A Pain in the Ash (and other trees to avoid)

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 1, 2014


11 tree species to keep out of your yard

Trees add beauty and shade to your yard, and, in general, they’re low maintenance additions. However, that’s not always the case. According to HouseLogic, here are 11 tree species that you should keep out of your yard.

  1.  Ash. Although sturdy enough for baseball bats, the ash is under attack from a beetle that could spell the species’ demise. One of the most destructive pests we’ve encountered, the emerald ash borer has been found in 15 states and seems to be spreading, putting 7.5 billion ash trees at risk. You might not get a healthy return on your investment if you plant an ash.
  2.  Silver maple. This beautiful tree grows quickly, so it’s a popular choice for homeowners wanting to boost their landscaping. But the shallow root system doesn’t support the top-heavy tree and it has been known to succumb to heavy storms. The roots also spread out, invading sewage and drainage systems, and working their way under the driveway where they cause cracking.
  3. Quaking aspen. This tree can take over your yard like an alien invasion. Although the tree is lovely, it’s what’s underneath that should cause concern. The root system constantly tries to populate more aspens and the result is a massive war of the roots. When you try to cut back on the over-growth, you might encounter a tangled web that is costly to remove.
  4. Hybrid poplar. The “mutt” of poplars was created by cross-pollinating several species, but the result seems to lack the resilience of the sturdier purebreds. Experts say the hybrids won’t last more than 15 years.
  5. Willow. Beautiful and wispy, the gentle swaying exterior masks an insidious interior. The willow is an extremely thirsty tree species and has been known to drink heavily from irrigation systems, sewage pipes, and drain fields. With all that water, you might expect something hardy, but you’d be disappointed.
  6. Eucalyptus. Maybe you think of the wonderful fragrance or the adorable koalas munching on the leaves, so it’s tempting to want to plant a eucalyptus tree in your yard, particularly since they grow so quickly. But the heavy branches have been known to drop without warning, causing a hazard to anyone—particularly children—who might be playing nearby. In addition, you’ll incur maintenance time and/or money to peel off the bark that it sheds annually.
  7. Bradford pear. The idea of a fruit tree is appealing, both for the blossoms and the fruit, but the Bradford pear—with or without the partridge—is not a good choice. For one thing, the blossoms are more pungent than fragrant. And at maturity, the tree tends to split.
  8. Mountain cedar. An allergy nightmare, the mountain cedar releases clouds of pollen during the cooler weather. You might not be allergic, but you could make life miserable for your neighbors.
  9. Mulberry. There are so many reasons NOT to plant a mulberry tree! Where to start? Silkworms love them, so plan on having those squirmy guests dining on your tree. In addition, mulberries are very messy, the tree’s roots pop up through the ground, and your lawn won’t grow under the dense shade provided by the trees branches and leaves (worms and all).
  10. Black walnut. Woodworkers love black walnut. It’s a desirable—and therefore, expensive—hardwood. But as a homeowner, you should keep black walnut in your furniture, not your yard. The toxins from the tree will kill the flowers and vegetables in your gardens, the heavy pollen is most definitely something to sneeze at, and the vast walnut harvest will keep you busy raking them off your lawn.
  11. Leyland cyprus. These trees start out like shrubs and then grow fast—very fast. If you want a quick solution to gain privacy, the Leyland cyprus seems like a great idea. However, the tree requires regular trimming for healthy growth and the shallow root system means the tree is prone to falling when there’s a heavy storm.

There are plenty of wonderful alternatives for trees that will give your yard the beauty, shade, and durability you want from your landscape investment. Stay tuned for a list of those tree species you should plant in your yard.

Martha Clifford

Comments are closed.

ask martha

Ask Martha!

email phone chat