Fall is a beautiful time of year in the Southeast. The warm temperatures provide an opportunity for many outdoor activities and lots of yard work. From raking the leaves and tending to your garden to power washing the house and cleaning out the gutters, there is always something to do when you own your own home.
Many trees in the Southeast are the same as those that grow in the Northeast and Midwest. However, there are some that are unique to this region. Take a look at these common trees you may have in your yard to find out what might end up in your gutter.
Fraser Fir grows naturally in North Carolina, Virginia, and Eastern Tennessee. It’s a common species of the Great Smoky Mountains because it grows best at altitudes of 4,000 to 6,500 feet. If you have this tree near your home, you might find flat needles, with a white line on the underside of the leaf, in your gutter. Upright growing cones are also characteristic of true firs and can fall off and clog your gutter. Since the Fraser Fir can grow to heights of 65 feet, they are lovely in the landscape and make excellent Christmas trees.
Also called Swamp Pine or Lemon Pine, Slash Pine trees inhabit the coast of South Carolina through Flordia and along the Gulf Coast to Louisiana and can grow to 100 feet. They thrive in low-lying coastal and swampy regions. When the branches naturally die off, the needles fall in clusters of three and can be 12 inches long. The needles release a pleasant lemon scent when they are crushed. If you have any of these pines nearby, you will undoubtedly notice the long needles in your gutters.
Native to Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, Henry’s Cypress is medium-sized hardwood that can grow to 70 feet. Because it is narrow in shape, it makes a good landscape tree. These thick evergreens produce tiny, half-inch cones that birds eat in early winter and spring. When the foliage is crushed, it gives off a fruity aroma. Keep an eye out for tiny cones in your gutter if you have a Henry’s Cypress on your property.
Magnolias are synonymous with the South and are used in many yards as a landscape specimen. The Bullbay Magnolia is native to the coastal Regions of North Carolina through Florida and west along the Gulf Coast to Texas. Often grown as a shrub, this evergreen will reach heights of 80 feet if allowed. The large green leaves and white fragrant flower petals can end up in your gutter if given the opportunity to grow.
Found in most of Eastern North America, the American Holly will grow more than 60 feet tall, if left alone. The red berries provide food for the birds, and the thick, prickly foliage offers them protection. If placed close to your home, the berries and leaves of the Holly can get trapped in your gutter.
Whether it’s pine needles, leaves, cones, or berries, at this time of year, things are going to fall in your gutter. Assess what’s growing in your yard, so you know what to look for when you are cleaning. When planting new shrubs or trees, try to avoid having them hang over your gutters, when possible.