Landscaping can be an exciting undertaking. The sheer number of available plants, shrubs, and trees ensures you’ll be able to create an outdoor space that is unique and shows off your personality. Additionally, planting trees that provide dazzling color displays in the fall, grow quickly, and provide plenty of shade almost always seems like the right move for new landscaping... until you have to deal with the unwanted consequences of planting them. So, before you start planting, there are some species of trees that are better left somewhere else – preferably far away from your home. The following are the top (bottom?) five trees you don’t want growing in your yard.
The mighty ash is a strong tree that provides a beautiful shape and lovely colors. It can also stand up to serious winds without suffering serious damage. However, this tree is also a favorite snack for the emerald ash borer, which is a small beetle. These beetles are well on their way to completely wiping out the ash in some areas, and once a tree is infected, you’ll need to remove it. Rather than take the chance, it’s best to avoid ash trees completely.
Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry Archive
The sweet gum tree delivers plenty of shade and grows to around 60 feet tall. It's also a beautiful shape, and erupts in gorgeous scarlet colors in the fall. However, sweet gum trees also have surface roots that can cause damage to sidewalks, and they also have spiny seedpods covered in spikes. Children and pets can be hurt if they happen to step on the pods, which means you’ll spend more time raking your yard rather than actually enjoying a sweet gum tree's beauty.
The gingko tree has pretty fan-shaped leaves that look different from any other tree. It also grows up to 70 feet tall and can survive in many different climates. However, even with all its positives, these trees have a serious negative: their stench. The fruits have a pungent odor that is described as being similar to that of vomit or even dog feces. You can try to rake gingko tree fruits off your lawn throughout the year, but you’ll want to make sure you wear old clothes and shoes when you do it because the smell will get on you, your clothes, and anything else you happen to touch or walk on while cleaning up the fruit.
Even though it has been a popular option for years, cottonwood is another tree that you don’t want for your yard. While it's low-maintenance and looks great, cottonwood also has a shallow root system and annoying seeds that blow everywhere. Additionally, this tree's wood is highly susceptible to diseases, insects, and rotting, which makes cottonwood unstable in areas with frequent storms and strong winds. The last thing you want is a huge tree landing on your roof.
The exotic beauty of the Bradford pear coupled with its ability to grow quickly has made it a popular choice for people who want a new source of shade on the double. However, the Bradford pear tree's fast growth results in a weak and brittle wood that breaks easily in winds and storms. Although those white flowers are pretty, they emit an offensive odor that lingers for as long as the flowers are in bloom.
There are many beautiful trees that you can add to your landscaping so you have a yard you love. Just make sure to avoid these tricky trees so you don’t end up with more headaches than pretty colors.
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.bigstock.com and www.dreamstime.com