25 Trees You Should Avoid Planting in Your Yard, Explained

siberian elm

By Jennifer Poindexter

Are you considering planting a tree in your yard? As much information as you may find about the right trees, have you considered which trees you should avoid planting?

There are some trees which are known for being messy, invasive, or even weak. Though, oddly, these are sometimes seen as some of the favorite varieties for landscaping.

Do yourself a favor and browse this list before planting anything. This way, you can understand the good, the bad, and the ugly of your final selection.

Here are a few trees you should avoid planting in your yard:

1. Siberian Elm

The Siberian elm is a larger tree with green foliage. At first glance, you might think it would be a great fit for your landscape.

However, the downside to this tree is that it can become invasive and is also known for having weak wood. Therefore, there’s a good chance the tree will become damaged if you receive large amounts of snow or wind.

bradford pear tree broken branches
A Bradford Pear tree after a storm.

2. Bradford Pear

As a kid, we had a long driveway leading to our home. This driveway was lined with Bradford pear trees. Though it was a gorgeous site, there are downfalls to growing this tree.

To begin, Bradford pear trees stink when in bloom. The other negatives to growing these trees is they’re prone to insect infestations and broken branches.

3. Weeping Willow

Weeping willows are often thought of when creating a picturesque landscape. Therefore, it might shock you to find it on a list of trees to avoid planting.

However, this tree has a few issues you should consider prior to adding it to your yard. First, weeping willow trees are prone to fungal issues because they love damp locations. The other issue with weeping willow trees is that they’re messy as the tree regularly drops branches and leaves.

4. White Pine

Pine trees were once a favorite when landscaping yards. Now, people think twice before planting them for multiple reasons. First, white pine trees are known for being messy since they drop needles and produce sap.

Also, white pine trees have started becoming prey to illness since around 2009. Therefore, you should be prepared to deal with this should you plant this variety of tree.

5. Leyland Cypress

The Leyland cypress is a gorgeous green tree that many people use to create privacy around their home. However, these trees have issues that must be considered prior to planting.

When growing Leyland cypress trees be prepared to deal with disease. Many times this plant is grown in areas with poorly draining soil which leads to fungal issues. Also, the tree is known for its shallow and weak root system which leads to the trees easily toppling over.

6. Mimosa Tree

My parents have a mimosa tree in their yard. It blooms beautifully, but my mom detests it because of how easily it spreads.

Therefore, if you want to grow a mimosa tree, be aware of its invasive tendencies. You should also know that this tree is messy because it drops flowers, seed pods, and sap.

7. Staghorn Sumac

Staghorn sumac shouldn’t be confused with poisonous sumac. This tree isn’t going to cause you to break out into a terrible rash if you touch it, in most cases.

However, like other varieties of sumac, this tree is known for its invasive properties. Therefore, be careful where and how you plant staghorn sumac as it can easily spread and take over an area.

8. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus trees have a bad reputation in some areas. Your experience will depend upon the variety you plant as this will determine the size. If you’re considering growing a eucalyptus tree, be mindful of where you plant.

Though eucalyptus roots are deep, they sprawl. This can cause issues for things (such as drains) which exist near the tree. Also, eucalyptus trees are known as “thirsty” trees. In some cases, this is good as the trees help absorb excess water, but in some cases this is a negative effect as it will pull water from the soil that’s needed for other nearby plants.

9. Black Walnut

My yard is filled with black walnut trees. As fast as we cut them down, others appear. Why would we chop down these great shade trees? There are multiple reasons.

To start, black walnut trees are messy and the walnut husks can cause digestive issues for pets. The other reason we remove these trees is they stop other plants from growing. This tree’s roots produce a chemical which kills off any neighboring competition. If you’d like to plant a black walnut tree, be mindful before doing so.

10. Red Oak

Red oak trees are another option that many people might lean toward for landscaping purposes because they’re familiar.

However, red oak trees may not be the right option for your yard. These trees are known for struggling with insect infestations, issues with disease, and they’re messy trees.

11. Cottonwood

The cottonwood tree is one you either love for your landscaping needs or you hate. Many are attracted to it because of how quickly the tree grows.

However, this fast growth also works against it. Since the tree grows so quickly, the wood is delicate. This leads to a messy yard because of the tree dropping twigs. It also could lead to damage around your home should the tree or large branches fall in windstorms.

12. Honey Locust

The honey locust tree is another familiar option to many when landscaping their yards. Though this tree produces vibrant colors each fall, it has a few cons.

When growing a honey locust tree, you should be prepared for it to attract pests. Plus, this tree is known for making a mess during the fall when it drops its pods.

