15 trees you should never grow in your yard
Here are 15 trees you DON’T want to plant in the home landscape.
Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) has beautiful white flowers in spring and burgundy foliage in fall. Problem is, the branching structure is inherently weak, causing all sorts of storm damage in areas with wind, snow or ice.
Also, callery pear and its most common cultivar ‘Bradford’ are considered invasive trees in many places.
The solution to most so-called pest plants is maintenance to prevent them from growing out of control. Here’s 7 other plants and trees it’s best to avoid.
Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila) is a fast-growing, aggressive tree that tolerates all kinds of difficult growing conditions.
But it’s messy, seeds itself all over the place, and frankly isn’t the most attractive tree.
Siberian elm is also weak-wooded and prone to storm and ice damage.
It also needs a lot of pruning if you are to keep it under control.
Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is the famous “tree that grows in Brooklyn”.
It is an imported pest that is dirty, messy, invasive and just not suited to home landscapes.
It seeds itself all around and, worse, it gives off a chemical to kill competing vegetation, making it difficult to landscape around.
If you are planting for privacy, there are much better alternatives.
Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra) was once beloved as a quick-growing screen tree.
Growing 1 to 1.5 metres a year—in an upright shape that fit many backyards—it was the perfect tree. Until it wasn’t.
Homeowners quickly found out that the Lombardy poplar had a limited shelf life of about 15 years, thanks to an all-too-common canker disease.
If you are looking for a screening plant, take a look at clumping bamboo. However, it does come with a warning.
Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) is the ugly duckling of the maple family.
While some manage to put out a bit of autumn colour, the show pales in comparison to the superior sugar, black and Japanese maples.
A rapid grower, silver maple tends to develop multiple trunks.
As a weak-wooded tree, these trunks can cause problems as the tree matures.
And the silver maple tree is messy, shallow rooted and seeds itself everywhere.
For a blaze of autumn colour in even the smallest garden, go for the bright and bold foliage of a Japanese maple.
Weeping willow (Salix babylonica) is a beautiful tree when seen along the shoreline.
But it’s much too big and messy for the typical home landscape.
Add in the fact that the roots go everywhere in search of water (particularly problematic near septic systems and sewer pipes), and you can see why this one needs to stay by the water and away from your yard.
Looking for a large tree or covereage? You cannot go past citrus.
Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) is a relative of poison ivy and causes allergic skin reactions in many (but not all) people.
It is quite attractive in autumn, when it turns colour, but its roots keep popping up new sprouts, so before you know it you’ve got a colony of staghorn sumacs giving your skin the willies.
Our suggestion? Stick with
Mulberry (Morus spp.) is a messy tree you don’t want anywhere near your driveway, walkway, porch, deck, patio, pool – heck, let’s get straight to the point: you don’t want this tree in your yard, period.
The fruit stains everything it comes in contact with.
Yes, the fruit is edible, but it’s rather bland.
And the birds get most of it, and then leave droppings on your car.
Mulberries also grow readily from seed, so you’ll undoubtedly have more weeding to do in the years to come.
There are other trees or vines you can plant to grow sweet, juicy produce you can pick and eat fresh.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is a great tree to have in your yard – if it’s male.
It grows at a slow to moderate pace and has pretty architecture, beautiful autumn foliage, and a lineage that dates to the time of the dinosaurs.
Avoid planting a female ginkgo in your yard, though, because it will drop messy fruit in autumn that smells a bit like vomit when it starts to rot.
If you are looking to grow produce, why not grow lettuce and other leafy greens?
Ash (Fraxinus spp.) is a great tree with many fine attributes.
It’s tough, quick growing and has beautiful autumn colour.
But the emerald ash borer is decimating the population of ash trees, so unless you’re willing to pay to have your tree inoculated every two years, you might as well go with a different species that isn’t in mortal peril.
For masses of blooms year after year, plant a tree to suit your climate zone, with flowers in a colour you love.
Cottonwood (Populus deltoids) is a majestic, awe-inspiring tree when it matures.
But its roots can be problematic around house foundations and it releases cottony seeds in late spring/early summer that can be a nuisance if they get caught up in your window screens.
The trees are also messy, continually dropping leaves and sticks. Chalk this one up with the weeping willow: a fine tree in the country or along a waterway, but not necessarily in your yard.
Why not plant a tropical garden instead?
Black Locust (Robinia psuedoacacia) is a fast-growing hardwood tree with fragrant white flowers.
The wood is heavy and holds a lot of fuel value, so it’s a good tree to have around if you need firewood.
But it’s brittle and has sharp thorns. Also, black locust tends to seed itself a little too generously.
As a result, this tree is often a pest and considered invasive in some areas.
One thing we don’t need over the long, hot summer is a tree that holds ‘fuel value’, especailly during the bushfire season.
Leyland cypress (Cupressus x leylandii) will give you impressive size in a short period of time.
And, it’s thick and evergreen, so many people like its ability to provide privacy.
Unfortunately, it soon becomes too big for most home landscapes.
It’s also prone to wind damage, disease and drought.
Size may become a big problem.
Why not try these landscaping tips to help you make the most of your outdoor space?
Russian olive (Eleagnus angustifolia) is tough.
A little too tough, meaning you can’t kill it.
With the silvery white foliage, that might not seem like such a bad thing, but Russian olive is a thug.
The fruit is eaten by birds and distributed far and wide.
Then the trees sprout into thickets that crowd out other plants.
Cut them down and they continue to resprout, making them an invasive pest that should not be sold or planted.
If you already have invasive plants in your garden, check what can stay and what must go before you pull them all up.
Norway maple (Acer platanoides) was overplanted in the U.S. in the ’60s as a street tree when Dutch elm disease decimated the elm population.
It’s a pretty tree with nice fall foliage, but Norway maples self-seed everywhere – to the point of being a pest.
And the heavy shade and shallow roots make it impossible to grow much of anything under them, so landscaping is a real challenge.
Find landscaping a challenge anyway? Here are four easy four easy landscaping projects you can get started on.
This article first appeared on The Family Handyman.