WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? ...with the green balls of mush

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Late summer has proved too much for this Sweetgum tree. It is dropping its fruit onto Leitersburg Street, and the errant orbs are sometimes run over by passing vehicles.

WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?

Motorists are running over unusual green balls on Leitersburg Street near Tayamentasachta. Penn State Extension Master Gardeners identified the low hanging tree as a Sweetgum. The fruit is a capsule called a gumball, which is the seedcover. As the tree becomes heavy with gumballs, it begins to drop them. In the fall, they turn light brown, and when dried, are popular for use in crafts, such as making floral arrangements.

The branches obstruct parking on the roadway, so someone has to trim the tree. It is growing on school property, but drooping over a state road. Depending on whether the trunk is in the PennDOT right-of-way will determine who gets to bring out a chain saw.

Neither the appropriate PennDOT or Greencastle-Antrim School District officials were available for comment on their responsibilities.

UPDATE: A branch of the tree broke off and was removed by Wednesday morning.