13. Linden

A linden tree is a beautiful landscaping option. As much as the simplistic beauty seems to brighten up a growing location, this tree also has a few downfalls.

The two major downfalls to this tree are its roots and that it’s messy. As the roots spread, it can wreak havoc on nearby drainage pipes, foundations, or structures. Also, as the tree drops its leaves each fall, it will cause a mess each year.

14. Chinese Tallow

The Chinese tallow tree stands out for its beautifully shaped leaves and vibrant colors. However, this plant must be handled with care as it’s considered invasive in many areas.

As you may (or may not) know, the problem with invasive species of trees is that once they’re planted, they’re hard to get rid of. You must remove every plant and seed to get it to go away for good. Plus, the fruit of the Chinese tallow tree is poisonous to both humans and some livestock.

15. Ash

Ash trees are full-bodied trees that could be used to provide shade to an area that needs it. Yet, this tree should be planted with caution.

When growing an ash tree, be mindful that it’s susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases such as fungal disease and beetles. Plus, the wood is prone to rot which could make the tree a hazard in your landscape.

16. Quaking Aspen

A quaking aspen tree might sound like a dream. This plant produces colorful foliage each fall, and it has unique wood that adds texture to your landscape all winter long.

But there’s a problem with this beautiful tree. It puts off many suckers which can become quite invasive. This can make it difficult to keep the tree under control around your property and could mean it would spread to your neighbor’s yard as well.

17. Lombardy Poplar

When you decide to introduce a tree to your yard, the idea is to pick a hardy variety. The reason being is trees are gorgeous, but they also become potentially dangerous when they’re weakened.

Therefore, the Lombardy poplar must be planted with care as it’s prone to a variety of diseases, and it attracts a plethora of pests which can weaken the tree as well.

18. White Birch

White birch trees are gorgeous, classic trees that many people love. As stated earlier, if trees have known issues, you want to know this upfront to ensure you notice early signs of developing problems.

In the case of a white birch tree, you must know these plants are prone to pests and diseases. The tree is most commonly known for having fungal issues.

19. Norway Maple

The Norway maple tree is a beautiful plant that some might assume would go well in a variety of landscapes.

However, this tree grows so quickly that it forms a problem. It has a shallow root system and a vast canopy. These two things combined make it difficult for many plants to grow around the tree.

20. Empress Tree

An empress tree produces beautiful blooms and can grow in a unique shape. If you have a large enough yard, you might think this tree would be a gorgeous addition.

Yet, there are some problems with the empress tree. The first problem is the tree produces roots quickly. In turn, this can create property damage. Next, the tree puts off a ton of shade which can make things difficult for plants around the tree. Finally, this tree is difficult to get rid of once it’s established.

21. Russian Olive

The Russian olive tree is another unique plant that produces beautiful foliage and blooms. But don’t let the beauty blind you.

In reality, Russian olive trees must be planted with great care as these trees are invasive, can threaten native plants, and are virtually impossible to remove once rooted.

22. Silver Maple

Silver maple trees are often a variety chosen to provide shade around properties. Though they’re beautiful trees, there are a few drawbacks.

When growing a silver maple tree, it’s important to recognize that this variety is known for having delicate bark and branches. This could cause hazards around your property as well as invite mess.

23. Mulberry Tree

Mulberry trees are classics because of the shade and fruits they produce. This plant is known for containing plenty of pollen which is great for inviting pollinators to your property.

However, there are cons to this tree as well. The mulberries will frequently fall to the ground and can stain clothing, patios, or decks if they land there. Also, the tree provides a little too much shade as it’s difficult for grass to even grow beneath it.

24. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba trees have many pros to planting them. However, there are a few negatives to adding this tree to your landscape.

Before planting a ginkgo tree, be mindful that the female varieties produce foul smelling fruit. Plus, the seeds are toxic to a variety of pets. If you choose to grow this tree around your home, please do so with care.

sweet gum tree

25. Sweetgum

Sweetgum trees are our last option to discuss, but they deserve the same considerations as the other trees mentioned here.

The biggest issue with sweetgum trees are their spiky seed pods. They frequently fall around the base of the tree and leave a mess in your yard. Plus, they’re painful if you accidentally step on them.

You now have twenty-five different options for trees that you might need to think twice about prior to planting.

Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons, plant your landscape as you see fit because you’re doing so with eyes wide open and research on your side.

Learn More About Planting Trees in Your Yard


honey locust tree with text overlay landscaping twenty five trees to avoid planting in your yard

The post 25 Trees You Should Avoid Planting in Your Yard, Explained appeared first on Gardening Channel.



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