5 Types of Trees to Avoid

Leave a Comment - 167



Subject: The Ginkgo Tree

I have had a Ginkgo tree for many years on a couple of different properties and at a lake home. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has one that was sponsored and donated by several people. It is one of the few trees to have been here during the dinosaurs. My research before ever buying my first Ginkgo revealed that it was illegal to sell a female of this tree and they are easily identified because they do produce fruit. In the Fall, my Ginkgo turns a bright gold for a few days before it drops the leaves. I love my Ginkgo and have visited the tree that we helped donate at the Arboretum.

RL Magee

Subject: I wish we had not planted . . .

OK, how about the Chinese tallow tree? My husband made one the focus of our front yard. It loses bits and pieces, both small and large branch pieces, regularly. But the best are the seeds of which it produces voluminous quantities. First, the tallow blooms. Kinda pretty. Bees love it. Then it drops all those flower stems (fuzzy, dry, caterpillar-like things that stick---like Velcro---to everything: your clothes, your hair, every other plant, bush, flower, etc., and animal fur coats, within a light wind's distance. And if you step on them, they literally turn to dust! And then, the best part: the tallow seeds, also in voluminous quantities, that have three spectacular properties. First, when the seeds dry, and they dry rather quickly, they make a sound not unlike a small firecracker when stepped on, or driven over, or whatever. Second, when the not-completely dry seeds are crunched by something, they are like pimples. They produce an oily, looks-like lard, substance in minute quantities, which leave almost permanent oil-like stains on wherever they rest, mostly our driveway and sidewalk. And it seems to last almost forever. And finally, the seeds you don't pop, or ones not crushed on you sidewalk, will accumulate in whatever is beneath the tree. I can dig into jasmine, under the tree, and there are inches (?) of these things, like they are going to take over the yard. Worse, cover your car's front window, where you have wipers, et al., because they will accumulate anywhere! When I first discovered this, one of our car's windshield wipers would barely work because of the inches of seeds in that groove with the washers, and other things, under your car's front window. These seeds are small, sort of like a small peas, and getting them out of things can take a lot of work. For all this, I would like to thank my husband, RIP, who planted the tree in our yard because he had planted one at his house with his first wife, and, it turned out, he was trying to recreate that home. You know what I want to say, but I won't.


Subject: Let's not forget the Chinese

Let's not forget the Chinese Tallow is non-native and worse, highly invasive! There are large areas in the Northeast where they have completely crowded out and killed the native trees. I think same problem exists in the Southeast. All the beautiful, native, and productive trees are suffering. The tallow is now trying to take over parts of Texas. It is *extremely* hard to kill. The seeds can spread up to 300 feet from the tree ... even farther, if you consider transport by birds! Yep, pretty leaves, but a disaster for North America. Ugh!!


Subject: Favorite Trees

I've been reading so many negative comments about Magnolias. I can only assume that people are referring to the Southern Magnolia, which can attain heights of 80 - 90 feet. It is still a beautiful tree, but does not belong in a small ( less than one acre) yard. However, there are many varieties of Magnolia that grow no taller than 12 to 15 feet and are absolutely wonderful. I have an Oyama Magnolia that grows with multiple stems and is covered with fragrant white flowers around May and June here in NY. It is only about 12 feet tall and does not appear to be getting any taller. I have a lovely Yulan Magnolia (Magnolia Denudata), that grows up to 30 feet, but remains very narrow (mine is about 10 feet wide), so is very easy to grow in a small yard. There are multiple hybrids of varying hues with the same characteristics, so I don't think that Magnolias in general should be avoided for smaller yards. There are also Dogwoods, Japanese Maples, Crabapples, Franklinias (difficult), Oxydendrum, Stewartias, Styrax and many, many other gorgeous SMALL trees that are appropriate for suburban homes, most of which flower and are fragrant. Of course, if you don't like any yard work at all, you probably should consider a townhouse or condo, or be prepared to pay a landscaper to care for your yard. Above all, before buying any tree, just Google it to learn about its characteristics and culture before buying. But please, do NOT blame the trees for your own lack of planning.


Subject: sycamore

This tree is beautiful, but It sheds its bark in the spring and early summer. The pieces coming down in the wind can be large enough to do damage and they certainly make the yard a terrible mess, much more of a problem than cleaning up the leaves in the fall.

Alan Jay Weiner

Subject: Giving new life to a tree's wood

If you have a tree taken down (or one falls down) please see if there are local woodworkers who'd like the wood.

My son carves spoons, turns bowls (on a wood lathe), builds furniture and Windsor chairs. He loves giving a tree new life this way.

Most wood can become something beautiful instead of just hauled away and chipped.

If you don't know any woodworkers, call Woodcraft or Rockler stores, or any local specialty wood-worker suppliers. (as opposed to 'big-box' stores; they cater more to home projects, rather than furniture builders)

May LeFarrago

Subject: Reincarnated trees

AJW, what a wonderful idea! My neighbor has an elm that will be coming down in the near future, and I will certainly suggest this to him. I wish *I* had the talent and the skill for woodworking! My grandfather made a dining room table for his growing family, circa 1920, and it's still in terrific shape. My brother has it now, and we all cherish it.

J Richard

Subject: Trees, beautiful trees

I read this article on a whim and went on to read the comments sections and got totally bummed out.
Well that is until I read the comments of "Mikelyn Allred", whew!
I just don't know what people expect from a natural being like a tree.....
You've gotta do your homework and I guess some of these comments could serve as that but it was sure a breath of fresh air to read comments about the pure beauty of a tree and the fact that it's a pretty nifty package in itself


Subject: Copper Beech

Are you thinking of the full copper beech tree or the smaller 6' weeping copper beech? North of Woodsboro, MD there stands a full tree copper beech that is over 30' tall and is over 80 years old. Gorgeous. Since our yard is smaller, we planted a weeping copper beech 25 years ago and it is still going strong. Central Maryland. I LOVE my copper beeches.!

Andrea Wilder

Subject: Copper Beech

A magnificent "estate" tree. If you have LOTS of space the copper beech will be happy, don't try to shoehorn it into
a small space.


Subject: Sweet Gum benefits

I understand if you don't want sweet gum in your yard, and that it is invasive in southern forests, but don't wipe them out completely.

Sweet Gum trees - seeds and sap especially- produce compounds with useful medicinal qualities, including anti inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, anti-fungal and antibacterial uses. Recent research has identified an antiviral compound similar to Tamiflu and a pesticide that targets mosquito larvae (think Zika). Google "Sweet Gum medicinal uses" and see the NIH results.

David Hart

Subject: Bald Cypress

I have a bald cypress in my backyard. Along with about 100 knees that make mowing difficult and walking or running in the yard dangerous because you'll trip or stub your toe or twist your ankle. It also makes a sticky mess. Other than that, it's a big beautiful tree.


Subject: trees that can be a problem

Here in Kentucky the Mimosa tree grows everywhere and there is never a time when you would purchase and plant one. The birds and the wind take care that. If you decide after a few years that you are tired of the beautiful little flowers that stick to everything or the thousands of seedlings that continue to sprout years after the mother tree is gone. not to worry if you have one in the neighborhood you will supplied with replacements far in the future . I think the tree is beautiful but only out in a pasture or nowhere near a house or fence.


