There may be too many to pick up, but if I don't they grow into thorny sprouts. If I throw them in the ditch they would grow. I think animals eat them so maybe I should not worry about it. I wouldn't if they didn't have those thorns.
I sell mine. They're worth about $3 a pound. Just kidding. ; ) We joke that someday they'll find a good use for those things and we'll be rich.
Since the ice storm, we only have two trees that drop hedge apples into the yard and we just pile them up at the base of the tree. I don't know why they don't sprout but they definitely don't. I'm pretty sure squirrels eat them but we don't have enough squirrels around our area to get rid of them. Too many hunters I guess. Your ditch might be the worst place to put them. If I'm remembering right, they used to plant them by digging a trench and putting seed slurry in it. I assume a low wet area would be the ideal place for them to sprout.
I always pick up a bunch of them to use in fall decorating with gourds and pumpkins, they smell nice! And they are supposed to repel spiders and bugs inside the house.
When they start to go bad I toss them out in the woods for the squirrels.
Years ago when I was doing craft shows, I would slice them up and dry the slices in the oven to make "flowers". They were pretty cool but a lot of work. They are very hard to cut and messy with the sticky white sap.
When I was at the farm store today, I picked up a free paper they had in a display. The fellow who wrote an article on Osage Orange said the apples are not a favoite of wild life, kids like to throw them and cows can choke on them. He said they are too big to mow over and hard to dispose of in other words useless and a pain.
Maybe not a favorite of most wildlife but squirrels love them. They chew them to bits.
After this summer the wildlife may need the hedge apples.
We like to make outdoor Christmas decorations them. We make Hedge Apple Christmas Trees.
Here is a link that might be useful: Hedge Apple Christmas Trees
I hope this idea becomes popular. I thought of them for fall decorations but kids would love to throw them.
We have too many on the farm to do anything with them. So far we haven't lost any cows to choking but I know that can happen.
The guy that bush hogged my place is afraid of the sprouts. They can puncture tires. I don't mind the trees because I know they are good for posts if you can get near enough to cut them, but the sprouts are good for nothing.
Our hedge apples would be mostly rotten when it's time to decorate for Christmas. We used them to spell out BOOO in big letters in the yard one year for Halloween but if you do that, you have to pick them up twice and once is enough for me. My kids have used them for bowling down our long asphalt driveway but they don't like the part where they have to go collect them when they're finished having fun.
When I was driving, I saw several turkeys that were in an area where hedge apples had fallen so I wonder if they eat the seeds too. It may have just been a coinsidence that they were there. I see turkeys quite often around here.
We had always heard they could be cut in two and placed around the home for roach control. Found this article
Here is a link that might be useful: How to Kill Cockroaches with Hedgeapples