and frequently stain cement, hands, or other surfaces.
Some plants do not thrive under walnut trees because of the toxins generated by the roots and debris.
The green husks of edible chestnuts are covered in needle-like, spiny protrusions, but the husks of inedible ones are covered in sharp, warty protrusions that cannot cover the husk’s full surface (like a spiky ball)
Chestnut trees provide excellent shade and yield lovely blooms, but they can be dangerous due to the risk of being struck by or tripping on the prickly fruits. You can identify an edible fruit tree by its leaf.
Chestnuts are huge trees used for decorative purposes and food production. Each bears spiky balls that break open to reveal 2-inch-long glittering nuts.
The fruit of the horse chestnut developed in USDA zones 3-8 is inedible. In contrast, the fruit of the edible chestnut (Castanea spp.) is considered a delectable treat.
Osage Orange Wood Trees
Osage orange trees produce small, inedible green balls that can be used as a natural insect repellent.
The Osage orange (Maclura pomifera), which grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 4-9, isn’t technically an orange tree. However, its size and skin texture are similar.
With age, the trees can grow to be 60 feet tall. It’s not a pleasant tree because, besides thorns, female trees grow large, 3- to 5-inch-wide fruits. There is an interesting thing is only female trees produce the green ball on tree that male tree can not.
Its milky sap can occasionally induce allergic responses on our skin. On the other hand, the fruits are intriguing and sometimes employed as temporary ornaments in fruit bowl presentations.
London Plane Trees
London plane and sycamore are members of the same species and thus have comparable fruits and habits.
Creating ample shade with maple-like leaves is popular. Each yields spiky green fruits that develop to brown. When mature, these 1-inch ball-shaped fruits break apart, spreading silky seeds.
How Can We Remove Galls From Trees?
The removal of galls from trees depends on the severity of the infestation and the type of tree. In some cases, galls may not require treatment as they do not significantly threaten the tree’s health.
However, in other cases, galls can damage the tree and may need to be eliminated.
Here are some general steps for removing galls from trees:
1. Identify the type of galls and the severity of the infestation:
Different types of galls require different treatments. It is important to determine the extent of the infestation before proceeding with any treatment.
2. Prune the affected branches
If the infestation is localized, getting rid of the affected branches may be the best action. Prune the branches several inches below the gall using clean, sharp tools to avoid further damage to the tree.
3. Use insecticides or fungicides
If insects or fungi cause the infestation, using insecticides or fungicides may be necessary.
However, remember to use these chemicals cautiously, following the manufacturer’s instructions and avoiding any harm to beneficial insects or the environment.
4. Improve tree health
Galls can signify stress or weakened immunity in trees. Improving the tree’s health through proper pruning, watering, and fertilization can help prevent future infestations.
Note that removing galls from trees can be a complex process. It is advisable to consult with an arborist or other tree care professional to assess the situation and determine the best course of action.
Additionally, it is always important to follow proper safety protocols when working with trees, including wearing appropriate protective gear and using caution when using tools and chemicals.
Can You Eat The Green Balls On Trees?
No. Eating the small green balls on trees is not advisable, as they can be toxic or inedible depending on the tree type and the development stage.
Some green balls on trees are immature fruits or seeds that may be toxic or unpleasant to eat, while others may be galls caused by insect or fungal infestations that can contain harmful substances.
In general, it is best to only consume fruits and nuts that are known to be safe and edible for humans.
If you are unsure about the safety of a particular fruit or nut, it is always best to err on the side of caution and avoid eating it.
If you are interested in foraging for wild fruits and nuts, research and learn about the different types of plants and their edible parts.
Also, it is advisable to consult with an expert before consuming wild foods, as some can be toxic or lead to allergic reactions.
In conclusion, small green balls on trees are a common sight for many reasons.
While galls may be unsightly, they are generally not harmful to the tree’s overall health and can even help the tree defend itself against further infestations.
However, suppose you notice excessive galls or suspect an infection. In that case, it is best to consult with a tree care professional to identify the cause and develop a treatment plan, if necessary.