Subject: Hateful Brazilian Peppertree

we had one of these in our yard in CA, invaded everywhere, finally took 2 turns at grinding 1/2 the yard up to get rid of it. Now, our neighbor's is sending shoots into our yard, all the way to the foundation, & under the raised beds, I'm sure because of watering. It drops leave 365, and nasty red berries most of the year. They were brought here from south America, and are pretty, but NOT in a yard.
And agree about the Magnolias, had 2 large beautiful ones removed because and we couldn't keep up clearing the leaves anymore.


Subject: Bad Trees

New to South Florida? Do not ever, under any circumstances, plant a
Ficus or Banyan tree. Their root system will seek out any and all water and sewer pipes, like a Boa or Python, strangling them until they burst, leaving you with one tremendous repair bill.


Subject: Sweetgum Neighbor

I live next door to, and down wind of, two Sweetgum trees - and yes, I'm constantly having to clear those spiky balls from my driveway. It's a huge nuisance. That said, their autumn/winter display almost makes up for it. Almost.

Linda Simon

Subject: Silver Maples

Beside the thousands of helicopter seeds, are the roots that travel above the ground. Really tough on lawnmowers! Also, after a heavy wind our yard becomes a branch graveyard because of all the branches that have fallen from the soft wood tree.

Wendy Daly

Subject: Silver Maples

Amen to that! People plant them all the time because they grow quickly. I spent my childhood picking up broken silver maple branches. We had 2 very large trees, but they don't live very long and had to be cut down. Don't plant them, ever!


Subject: avoid weeping willows

Their roots will do major damage to foundations, driveways, underground water pipes, wells, septic systems. They also grow quickly and fall fast. Don't put them near structures or fences. They will also help drain your pond.

Deer eat them. Their wood is too soft to burn or use for anything. You will spend a lot on removal in 15 years. If the wind blows hard when you are cutting the grass, you will get a whipping across your face that will hurt.


Subject: Tree roots

A local plumber told me to flush ice cream salts down the toilet periodically. He said the salt kills any roots that have snaked their way into your septic pipes.

Elizabeth S

Subject: Bad trees Russian Olive.

The Russian Olive tree is considered a noxious weed by the state of Colorado but nurseries still carry them. People like their silvery leaves and small size and plant them as privacy screens and I'm not sure what else. These trees drop inedible (for humans) olives all over the place. Birds eat the olives and later pass the seeds which take hold and grow into plants that choke out native flora. It is not unusual to see streams and creeks densely crowded with stands of these trees.
In addition to the messy olives shed by these small trees, they have spikes that are worse than rose thorns for scratching or sticking if one gets too close.


Subject: Dangerous Tree

Forty-one years ago, we built our home on a large wooded lot. We were new to Maryland and were unfamiliar with the flora here, so we endeavored to preserve as many trees as possible. Unfortunately, most of these trees are tulip poplars: very fast growing, shallow- rooted, and dirty (lots of sap in the spring, thousands of seed pods that burst into millions of seeds).
These seeds are little air foils that become wind blown like tiny helicopters, landing everywhere, wedging themselves between and under roofing shingles, clogging rain gutters and littering the ground underfoot -- painful to bare feet on a hard driveway surface -- and impossible clean up.
More dangerous is the hazard posed by the wood of these now very large trees: it is terribly brittle. If one isn't careful to have these trees professionally maintained (very expensive) he could suffer a serious injury or death from a falling "widow maker" (large falling limb), or have his house crushed by an uprooted tree during a wind storm.
I have seen at least one house in my neighborhood that suffered this fate. A tall poplar knifed through a two story house like the proverbial knife through warm butter and literally shifted the house on its foundation.
If you have any choice at all, do not build anywhere closer than 80 to 100 feet from one of these trees. Did I mention, they grow fast! I'm very surprised to have found scant mention of these trees in these pages.

Jean Bardonner

Subject: Ginkgo Tree (Male)

40 years ago my husband Gene, planted a male ginkgo in our back yard. It was not the most beautiful "teenage" tree, but the last few years I am so proud of it's magnificence. It is 36 feet tall; it has been NO trouble whatsoever and in the fall, it turns a gorgeous yellow, later than other trees, (which is a plus.) Then, it has a spectacular habit of shedding all it's leaves in one night in a huge golden circle around the base of the tree! A ginkgo tree is a great investment!

John Cavanaugh

Subject: Trees To Avoid

Kentucky Coffee tree is a beautiful, light filtering shade tree and between the two genders, the one without seed pods is best when planted in good drainage soil with full day sun. The only draw back is the leafless twigs that drop in the autumn by the hundreds, but they make great fireplace tapers and are about 12-14" long. They make excellent fire starters in our outdoor fireplace.

The Ginko is a fabulous tree that we have growing on our boulevard and it is the gender without the sticky pods. Impervious to winter salt from the snowplows and tolerates all soil types. A pleasure to watch grow and it grows 2-3' each year.

Elaine Brockhaus

Subject: Ginkgo Tree (Male)

Jean, I completely agree with you that a Male Ginkgo Tree is a wonderful addition to any tree family. Ours, too, was
a little "spindly" to begin with but is now coming into its own. During the Fall each day my husband collects a few of the beautiful green to yellow leaves to display in a bowl, and we make bets as to which night our tree will completely shed its yellow robe. The Ginkgo is the oldest, or one of the oldest, species of trees in existence. That fact alone speaks well of its hardiness. It broke our heart when Emerald Ash Borer killed our magnificent Green Ash (In spite of our expensive efforts to protect and then save it) so we are counting on our Ginkgo to thrive well beyond our lifetimes.


Subject: Pin Oak

This tree is pretty while it's green for 6 months, and I love it especially in the fall when it turns red for 3 weeks. The other 5 months the leaves are brown and ugly until new leaves sprout in the spring.


Subject: Pin Oak

I planted a Pin Oak in my home in California. A beautiful tree when the leaves are green; other than that, I always called it my paper bag tree. The dead leaves look like small brown paper bags, until, yes, the new leaves emerge! The buyer of my home thought the tree was dead and almost took it down! As soon as he described the dead leaves, I knew which tree he was referring to and told him to wait, it is not dead!

Sherzer (formerly Palo Alto)

Subject: Sweetgum Trees

The balls of sweetgum (aka liquidambar) trees didn't bother me, but their sap that sprinkled our car windows did. But we found out that although window cleaners didn't do any good, plain water was great. We just left the hose nearby in sap season and gave the windows a quick wash.

C. Mayer


i'm surprised that no one has mentioned COTTONWOOD trees. A former neighbor dug up several of these in a wild area behind our homes and planted them along the lot line as a natural fence. That was 25 years ago. They must be the messiest trees ever created! In spring we have the fluffy, cottony seed pods floating through the whole neighborhood. For the rest of the summer season, we have irregularly shaped twigs dropping off after every rainstorm. And in the fall, we have huge quantities of large leathery leaves dropping into our yard. We have new neighbors, and we will offer to pay half the cost of tree removal if they are willing. Wish us luck! Thanks for all of the great entries -- agree that trees belong in the right environment which, for some, is the WILDERNESS!!!

