Backyard Silver Maple by Kirk Fannelly; 2017
Courtesy of the artist
OK, OK, enough of Bradford pear trees being a threat to society and good landscaping.
We all know, or should, that they’re so bad that the state of South Carolina will give you another species of tree if you cut down your own. Then they were banned by the legislature.
They were nemesis #1 of Roger Milliken, the Spartanburg textile magnate who loved trees he considered “noble” so much that he hosted an annual dinner in their celebration.
He also wrote a book called Noble Trees.
But did you know that there are many other trees that arborists and tree lovers don’t like?
Here’s a list compiled from various sources including Southern Living, which picked seven, Gardening Channel, 25, and Mr. Tree Services, six.
Many are on all three must-avoid lists.
Suffice it to say that the trees listed here display one or more of these traits: weedy, disease prone, untidy, have invasive roots, and in the case of the Bradford pear, they are stinky.
1. Mimosa – fluffy pink flowers last for two weeks. “Then they’re replaced by tons of these big, ugly brown seedpods that just hang there until next spring,” wrote Steve Bender, Southern Living’s grumpy gardener. “For two weeks of beauty there are 50 gross weeks.
2. White Mulberry – Birds love the berries. Enough said.
3. Hackberry – Aphids love the leaves so much they shed sticky stuff, and that’s just gross.
4. Eastern Cottonwood – Bender says he can’t think of a messier tree.
5. Silver Maple – Roots get caught in water pipes and tear up sidewalks.
6. Female Ginkgo – Smelly fruits are everywhere. Nausea. Get the male strain, says Mr. Tree Services.
7. Siberian Elm – “Spreads aggressively,” according to Mr. Tree, is attacked by pests and cracks in rain and ice storms.
8. Sycamore – They grow too tall for residential neighborhoods, and once pests establish themselves, they pose a threat.
9. Say it’s not, but the Gardening Channel says no to weeping willows. They’re prone to fungus and you’ve seen them be just as messy as a teenager.
10. White Pine – Messy juice drips.
11. Leyland Cypress – Known to be a great fast growing tree that can keep your neighbors away from your business, they can get sick and its shallow roots can cause the tree to fall.
12. Sweetgum – Have you ever seen their prickly seed pods? Messy and painful if you tend to walk barefoot in the garden.