10 Yard Trees Gone Bad

Bad Leyland Cypress Experience. Steve Nix

Planting the wrong tree in the wrong place is a guarantee for future tree removal. Tree removal is, at best, expensive to buy and can be very dangerous if you decide to do it yourself, plus it is back-breaking work. A lot of trouble and anxiety can be avoided by planting the appropriate tree in your yard to start with.

Bad Tree Characteristics

All trees have good and bad characteristics. It is a rare tree that will satisfy your needs throughout its entire life span. A tree can outgrow its original purpose very quickly or grow into its intended purpose very slowly. Understanding this concept is the key to proper tree planting in your yard.

Ask yourself these questions when selecting a yard tree: Do I want a tree's fruit and leaves to deal with as it matures? Am I willing to plant a fast-growing tree but eventually have to deal with its constantly breaking and sprouting from roots? Do I have space for a large and spreading tree?

Trees People Regret Planting

Here are ten trees that many homeowners have regretted planting. Think long and hard before planting these trees in your yard.

  • "Hackberry": Although Celtis occidentalis is an important tree in regions where alkaline soils are problematic, it is a poor substitute when other species are options. The tree has weak wood and messy in the landscape. It grows very large and hard to manage in the landscape.
  • "Norway Maple": Acer platanoides was introduced into North Ameria over 200 years ago and has aggressively spread taking over native maple populations. The invasive nature of the tree degrades most landscapes over time.
  • "Silver Maple": Acer saccharinum is maple with some of the weakest wood of the native North American maple. It has a very short natural life and suffers continually from breakage and disease.
  • "Mimosa": Albizia julibrissin or silk tree is a warm-climate invasive exotic and was widely planted for its beautiful flower and beauty in the landscape. It is subject to major wilt disease and very messy in the landscape.
  • "Lombardy poplar": Populus nigra is a North American exotic with absolutely no redeeming features according to most horticulturists. It has been planted mainly as a windbreak but is short-lived and quickly loses even that ability.
  • "Leyland cypress": Cupressocyparis leylandii has been widely planted as hedges over the last three decades. It is now out of favor to plant in all but the most expansive landscapes. Planting them too close and a major disease makes them undesirable in the urban landscape. 
  • "Pin Oak"Quercus palustris is actually a very beautiful tree under optimal conditions. Like Leyland cypress, the oak needs a large area in maturity and is subject sensitive to many soil conditions common to many yards and landscapes.
  • "Cottonwood": Populus deltoides is another weak-wooded tree, messy, massive and has an overwhelming spring shedding of reproductive parts. It still is a favorite where trees are scarce.
  • "Willow"Salix spp. is a beautiful "weeping" tree in the right landscape, especially in wetlands and near aquatic ecosystems. For these same reasons, it does not make a desirable yard tree because of the need for space and for its destructive tendency to destroy water pipes.
  • "Black Locust": Robinia pseudoacacia has a place on our native forests, and even there can become invasive. This "tree of thorns" really has no place in a landscape enjoyed by visitors. It is also a heavy sprouter/seeder and can quickly overtake even large landscapes.