R Rice

Subject: Cottonwood Trees

Agree these are the messiest trees and would never plant them. The above commentator mentioned the problems. Add to that list purple blossom sprigs in the spring that precede the fluffy seeds - they will cause purple stains on decks and sidewalks- hard to remove. Twigs drop any time there is a wind, not just rainstorms. They are also prone to limbs breaking easily during a storm. Wilderness yes, home owned yards, NOT!


Subject: Any advice about the White Sapote?

I was gifted a small White Sapote tree in a 5-gallon pot and it has been living in there almost two years because I don't know where or if to plant it. The gifter told me to plant it 10' from any structure or wall because of the roots, but on my property it's hard to find any spot that far away from anything I don't want "destroyed," and I definitely don't want my patio or cement walkways or driveway to be pushed up by invasive roots. In addition, I was told Sapote fruit is the most delicious and tastes like "ice cream" (I've tasted it and it's good but not THAT good!), but I don't know if I want to pick up rotting, mush fruit off the ground year-round and also wondering whether that will attract a load of ants. I thought I found the perfect spot for it on my front lawn, but it turns out the main water pipe from the street runs right underneath the spot I chose, and I'm concerned that the tree's roots might interfere with or invade that. Hence, poor little pretty Sapote has been confined to its pot for way too long. Any good or bad experiences with this fruit tree--I need some advice...and it needs a permanent home.


Subject: What to do with your White Sapote tree

Sounds as if you've come to the correct and logical conclusion that the tree shouldn't be planted on your property. I suggest that you pass it along to someone who has enough room and proper conditions to support it. Then you can go visit the tree from time to time and enjoy it without the problems.


Subject: Re: Bottlebrush/Maleluca

J. Barr is correct about the maleluca tree, but the bottlebrush tree is a different tree and when in bloom it has red "bottlebrushes." Another problematic tree is the Australian Pine in Florida.

jessica fullerton

Subject: bad trees

Liquidambers are lovely for one month of the year, when the leaves turn red. Otherwise, their spiny seeds are just awful and can cause serious damage to pedestrians and pets. Their roots are very shallow and invasive and lift sidewalks before invading front yards. My town planted these along all our streets year ago and now doesn't have the funding to remove them and replace them with something wonderful like male gingkos which have very deep roots and drop their leaves all at once.


Subject: trees to plant

In general, sticking to trees that are native to your area is advisable for a number of reasons. The main one is that they can feed your local butterflies and other insects. Your local birds can then eat those insects and thrive. (Even many birds that eat seeds need insects to feed their babies, because seeds don't have the nutrition necessary for the babies' rapid growth.) A tree from Asia is likely to be the same as no food at all to those species. Also, tree species that are native to your area have evolved to "like" the amount of rainfall, the quality of soil, temperatures etc. that exist in your region, so they don't need as much care from you. Much easier.


Subject: 2 more to avoid

Hackberry because birds drop seeds everywhere so shoots pop up constantly and the tap root is a bear to get out.
Mountain cedar unless you live where it's native ! Once introduced, hese are invasive and have a wicked pollen season that routinely creates real misery here in central Texas. They also suck up water needed for native plants and trees--to the extend that when they were cleared from one large ranch, all kinds of clear springs appeared!

Ford Doran

Subject: Trees to avoid

Leucaena leucocephala or "White Popinac" is a very invasive tree that sends down a very deep taproot as a seedling and will spread like wildfire here in the Phoenix area. I have seen one flood irrigated yard with many thousands of seedlings. The seed pods will blow all over kingdom come and I have had to pull up seedlings that came from a tree a block away.

Clia Goodwin

Subject: Sweetgum balls--inoculation to stop seedhead formation

I love Sweetgums--beautiful trees, especially in the fall. But as everyone knows, you do have to rake up tons of balls, which aren't much good unless you spray them silver and hang them on a Christmas tree. HOWEVER, I have heard that there is an inoculation that will control the seed heads well if applied in early spring. I do not know the name, but a good arborist should.


Subject: Sweet Gum tree

We found fruitless sweet gum trees in our local nursery. They have grown quickly with beautiful branching and do not produce the fruit. The leaf has a slightly different shape but it is very attractive. The fall color is less than vibrant, but the tree makes up for this during spring and summer


Subject: Another bad tree...

Just one more bad tree I thought should be mentioned- the honey locust. They tend to grow straight up but the wood is brittle and tends to break in windstorms also the wood is very hard and will eat your chainsaw. They are very attractive and have beautiful spring flowers but DO NOT plant them anywhere near anything that they could fall on and damage.

A lot of the trees mentioned, like sweet gums, black walnut and gingko seem like they could work in the right location. They might have a place away from the house and in a less manicured environment.

Pam Frazee

Subject: River Birch

I have 4 of them and I pick up sticks to 20' branches all year long. I call them "garbage trees". They look pretty so I have to keep them because I have decided to sell this house. I have to move because I have 12 trees and every one of them has a problem no matter how much money I spend getting them sprayed, but the river birches are the worst by far and the ones driving me away. When there is snow on the ground, all the yards are beautiful except mine which has branches and sticks all over the snow.

Sharon Lyons

Subject: River Birch

The worst tree in my yard. I live in a condo and the whole front yard is this tree. I hav a magnolia too. Their seed pods are a pain to pick up too. But, that birchs roots are everywhere in the yard. White pines are dangerous as they are soft wood. A heavy wind could knock them down. They grow fast and tall. I have had one fall in my yard and almost hit my home.

Ernest Lane

Subject: Magnolia

We planted a magnolia behind our house some 18 years ago just because we like it. But it's only about 6' from the house. Is that going to cause us problems? I think I heard some things about breaking foundations and so forth.


Subject: magnolia trees

6' from the house is too close to plant anything larger than some flowering shrubs, e.g., azaleas. If planted 18 years ago you already have a root problem. When you plant a tree, try to look at a mature specimen first, and remember that the roots will extend outward about as far as the limbs do. Plus, magnolias shed leaves throughout the year, and they don't decay for ages. This is a good tree to plant as a specimen, out in the front yard, far away from the house. The large, white blossoms in spring are very showy, but also keep in mind that the tree will send up sprouts from extended roots that will develop into small trees around the mother tree.

Tom Griffin

Subject: Magnolia Tree

I live in North Carolina and remember some years ago a neighbor fellow who was a landscaper saying that "Magnolias are a fine tree, when they are in someone else's yard." Truer words were never spoken. The tree has very aggressive roots which will destroy a foundation. I don't have any Magnolias now but my neighbor does and I am bedeviled by his leaves which are are a pain.


Subject: Magnolia tree

A friend discovered it was lifting the sidewalk up close to the tree and decided to check out the roots. They were moving close to the foundation of their house and they had to cut the roots at that point so they wouldn't continue to spread into the foundation.

Craig Schaffer

Subject: Trees to avoid

Name 1 tree that doesn't have some negative effect. There are definitely some worse than others, but if you don't want to deal with them don't plant them.

