Leaves fall throughout the summer in USDA hardiness zone 8 making a mess and the tree looks ragged with yellow leaves in late summer. Flowers make somewhat of a slimy mess for a short period when they drop on a sidewalk but are no problem falling into shrubs, groundcovers, or turf. Spent bean pods also make for a mess and can look a bit course alongside the green pods.
Catalpa bark is thin and easily damaged from mechanical impact. The limbs will droop as the tree grows, and will require pruning for vehicular or pedestrian clearance beneath the canopy. Pruning is required to develop a strong structure. The limbs are resistant to breaking and very stout.