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Trees to Avoid Planting in Your Garden and Why


Your garden and most specifically your trees can add a lot of beauty and value to your home. They help the environment, can look beautiful, provide shade, be a haven for wildlife and some can flower seasonally. Some, however, can be proverbial pain. They can require a lot of care and maintenance and even be a hazard so let’s look at some trees to avoid planting in your garden.

Why Some Trees Are Bad

Planting a tree in haste (like almost anything) is always a bad idea. What’s good for public gardens may not be such a great idea for you. Always research before you plant to avoid any of the following issues:

  • Leaves a mess
  • Vulnerable to pests and diseases
  • Brittle and prone to damage
  • Roots have high water-seeking tendencies
  • Has dense shade
  • The species can cause allergies
  • Affects the soil

Trees to Avoid and Why

Siberian Elm – A fast growing and aggressive tree that is messy, seeds itself all over the place and isn’t even considered attractive. It’s also weak and prone to storm and ice damage.

Tree of Heaven – This is an imported pest that’s messy, invasive, seeds itself everywhere and worse leaches a chemical that kills competing vegetation making plants nearby difficult to grow.

Silver Maple – The least attractive of all the maple family. It’s a fast grower that tends to develop multiple trunks, weak (especially when older) and messy and shallow rooted. Seeds everywhere, inferior to the Sugar, Black and Japanese varieties.

Weeping Willow – Whilst this is a beautiful tree near water, it’s generally too big and messy for average properties. Its roots constantly seek out water so can cause problems near septic tanks and sewer pipes. Unless you have a stream or lake it’s best to avoid.

Mulberry – Another messy tree, but worse as its fruit stains everything it touches. In the wild it’s lovely, when staining your car, patio, walkway, pool, shade sails or drive etc, it becomes less lovely.

Ginko – Males are fine as they grow slowly and have a good shape and lovely autumn foliage. Females bear fruit and when they drop they start to smell like vomit when they rot. Enough reason?

Ash – One of the most common trees. Ash’s are tough, fast growing and have beautiful autumn colours. The emerald ash beetle however is killing the population so it will need inoculating every 2 years or so at a cost.

Norway Maple – This is a pretty tree but it self seeds everywhere, creates dense shade making with shallow roots making it nearly impossible to grow anything under it. Any landscaping is also difficult around it.

Leyland Cypress – This evergreen grows impressively fast adits dense foliage is great for privacy. But soon it becomes too big for most homes and is also susceptible to wind damage, disease and drought.

For better advice on what to plant in your garden why not contact your local arborist?