Mikelyn Allred cawford

Subject: trees to avoid in modern subdivisions

Oh bless you, Craig S and your initial replier. As I have spent the last hour or more listening to all the tree talk I understood every writer's frustration because I believed most came from not having enough knowledge before they bought or allowed whatever volunteer tree showed up to continue to thrive. In today's modern subdivisions where homes are larger and lawns are smaller I suggest one stay away from ALL trees and look to shrubbery and other lower growing and shorter rooting things to give them their pleasure of the outdoors, or of course just put in the work it takes to allow what you have (or want) to keep them. I once gardened my lawn like an artist and everything had to have a place and beauty and give me no fuss. I have since become disabled and after giving away all my hard to keep up garden plantings to neighbors I just let mother nature add what God had put in the area to start with or the native animals left uneaten and now I have a beautifully birded and small wildlife filled wilderness Eden that only a small bit of work (good exercise for me as much as I can tolerate) and the occasional hiring of neighborhood kids looking for summer money takes to upkeep. Yes even the fallen branches on the snow have a beauty of their own and add to the nutrients of next springs returning bulbs etc. I'm almost sad that so many of us became so perfectly lawn oriented in this country and have done so much harm bringing in invasive and non-nutriative varieties, or misunderstood the requirements of so many others that now give them bad reputations. We do need more arborists, of the professional and the avocational sort for sure.

Linda Reichel

Subject: Craig S's response

Craig, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I love trees. All trees. My dad used to take me for walks in the woods and teach me the names of trees. He is now 97 and can no longer do that so I bring him leaves into the house in the fall. Yes, trees get bugs and have to be trimmed and limbs have to be picked up--I use them for kindling in the fireplace. It is amazing that each tree seed -no matter how small, just like any plant- grows into its likeness. God's plan of course. Thanks for sticking up for trees. Yes, planters must consider the size of the tree/plant at maturity before planting.

Thomas Bennett

Subject: The juice of the chinaberry

The juice of the chinaberry is also a major eye irritant and children playing in/with the "berries" eventually get swollen red painful experience eye burns due to contact.


Subject: ChinaBerry Trees

Here in South Texas the Chinaberry tree ranks high on the list of bad trees! Although it has lovely fragrant lilac blooms in spring, in fall it drops round 'berries' that propagate the tree quite quickly! All parts of the tree (especially the berries) are poisonous to animals and it doesn't take much to kill a small dog. These invasive nuisance trees are on the "do not plant" list for our area.

grumpy lumpy

Subject: all "bad" trees

Andy Milner got it right. almost all species of trees
( or other plants ) have a purpose, a manner, and
an appropriate place to reproduce and grow. It is
just that for many trees, that place is NOT in our
suburban yards, streets, parks, etc. A simple
"apple" tree will be a real pain to deal with in most
back yards, or especially, front yards near driveways!

Doesn't make the apple a "bad" tree. It just belongs
somewhere else. Ask my neighbor who planted
three of them alongside his driveway.

My list of "trees that should not be in anyone's yard"
would include Pine, Magnolia, Cottonwoods and
similar, Willow, Mexican Ash (which I call a "trAsh
tree), and basically any other tree which causes root
or falling branch or falling debris problems, or
which is not suitable to the climate, insects, or winds
in that area ! Just because it is "native" (in the local
forests?) or has a nice tag description at the local
nursery, does not mean that it is a "good" tree for
your yard. ASK the neighbors before planting,
what they wish they did not have !
My beautiful red maple (obviously not 'native')
died, the silver maple dropped limbs on my roof,
the Tulip tree was beautiful, especially to the bark
borers who killed it, and my Arizona Ash requires
annual thinning/pruning for all the excessive small
branches. And I considered purchasing the house
next door JUST so I could legally cut/remove the
stupid Mexican Ash with its millions of sharp-pointed
seed pods all over my cars and front yard, and the
Magnolia tree which blows its leaves all over the
neighborhood all year long.
Magnolias are the state tree of Mississippi, and
look great along the roadways, etc, but should not
be within 300ft of anyones house !

often grumpy in Houston,


Subject: trash trees

My neighbor planted 4 Aspen trees along the back fence - talk about trash trees! My dogs had to dodge falling limbs, & my husband & I fought with roots going from the back yard to the sidewalk in the front yard! They belong in the mountains, NOT in yards!!

Denise Skonieczny

Subject: 5 trees to avoid

Willow trees. Branches are always falling off. Very obnoxious tree. Oak trees with acorns all over. Not good gor a small city lot

Joe H.

Subject: Trees to avoid

another reason to avoid weeping willow trees is your drains, if your house is over 30 years old. The roots will travel unbelievable distances to enter your drain tiles, the older clay ones, and clog them!


Subject: Trees to avoid

My neighbor has an ash tree near my yard. It is not bad-looking, but it puts out thousands, if not millions, of seeds, most of which fall in my flower beds. Even the seedlings are hard to pull up, and if you don't get the whole root, the tree comes back bigger and better the next year. I am hoping this tree will die before it kills my back.

Anne Small

Subject: On bad trees

You left out Norway Maples which are considered an invasive species.
Also the sawdust of Black Walnuts cannot be used for bedding in horse stalls as it is toxic to them and causes founder.

J. Barr


Carrotwood and melaleuca are invasive, alien, dirty, useless and vile. Melaleuca, originally from Australia and often called Bottlebrush, sucks up far more than its share of water, actually lowers the water table, and in warm weather smells like day-old mashed potatoes. Carrotwood, also alien, and not attractive, drops TONS of brown, hard ugly leaves that don't go away. Many palms are regrettable, too, as the females drop almost endless loads of pollen and nasty little seed cases. (Try a foxtail palm, clean and nice.) Don't be taken in by a pretty face: Do research before you plant.

L.A Bennett

Subject: Bradford pear/Aristocrat Pear

I sought out Bradford pear for newly built home landscape. After 25 years, downsizing and moving away I still have nothing but love for Bradford pear. I especially loved those little "pears" produced every fall that attracted so many birds to feed on those delights. Cedar waxwings, Evening Grosbeaks and other migratory birds crossing the Leominstet area. I took great delight especially in the spring, when folks driving through my area who would stop and gaze at the beauty of those sweet smelling white blooms that signaled to me, winter is over and all is right with the world!


Subject: Bradford pears

The more serious problem with Bradford pears is not that they split but that they are choking out native species. This started when other cultivars were introduced that were stronger than the one that was prone to split---but this also made the weak ones able to reproduce and now they are a serious threat to trees that grown in the area naturally. This is never a good thing. It has a ripple effect on plant and animal life that goes way beyond having to deal with broken branches.

Lorraine McLaughlin

Subject: Bradford Pear

Our next door neighbor planted a veritable forest of these things, planning on selling them. He sold maybe 3. The rest propagated our back 3 acres, and even chopping down the small ones doesn't seem to halt the invasion. The trees look good maybe 5 days a year when in bloom, but BOY do they stink! Any ideas on how to get ride of these damn volunteers?

Jim T

Subject: bradford pears

Here in upstate South Carolina, the Bradford Pears have become a real problem. Seems any un-used empty
field becomes populated with them. I bought a home with about 1 Acre covered with the pears.
I treated them with Round Up, when I was sure they were DEAD I cut them down and burned them. They
were about 1 1/2 inches thick. We also have two mature Bradfords in front of my home, just waiting for them
to split and the cost of getting a tree removal service to come in.

