There are over 60,000 species of trees known to exist in the world.
Geez. That’s amazing, but a little overwhelming if you’re trying to narrow down which yard trees you should include in your backyard landscaping.
One way to zero in on your ideal yard trees is to eliminate the ones you definitely don’t want.
In this list, we’ll explore seven of the worst trees to plant in your yard, ranging from the problems caused by trees with shallow roots to the flowering trees that will stink up your neighborhood.
7 Yard Trees That Aren’t Worth the Trouble
There are a number of factors to take into consideration when choosing the right landscaping trees for your backyard. Depending on the climate, layout, and your desired purposes, you’ll want to find trees that suit your particular needs.
While it is important to take care of your yard trees and give them the TLC they deserve, there are some you should simply steer clear of because they’re more hassle than it’s worth.
1. Weeping Willow
No one can blame you for wanting to enjoy the sight of this gorgeous tree by having one in your own yard. Unfortunately, it’s one of the worst trees you could plant in your backyard.
This beautiful tree is fast-growing can grow up to 10 feet per year. The flip side is that they don’t live very long, only 20 to 30 years.
In the meantime, their thirsty, fibrous root system can wreak havoc on underground lines and sewage pipes. If you do decide to plant a weeping willow in your yard, keep it far, far away from your driveway, sidewalk, foundation, septic system, and your pool (and your neighbor’s.)
There are also several fungal diseases that the weeping willow can fall prey to, leading to defoliation or death.
2. Silver Maple
Not to be confused with the sugar maples most maple syrup is produced from, silver maples are not ideal yard trees.
Native to southeastern Canada and the eastern and central US, the silver maple is one of the most common trees in the US.
Widely planted as a landscaping and street tree after World War II because it grows quickly and is a great shade tree, the silver maple is losing favor due to its many drawbacks.
Trees with shallow root systems, like the silver maple, can crack sidewalks, driveways, and foundations and invade old drain pipes or septic fields.
Additionally, it’s fast-growing nature leads it to have brittle wood, which at best creates messy tree droppings and at worst could be dangerous or cause damage to your property.
3. Female Ginkgo
The female form of this aesthetically pleasing tree is unfortunately not one of the trees to plant in your yard.
Native to China, ginkgo has been used as a food source and as a part of traditional medicine for centuries. It is a dioecious tree, meaning the sexes grow separately.
The seed that grows on the female Ginkgo contains butyric acid, which is said to smell like vomit or rancid butter once it’s fallen. These seeds also tend to make messy tree droppings. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the atmosphere I’m looking for in my yard!
Luckily, you can still enjoy the beauty of the ginkgo tree, just be sure to only plant a male ginkgo tree in your yard.
4. Bradford Pear
This variety of the Callery pear is particularly susceptible to storm damage, with ice storms, heavy snow, or strong winds easily disfiguring or killing them. Prone to cracking and splitting, the rapid growth rate of this tree often leads the Bradford pear to lose its limbs.
If that wasn’t enough to dissuade you, during the flowering season your yard will be filled with a foul, fish-like odor. Flowering trees are beautiful but hard to appreciate when you’re subjected to a deeply unpleasant smell.
5. Black Walnut
Native to North America, this deciduous tree grows largely in riparian zones.
Why is this one of the worst trees to plant in your yard?
Black walnuts are allelopathic, which means they release chemicals that are harmful to some other organisms. While this gives the tree a competitive advantage, it could cause real harm to your grass and any vegetable or flower gardens you may have.
On top of that, the nuts can create a mess when they drop all over your yard.
6. White Pine
These trees with deep root systems will drop a sticky pitch that can stain clothing and car surfaces. Not only is it messy, but the pine needles that cover your yard will increase the acidity of the surrounding soil, affecting the ability of other plants to grow.
With heavy snow and ice storms, the brittle, evergreen branches of white pines can fall on driveways, houses, and electrical wires.
It’s also susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, such as the white pine weevil and white pine blister rust.
7. Quaking Aspen
Native to the cooler climates in North America, planting quaking aspen in your yard can quickly get out of hand. This is because aspen trees form large clonal groves by propagating through its roots.
While the quaking aspen is a lovely sight to behold, there’s a reason you see them in large, beautiful groves. Unless you want your yard to turn into a forest, this is one of the worst trees to plant in your yard.
Do Your Research Before Planting Yard Trees
There are many beautiful, pleasant smelling, non-trouble-making trees you can plant as yard trees. The key is to do your research and make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for a future headache, whether it’s in the form of property damage, messy tree droppings, or unpleasant and repulsive smells.
Did you find this article on the worst trees for your yard helpful? Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more useful info on trees and tree care or contact us for any questions you have about tree removal or for 24/7 emergency removal.