Planting Trees In Your Yard? What Not to Plant

Posted by Greg Geilman on Monday, October 21st, 2019 at 8:19am.

Which Trees Are Bad for Yards? What to KnowWhen Hermosa Beach homeowners plant trees on their property, they often consider the looks of the tree without giving thought to the tree's growing patterns and other characteristics. Homeowners who educate themselves about these problem trees can avoid making a decision that could cause damage and incur costly repairs. Here's what you need to know.

Weeping Willow

Weeping willows are commonly spotted growing near ponds and lakes. They tolerate water well, and prefer to have "wet feet," meaning they like to be in saturated soil. These trees have unquenchable thirst and will spread their roots far and wide looking for water. If they don't find water in the soil, they'll push their roots through main lines, sewers and even foundations in search of moisture.

Their shallow roots can also push up sidewalks and driveways, causing the concrete to crack. Weeping willows may look romantic, but for many people, they can be destructive. Repairing their damage can be costly.

Silver Maple

So named for their green leaves with silver backs, silver maples are attractive enough. Unfortunately, their fast-growing wood can be weak, they have insatiable thirst and shallow, invasive roots. Like weeping willows, silver maples are known to take over sewers and septic lines. Silver maples also break apart easily, and are not safe to plant near your home.

Bradford Pear

The Bradford Pear tree was once the favorite tree of suburban planners and landscapers across the United States. Homeowners and gardeners like the tree for its pleasing, uniform shape, its ability to grow in nearly any soil conditions, and the beauty of its blooms in early spring. Today, that same tree has a reputation for being invasive, weak-wooded and smelly when it blooms.

Bradford pears have poor branch structure, leading to their early demise. Bradford pears also spread fast and are difficult (or almost impossible) to contain. Birds eat their seeds and spread them far and wide, so that if left unchecked, these trees will take over nearby spaces.

American Sweet Gum

Sweet gums are common trees that produce beautiful foliage in the fall. They're not damaging, but they do have one rather irritating quality: they produce spikey, spiney seeds that litter the sidewalk and grass. Anyone who appreciates walking barefoot outside should avoid planting the American sweet gum on their property. Sweet gum seeds can also get in the way of bicycles and can fall on car windshields.

Plant a Tree, Do it the Right Way

If you're a homeowner who is thinking about planting a tree on your property, do research before choosing a specimen. Consider more than the looks and curb appeal of the tree: also consider factors like how large the tree grows, how fast its roots grow, how much water it needs, and other characteristics. Taking all of these factors into consideration, you'll be able to find a suitable tree for your property.

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