Sharon Trampe

Subject: Black walnut trees

One thing wasn't mentioned about the Walnut tree, if you have a lot of squirrels in the area, they have a habit of burying the nuts. You will find the Walnut Trees popping up all over your lawns and gardens. Worst tree we ever planted and very hard to get rid of. we are constantly cutting them off and then applying to the cut portion a powder to be absorbed into the tree which will stop them from growing. If we didn't do this we would have hundreds and hundreds of the Black Walnuts in our yard. We would be known as Walnut Grove for sure if we didn't keep after them.

Caren Madsen

Subject: "Bad" trees

You are giving the sweet gum, ginko and black walnut very bad press for little reason. These are all good trees and natives to the area where I live. It's annoying to see any trees labeled as bad or to avoid.


Subject: Sweet Gum trees

Even worse than the "gumballs" is the sweet gum's root system. Roots are large, extensive and invasive. This tree can crack foundations, break up patios, and, even after removal, make it impossible to plant anything where roots are located underground. Sweet gum trees need to be planted a significant distance from any structure. (15' is too close)


Subject: Beech tree can be a hazard for pets!

We had two lovely beech trees with beautiful bark; the problems was that beech trees drop small SHARP seed pods that can get lodged in a dog's paws and will have to be removed surgically. You cannot see any wound on the paw; the pod cuts the skin and then gets worked under the skin with every step the animal takes. The dog's chewing on the paw works it further into the paw and you cannot even see it. The pod is barbed and cannot just work its way out. We thought our dog was reacting to a bee sting and even the vet had difficulty diagnosing the problem because the paw looked fine. The vet began probing the paw with an instrument and then found the pod under the skin and it required surgery to remove the pod. DO NOT PLANT A BEECH TREE IF YOU HAVE PETS that go outside. The pods can also blow over from a neighbor's yard so be mindful of this.


Subject: ash tree

Ash are good trees. Property owners need to treat the tree before the emerald ash borer attack the tree.Cheaper to treat then to cut down.


Subject: Ash tree

Our granddaddy ash tree was huge and ever so lovely. It would have taken two people or more to encircle it. Eventually I discovered Morel mushrooms growing near its base which, I believe, is a sign the tree is in trouble. When bark began dropping off, we had it checked out. In the end, after two years of treating to prevent the emerald ash borer from becoming a problem, several other issues became serious enough three different specialists told us we needed to take it down before it could drop on the house. We did but the men taking it down said it may have had bad signs but it had years to go before it was going to be an issue. It was a heartbreaking loss of a magnificent tree. We had not been bothered by anything with it. Indeed, the neighbor's maple and our silver maple were - are - pains in the neck with their seedlings all over out property (never on his, of course, due to the way winds come around our houses). The tulip tree from the other neighbors can be a mess in the fall as well. I'd give anything to have our giant ash back and be rid of the ugly, knarled, mess silver maple. I have no idea what to put in our back yard now to begin growing into a tree as lovely as the ash was.


Subject: Ash Trees Make Lousy Neighbors

Ash trees are perfectly fine trees - in a forest or very large residential lot. But in a city lot they're a disaster for the neighbors, because as another commenter has pointed out, they drop thousands and thousands of tiny seeds they scatter widely with the lightest of breezes - and they seemingly ALL take root and thrive. Until my next-door neighbor here in Los Angeles took out his 50-foot ash I used to have to pull literally hundreds of seedlings out of my garden every year; it's five years since that tree was taken out and I'm still pulling new seedlings all year long.

Linda G

Subject: Ash Tree and the beetles

The problem with the ash trees is they are infected before you know it. The first sign is the chunks of bark falling off. We had to remove 8 dead ash trees from our back lot. The woods in our area are all now falling to the ground because they are mostly ash trees. I hope a restoration program can begin to replace these once beautiful trees. I am told there is an ash tree in China that is resistant to the beetles. That is all I know about that. We will replace ours with some pin oak and maple as those thrive here and I can find baby ones in the woods. With all the acorns we do get a lot of wildlife that feed on the acorns..


Subject: ash

Please don't listen to Jacqueline. Millions of ash trees have been killed, and cities all across the country are having to pay tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove them. Injections to a mature tree cost several hundred dollars, and that's EVERY year. I'm having that done to my 12 year old European ash (it's only about a 10 inch caliper, so it costs about $100) as a short term solution. But down the road, when a replacement is large enough, my beautiful tee will have to be cut down.

Terri Burke

Subject: Bradford Pear Trees

One of the most common mistakes in having the Bradford Pear in your yards, is that they must be pruned from the inside out. Which in most cases after the tree matures it is best to find professional tree trimmers who actually know how to do this........They are beautiful but when winds come up they will go down. We lost five after fifteen years of beauty in one storm of 50 mph winds. So we finished them out and burned out the stumps. Also if you are a Spring time allergy sufferer these will send you in a tail spin.


Subject: Sticky Crepe Myrtle

Crepe myrtle can grow to a good 30 feet, but can still thrive when "topped." It can remain essentially one height (bushy or lanky). It has beautiful flowers that grow and re-grow all summer long (dry and hot climate is best). The bark is mottled and beautiful.

But, try parking your car (or anything else) next to them, and you will come out to a sticky sappy mess that is very hard to get off anything--even your feet.


Subject: Crepes

OMGOSH I was waiting for this tree...I have 5 small ones and one very large one lining my driveway and 3 in the backyard. I promise I did not plant them...yes they are beautiful while in bloom, but those blooms get all over everything, clog pool filters, stain the liners, and anytime of the year their sap can ruin a cars paint. Little saplings appear EVERY WHERE ( like a weeed) and they have to be manicured or they will have branches just shooting up from the bottom

Curtis Menches

Subject: Crepes

Pick varieties not prone to mildew and control the ants, thereby preventing sticky aphid poop.


Subject: Bradford Pear

Had 14 Bradford Pears down our driveway. Beautiful when blooming, but all eventually split from wind leaving them scrappy looking. Cut them all down. THEN the dig. Digging out root balls was a nightmare the root system is like a can of worms underground, I had to start digging far from trunk to get under root ball. Luckily neighbor had commercial backhoe. 7 years later tree sprouts still come up from remaining roots. Horror.


Subject: Trees to avoid

Silver Maples!!!!!! Just cut down two of them that were starting to die out. They're over 50 years old. The squirrels were hollowing out branches for nesting and I was getting worried the huge branches might start falling on the house. Beautiful trees but VERY VERY Messy. In spring they bud and on windy days the buds are everywhere. Clogging rain gutters, sewer drains, etc. and if left on grassy areas they will start sprouting new trees. Then later in spring, early summer it's the "flying helicopters". AWFUL! Again if not cleaned up they clog everything and sprout new trees. I would have 10 to 12 lawn trash bags filled this those things. Never again!!!


Subject: Silver Maples

Yes, I agree. I grew up with silver maples. 35 yrs of silver maple experience has put them at the top of my list as well. My parents wanted sugar maples when they moved into their house, the nursery didn't have any of those popular tree. So they opted to put in silver maples that were numurous. A mistake we need to deal with today. They have 5 silver maples in the back yard (took the 6th tree down last year) and 3 crimsom maples in the front. Crimsoms are much nicer, voluminous trees. Silver maples are not nice trees 20 yrs after planting. The 1st few years, as small sapplings, they were ok. But the leaves are sticky, messy, and tear or roll on themselves. Raking their leaves are a pain because the leaves stick to the rake or ground, and tear easily. And like you said, they release thousands of helicopter seeds that clog up the gutters, load up gardens, kill off grass, and replant more of the awful trees. Every summer, I need to rip out dozens of trees from my parent's yard, because they are really hardy plants that easily take root anywhere, even on the roof, in just a few days. And the trees just keep getting taller and more dangerous. The crimsom maples grow out more thick and seem much stronger. The problem with those, however, is that the leaves are quite thick and result in a lot of shade, where not many things can grow in their shadows. Silver maples allow for more sun peaking through, but they are ugly and dirty trees.


Subject: Bois D'arc

Bois D'arc also called Horse Apple and Osage Orange has to be a tree from "Hell". They are wicked due to sharp thorns, sticky sap, fruit that only a starving animal would eat, and seasoned wood that will kill the best of chainsaws. Yes the yellow wood is beautiful but not worth the time and expense to harvest.


Subject: Osage Orange Trees

We bought a home which was built on land which had been a farm and osage orange trees were planted as a windbreak. Male trees have thorns which can be an inch long and I can't tell you how many lawn tractor tires were ruined by these thorns. Female trees have the fruit which can be as large as grapefruits. Our rain gutters were damaged by the falling fruit. These trees are not attractive and will grow more horizontally to get light. We removed one huge male tree and another huge female tree. The wood is very, very hard, but it does make excellent firewood! Don't plant these trees!

Joe H.

Subject: horse apple or osage orange

If you have a semi-adult osage orange tree on your property, consider yourself lucky! first, the fruit if put on a plastic lid and placed in your basement will repel spiders and centipedes. second, the wood when dried makes some of the most beautiful re-curve bows you will ever see.

martha jaye rieser

Subject: aspen trees

Aspen trees are lovely in the mountains, above 7500 ft. elevation, where they thrive. Aspen are one of the largest living organisms. A single tree may have a massive root systems that supports an entire grove of aspen.

Unless you live at a high elevation or have very cool summers, aspen do not turn golden in the fall; the leaves start turning brown in July! And the massive root system will kill your lawn or make planting perennials impossible. Their life span at lower elevations is only about 25 years. Aspens belong in the mountains, not your neighborhood!

Van Carrin

Subject: Hackberry trees

These trees atract aphids that poop black all over you driveway, patio, and outdoor furniture.


Subject: Ginkgo and Gum

Ginkgo and Gum trees are wonderful. The smelly fruit is an exciting aspect of nature and is only there for a short time. The gum-balls can be easily swept, blown, or sucked into a mulcher. You can slip or step on plenty of dangerous or gross things without trees, so don't blame these beautiful, useful species. Ginkgoes are resistant to pollution and make good street trees. We need more trees, not less, so stop blaming the victims of humankind's inability to tend to our planet.

S.P. Smith

Subject: Gum Trees

Having rented a house with a gum tree next to the driveway, I researched any possible use for the spiky balls. When placed around plant beds, supposedly slugs won't cross that moat of spikes....thick gloves required!

Thomas J. Lauterio

Subject: Sweet Gums

No one is saying that we need to have fewer trees. The article and other comments speak to planting the right tree in the right place. A sweet gum in the middle of a forest is great. But it can be a nuisance for people with pets in the city. The Bradford pear is subject to breaking limbs, but it has its place. Just don't plant it near a house where it may cause major damage or use a Linden instead. The article suggests thinking about the ideal tree for each location. One should do that as well regardless. For example, how much sun will it get, what is the soil type, how much rain will it receive - etc. Thinking about the best place for each tree will actually encourage people to plant more tress not fewer.

J. Webber

Subject: sweetgum balls

We had a dog once whose paw pads would become red and raw inbetween her toes when the gumballs were all over the ground. Please consider your shoeless, four footed animal pals before you plant one of these messy trees.

David Stovall

Subject: chestnut tree

Add chestnut tree to list. I just cut down 2 of them , same reason as sweetgum but much worse. Plus couldn't give the nuts away except to orientals who love them.

Andy Milner

Subject: chestnut tree

As one reader wrote, planting the appropriate tree in the appropriate location is the key. You may not want a chestnut in your front yard, but plant it on a farm and you'll have a deer population like you've never seen. Deer will pass up 1000 acorns to get to a chestnut.

Lisa Cohen Scott

Subject: Ailanthus Tree (Tree of Heaven)

Fast growing and beautiful but wood is weak and breaks easily without warning. They have seeds that fall in the spring and emit the nastiest stink you can imagine. They are considered a weed and it's even illegal to plant them in some communities because they are so pervasive. I'm surprised they weren't number one on this list.

Audrey J Joyce

Subject: Tree of Heaven

THESE TREES ARE MORE LIKE TREE OF HELL! This is a non native tree in Southern California, I'm pretty sure. It propagates itself and new shoots grow everywhere, pushing other trees out. We had one that we let grow and in no time it had lifted a thick cement patio 2 feet off the ground, cracking it. We had to cut it down because insurance company said it became a tripping hazard. Little shoots came up all over the property including under the house, through the molding. It looks like a beautiful tree with pretty leaves, then, just takes over. Good Luck.


Subject: Extremely invasive, kills other plants

Recently bought a building lot and had to remove about 10 Ailanthus. This has to be one of the worst, most aggressive invasive species. As Lisa mentioned, it is illegal to plant them (or even sell them) in some states and towns -- that's how bad this tree is. The forester who removed them from our lot said that the tree emits a toxin into the soil, that kills virtually all other trees and plants. Then new Ailanthus trees pop up next to the mother tree, from the roots of the mother. He recommended that we wait several years before attempting to plant anything else in the area, to allow the toxin to hopefully leach out of the soil. What a horrible tree, it is misnamed -- instead of Tree of Heaven it should be Tree of Hell.

Jimmy Joe

Subject: Chinese Elm

Don't plant Chinese Elms Not only do they grow scraggly long branches reminiscent of those craggy trees you see in witch tales, but they have these seeds that many mistake as leaves that fall by the millions and grow everywhere. Including that area below the hood on your car where the windshield wipers are housed. They also get stuck in the air intakes and cause moldy growths. Ugly and a nuisance - not sure why they even exist. And not sure why cities continue to plant them

Helen Gilbert

Subject: Chinese (or Siamese) elms

I wondered when someone would mention Chinese elms. We have several in our neighborhood. Fortunately one was just removed on our back alley. They rain down millions of seeds in the spring that sprout quickly all over our landscaping and lawn, and we wear ourselves out trying to keep up before they get too big to pull up - maybe a week later! Once they are rooted, only poison will kill them, with many repeated applications (we try to just keep cutting them instead and the trunks keep growing.) They were planted as the American elms were dying, but they were a mistake! I agree that the appropriate tree to plant depends on all the issues of location, etc. We're not "villainizing" trees when we say this, only people who don't think it through when they plant them.


Subject: Ginko Great Tree

Rather than give Ginko a bad wrap say buy from reputable nursery that only sells male trees. They're beautiful trees otherwise!

Shelley Butler

Subject: Another tree to avoid

We have a large California Pepper tree in our backyard. I was told by an arborist that these trees drip toxic drops to plants below as well as compete for water. These trees are everywhere in Southern California. Are these trees on the avoid list?

Maureen Bykerk

Subject: Brazilian/California pepper trees

Shelley, if you have one in your yard, get rid of it! I just had Vargas Tree Service remove a 35 foot tree from my yard that had a double trunk. Every time the wind blew I would end up with tiny little pepper trees sprouting all over my yard. They even sprouted in my front yard! That tree was the bane of my existence and I'm so thankful it it gone.

Carolyn LeVesque

Subject: CA Pepper tree

I just took mine out in the backyard. It was lovely for ten years, and then the root system started putting out new trees in the yard. I understand I may be pulling those roots and sprouts out for quite some time in the future . . .


Subject: Hear Hear!

We have lots of black walnut trees on and around our property. Sure, we end up with a ding or two on the car when the nuts drop, but they provide great shade. Being in PA, they are very prevalent around here.

Richard White

Subject: Another Pitfall Tree

The River Birch has become quite the ornamental tree around here in lower Coastal S.C. The problem is, it is a fast growing tree shading out the local Magnolias and Live Oaks. Then it drops long spiny branches that are like walking through cut fence wire. It is prone to rot in it's joints, breaking in half in seconds, and it doesn't live long with the winds we get from the Tropical Storms we endure on the coast. I wish I had never planted mine but it will be cut soon as it has died.


Subject: River birch

It is OK to cut down trees you don't want or are dying. Over a period of 50 years my dad planted, cut down, and replanted several. Just don't cut down the neighbor's tree!

Dave Cormany

Subject: "Bad" trees

In condemning sweetgum trees, you fail to recognize it's positives. It is relatively fast-growing, is very sturdy, has a beautiful shape, and grows to excellent height, providing lots of shade in a sunny area. In the fall, it is one of the most colorful trees around with brilliant red and gold leaves. My mulching mower handles the gum balls just fine, so you seem to be over-hyping the problem


Subject: I agree!

Sweetgums are great trees and if the gum balls are a nuisance just plant where they won't be a problem such as in the back of a yard.

Cynthia Welch

Subject: Bradford Pears are INVASIVE!

I am stunned that this crucial fact was left out of the article - Bradford Pears were originally thought to be sterile. No - they are now spreading all across the country. Most reputable nurseries don't even offer them for sale anymore.


Subject: Tree to avoid!

Black Locust. Evil tree! Worse than most on the list.

Has nice smelling flowers for a couple days. The rest of the year is drops branches with sharp spikes. Its roots send up spike covered, fast growing shoots all over the place. If you cut it down, it sends up even more shoots. We cut ours down 5 years ago and it's still sending up shoots.

P. Edwards

Subject: 5 Trees not to plant

Sweetgum tree balls? Seriously? If you are worried about these tiny balls don't plant a coconut tree. The mature seed balls can be used as decoration in arts and craft projects. I don't see it being worse than any other tree.

David Barnett

Subject: Avoid cottonwoods

When we landscaped in the mid-80s for our new home, put in seven cottonwoods for shade. Used a legal variety that was cotton-less and came as bare root stock. All seven matured nicely. They are a hybrid that is susceptible to wetwood disease that is airborne. When trees are in leaf in Denver, thousands of trees can be seen with dead upper branches. We have had four taken out and the other three are infected. There is no treatment to save them. About $800 per tree to remove. Very painful. Know your species when selecting these and I would also check with county extension agents. Cottonwood debris also clogs gutters.

John Dean

Subject: Trees to Avoid

The Tulip Tree is another tree you can add to your list of Trees to Avoid.

It is a tall fast growing tree and produces nice tulip like "flowers."
The problem is that it also sprays a glue like sap that will cover everything.
During it's growing season in the summer it was impossible to keep my car and windows clean from the sap.

Kevin Oechslin

Subject: Oak trees in Florida

Not exactly sure of the species but we have several large oak trees at our house in Florida. These are the oak trees you often see with moss hanging from them.The main problem with these trees is that a couple times a year they drop their small leaves everywhere and they are a real pain to clean up.We usually have to rake leaves and bag them for a couple days. Does anyone know of an easier method to handle these leaves. I've also tried using a blower but that wasn't much better. Would a lawn vacuum work and if so what brands would you recommend. Thanks.


Subject: Oak trees in Florida

I don't know how big your yard is, but we have several oak trees as well on about an acre of lawn which we have to mow. They're hardy and sturdy provide a lot of shade and always look good. We were able to buy a bagger for the back of our riding mower which does the job a lot faster. It is still work because the bag only holds so much and then it needs to be emptied, but it's much better than trying to rake an acre of lawn. They also sell baggers for push mowers.

Don Taber

Subject: Oak tree leaves

The easy way to take care of leaves is to simply mulch them into the ground. I live in northern Delaware. I have two HUGE Pin Oaks, a Norway Maple and 3 weeping Cherries on a slightly-less-than 1/2 acre lot. For many years, I raked them up, ran them thru my chipper-shredder, and used them for mulch. The mulch is great; free, and lasts MUCH longer than bought wood mulch. BUT. . . I'm 77 and the raking got to be a pain in the arse. I happened to investigate what other means I could employ to get rid of them and perused Scott's website for suggestions. Guess what? THEY ADVISE MULCHING THE LEAVES INTO THE GROUND. The leaves provide nutrients and loam/improve the soil. I was always concerned with the acidity of the leaves, but they say it's not a problem. If you don't have a mulching mower, get one. If the leaves are unusually think, you might have to go over the lawn more than once to mulch them (pieces should generally not be larger than a dime), but it's WAY easier than raking and bagging or shredding.


Subject: Oak trees in FL

Here in the Midwest we have started using a mulching mower in place of raking. It is much easier and better for the lawn/soil in the long run.


Subject: Mullberry

These shrubs to trees are difficult to eradicate and may take years to completely be rid of. They are spread by birds that leave horrible purple stained everywhere poop.

Elliott Ellis

Subject: Dealing with these trees.

Have 1 sweet gum and 1 Bradford , the way I deal with my sweet gum balls is to grab my shop vac has a 3 inch hose on it ,it takes me about 3 times in the fall to vacuum up all the balls that fall off. I had a Bradford that with some pruning and some rope and thought was able to get 17 years out of it

Cheryll Lynn

Subject: Trees to avoid

I believe Ficus trees should have topped your list, especially for the warmer states like Califpornia. Ficus grow fast and look great fast. And that's the problem. Unless they have a surface area at least 2x the diameter of it's canopy underneath it can "take over", be ready for literal upheaval. Countless cities and home owners have planted these along parkways only to find sidewalks, pavement, utility pipes, cinder block fences, literally anything, pushed up and out of its way. Most notably in my area is the city of El Segundo, CA. Main Street was lined with majestic ficus up until the damage could no longer be managed. In the Los Angeles town of Westchester, the same thing is happening along Sepulveda Blvd. Here, the trees are being taken out and replaced more incrementally in phases so as not to have the "shock" the befell El Segundo when they were taken out all at once. In the long run, a "fast ficus" tree will cost you more! Google ficus and plenty of images come up!


Subject: In Defense of Sweetgums

I have to stick up for our friends the Sweetgums. Our property in the mixed piney woods of Texas is thick with them. They are welcome arrivals in Spring, show nice colors in the Fall, and are called home by Luna moths. And I don’t recall ever having a negative feeling about the pods. This is a hit piece, probably underwritten by pushy pines or ornery oaks who are just looking for more space.

Chris Snyder

Subject: Sweet Gun Trees

Several of these on our block. It's been said they have fall colors but I've not seen it for years. There's a "hard maple" that gives brilliant colors every year and doesn't have sticker balls.

M Campbell

Subject: Ah, the dreaded poker ball

Yes, we loathe those spiny balls; however, wouldn't you know, the local blue bird population enjoys feeding on the seeds.

The pods also like to embed themselves in the lawn/ground.

But in spite of those poker balls, we still enjoy looking at the tree's fall coat each year.

Alan Flesh

Subject: 2 other trees to avoid

You could also have included:

Silver Maple: Roots come up through the ground. Prone to storm damage. Kills Kentucky Bluegrass under the tree

Tulip Tree (Liriodendron): Prone to storm damage

Maggie Henry

Subject: Yes but ....

The syrup from black walnut trees is simply amazing...makes maple syrup seem bland and those burrs from sweetgum trees make awesome fall decorations, too!

Rosemary Hughes

Subject: 5 trees to avoid

There are newer varieties of non fruiting pear trees which are not as fragile as Bradfords. If you are like me and are not willing to cut down a Bradford pear in your yard correct pruning methods can reduce the problems cause my the tightly spaced branches. Bradford pears bloom on previous growth. Ideally, they should receive a major pruning right after blooming ends. Trim off all branches from your major limbs that grow toward the center of the tree or on the top side of a major branch.
Fold a paper square in half to get a 45 degree angle remove every branch that does not extend at least a 45 degree angle from its source. Occasionally, you may want to have a professional top the tree and reshape the top. A shorter tree is easier to keep pruned.

Joe H.

Subject: Bradford Pear trees

I have two Cleveland species Bradford flowering pear trees that I planted in my front yard about ten -twelve years ago and when they bloom they are just beautiful!! Wouldn't trade them for anything else. There are several companies around lake county Ohio that have them planted next to their buildings and in the spring it is very hard not to notice them. They also have a very nice pyramid shape to them. I'll take them, thank you very much!

Howard Barnett

Subject: article format request

this is just about the placement of related article in the mist of reading the one one's focused on moving thru, related articles to me are like someone asking you something in the middle of reading, you have to stop and concentrate on that and decide what to do with it, usually, it's something one wants to read: distracting.

Couldn't related articles be placed at the bottom?

Btw: I do compliment that this article is the cleanest I've ever read in that respect, most have several, it's irrigating. Thanks for limiting it here



Subject: What trees to plant

Contact your local county extension office. They have experts who can tell you the best trees to plant in your area. Alternatively, contact the reference librarian at your public library..

Vera Meyer

Subject: Mulberry Trees

When the edible berries drop to the ground, they produce an ugly purple stain when crushed...sidewalks, driveways, and even tracked into your house.

Joe H.

Subject: mulberry trees

Pick them when ripe, mix with red cherries and bake in a pie! DELICIOUS!! I have many childhood memories of a lady across the street baking them for me if I would pick them for her! I miss them!

Veronica Miller

Subject: BAD TREE

Norway Maple, a non-native tree, in all its varieties, should be avoided. They spread their seeds and resulting saplings everywhere and crowd out our native plants.

The Lazy Gardener NY

Subject: Right plant, right place

The reasons you give for these trees don't apply to sweetgums and walnut trees. Native trees like these are quite important in sustaining local fauna. They are linchpins of our local environment.

In the case of sweet gums, they're perfectly fine if they are planted in a part of the property that is underplanted or not used often, away from patios, play areas or pools.

Walnuts are majestic in the middle of a large grassland (or less eco-beneficial lawn), where their allelopathic chemicals won't interfere with other plantings. 50 to 80 feet is considered the danger zone for a mature tree.


Subject: Other trees

What, no Siberian Elms and Globe Willows? Syberian elms throw truckloads of seeds, which grow into carpets of seedlings, which if you don't pull in time will turn into tons of tall weeds that are almost impossible to eradicate.

Globe Willows like to grow into your sprinkler systems and render it useless, plus leaving lots of sticks everywhere.

Margaret Mueller

Subject: The Bunya-bunya or Monkey Puzzle Tree

When I was fourteen, my parents bought a house with a "Bunya-bunya" or "Monkey Puzzle" tree located in the front yard. A friend who was interested in horticulture identified it, and told them it would drop 25 pound pine cones. Sure enough, when I was eighteen, one dropped about three feet from where I was sitting.

Not a great tree for anyone's yard.

Anne Wingate

Subject: Sweetgum Trees

I grew up in northeast Texas, where sweetgums abound. We loved them. They grow big enough for ten to twelve kids to get in them at once, and the sweetgum burrs sprayed with silver or gold spray paint make beautiful Christmas tree ornaments. I now live in Utah, and sorely miss my sweetgum trees.


Subject: Kousa Dogwood

I love the blooms on my Kousa. However, mine is in my lawn and in the fall they drop tons of cherry sized fruit. I had this planted because I was told the birds eat the fruit. But, beware...they don't! I spend endless hours cleaning up the fruit. If left, the lawnmower crushes the fruit and creates a mat on the grass. Best left to a naturalized area.

Marianne Moye

Subject: Thank You

Thank you for this interesting and useful info. After being a member since the early 2000's, I appreciate something from you that is not pushing me to give you info about work with service providers that that I didn't have done.


Subject: another one to add

Mulberry trees need to be on this list. They are a weed of a tree! The branches grow about a foot every year. Yearly trimming is needed on ours to keep it away from the wires and roof. The fruit that drops in late summer makes a mess, stains sidewalks, tracks into the house, and attracts lots of birds (and bird poop).


Subject: river birch is bad tree to plant

I agree with your choices. But you have left out the river birch tree. Roots are thick and break up sidewalks and driveways. They are dropping something 12 months of the year. Spring, heavy clumps of seed and pollen. Summer, leaves fall all months even though tree is healthy. Fall and winter, branches drop constantly as they get brittle. These trees should only be planted in wet areas far from structures like house, drive and walks.

C T Dillon

Subject: Walnut and Poplars

I like Black Walnut Trees we have several. One just has to coordinate the other plants one chooses to use.
Poplar Trees are a tree to avoid because the wood in not good, they are weak, their roots are week, and they are subject to severe damage by wind....or did you forget them?

Debbie Pribell

Subject: New Dawn Redwood

We have a few new dawn redwood trees on our property...they grow large and fast...one has "galls" on it and drop "sap" on our vehicles all the time...is there a way to fix whatever is causing the galls and sap?

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.