21 Trees You Don’t Want To Plant In Your Yard

There are several important aspects you must take into account before planting them in your yard.

Curb appeal is certainly very important for every home. Choosing the right trees to plant in your yard is not difficult, it takes some time and research.

Unfortunately, many homeowners only take into account a tree’s ability to provide shade and coolness during the hot summer months. However, there are other essential aspects to consider.

Some trees have very deep and strong roots that can slowly damage the foundation of your house. Others can grow sky-high and pose a serious risk at a certain point in the future.

Others have weak wood or are known to attract various diseases and pests. Having said that, below you will find 21 of the worst trees to plant. Trees known for their rather undesirable qualities, and why you should steer clear of them.



One of the trees you should avoid having in your backyard is certainly cottonwood.

Many homeowners prefer cottonwood over various other plants, given its aesthetically pleasant appearance and its low maintenance. However, the cottonwood has a very shallow and soft root system. Its wood is prone to rotting, making it very unstable during severe storms.

Aside from the fact that the tree itself is fairly brittle, it can also be damaged by insects and diseases, which makes it even more exposed to the elements.

The last thing you want or need to experience is a cottonwood tree falling on or over your roof, garage or car, after last night’s storm!

Bradford Pear


Many homeowners and professional gardeners regard the Bradford pear tree as a rather exotic one – and for a good reason, given the fact that it was imported little over a century ago.

The Bradford pear quickly become very popular in the United States. It is very durable and requires little to no long-term maintenance. The tree was particularly popular around the 1960s, but it was primarily planted in urban settings, as opposed to residential developments.

The reason why you should never plant the Bradford Pear tree in your backyard is because the characteristic pyramidal shape of the tree makes it very fragile.

Its branches tend to break during storms or strong winds – just like the cottonwood.

Even though you might be tempted to think that regular pruning may address the problem… it does not.

Apart from the branches, the tree is also known for producing white flowers that have a very pungent odor. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to this tree!

Mimosa Tree


Like the cottonwood, the mimosa tree is also known for its extremely frail wood that does not make it a particularly reliable tree.

This tree is known to attract webworm, and aside from the fact that it is a soft plant with branches that are prone to breakage, the mimosa is also known to produce large seeds that germinate very quickly.

In other words, you will be left with a whole “plantation” of mimosa trees before you even know it, if you are not careful enough!

Mulberry Tree


While some trees are known for their soft woods and weak root system, the Mulberry tree is radically different. The reason to avoid planting this in your backyard, however, is because it is known to produce impressive amounts of pollen. In turn, this attracts numerous insects… and silkworms in particular.

The Mulberry tree is one of the best choices if you want some extra shade during the summer but, at the same time, think about all the insects that will be roaming freely around your house!

Chinese Tallow


Commonly known as the Popcorn tree, given the appearance of its flowers. The Chinese Tallow stands out through its broad leaves that are known to provide great shade, as well as to turn bright colors during the autumn.

However, the Chinese Tallow ranks as one of the most invasive species of trees you can plant in your backyard. Given the fact it can reach up to 30 feet in width and 40 feet in height… think about how massive the roots of this tree will grow, in a couple of decades!

Norway Maple


As the name suggests, the Norway Maple is not indigenous to the United States, but it is actually one of the most versatile varieties of maple, as it can adapt fairly easily.

It is known to offer great shade but, at the same time, it kills any other plant or shrub that tries to thrive around it.

Not only does the dense shade prevent other plants from getting the sunlight they so much need, but the fibrous roots of the Norway Maple are quite “greedy”, as they absorb all the nutrients from the soil before any other plant gets the chance to.



Eucalyptus extract is used in a variety of ointments and treatments nowadays, and the strong scent of this tree appeals to most people.

However, if you have decided to plant it anywhere near your home, you might want to reconsider.

The Eucalyptus tree is known to be one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Besides this, it does require lots of maintenance!

Quaking Aspen


The quaking aspen is one of the most durable and versatile types of trees you can opt for. As with many trees you could plant… the problem is with the tree’s root system.

This tree can turn out to be very “thirsty” for nutrients – so thirsty that it can end up weighing tons! Imagine having to care for that kind of tree in your backyard.

Weeping Willow


Also known as the Golden Weeping Willow, this tree stands out through its very long and slender branches that make it look as if it is crying (thus the name of the tree).

As beautiful and appealing as the Weeping Willow might be at first sight, its roots are ready to suck out all the water from the soil.

This is particularly dangerous if you plan to grow anything else aside from the willow, nearby.

Besides, you should know that the average height of the weeping willow typically ranges between 75 and as much as 100 feet.

Linden (Tillia)

Tall growing deciduous tree reaching a height of about 60 feet.

Attracts aphids, secreted sap from the tree gets all over cars and driveway making for a sticky mess.

Empress Tree

As majestic as this tree may sound, the Empress Tree (also known as the Royal Empress Tree) is a plant native to China and it stands out from the rest of the trees through its fragrant flowers.

Although this tree grows to a reasonable height and it rarely exceeds 30 feet tall, it is rather weak and it does not cope very well with storms.

Think twice before planting it, especially if you live in an area where the climate is unpredictable.

Lombardy Poplar


Once popular and a favorite tree to plant due it’s distinctive columnar shape and speedy growth. It has fallen out of favor.

They have lots of bugs and diseases that make them look ugly and their root systems are difficult to control and eradicate.



As sweet as it may sound, the sweetgum tree has ridiculously large surface roots.

The root system that can – and will – take their toll not only on your home’s foundation, but also on your lawn, pool, patio and any other structure nearby.

Besides, it produces some awkward fruits that are quite difficult to remove from the ground.

Ginkgo Biloba – Female Tree


The Ginkgo Biloba tree has been used for thousands of years in the traditional Chinese medicine. It is known for its therapeutic properties – however, this does not mean that you should start planting it in your backyard.

As a matter of fact, these trees can grow to as much as 80 feet in height, and the problem is with the Ginkgo Biloba fruit. They tend to be very messy once they fall on the ground, driveway or patio.

Nonetheless, it must be mentioned that this only seems to happen with the female Ginkgo Biloba tree – the male tree is fine and can be grown in your backyard, if you wish to.

Russian Olive


The Russian Olive certainly has a very distinctive look, it also ranks as one of the most invasive species you can possibly find.

It crowds out other surrounding plants, stealing all their water and nutrients.

Black Walnut


The Black Walnut is yet another tree that you should never plant in your backyard. Mainly because it produces dangerous toxins that kill any other vegetable, flower or landscaping plant nearby.

Besides, just like it happens with the female Ginkgo Biloba tree, the Black Walnut tree’s fruits are also very difficult to clean, once they hit the ground.

White Pine

Although the white pine does not reach staggering heights like other trees, the problem is that this tree is actually extremely sensitive and it requires a lot of maintenance in the long run.

It is not a great choice for cold climates, as it can quickly suffer injuries due to the winter burn or ice damage.

Besides, the white pine is also known to attract all sorts of pests, ranging all the way from the sapsuckers to bagworms, therefore you should ask yourself whether this tree is truly worth the effort!

White Birch


There are numerous different types of birch you can opt for, and they certainly add a great luxurious touch to your backyard.

The problem with white birch is that it cannot thrive in hot and dry climates, and it is also susceptible to a notorious tree killer known as the bronze birch borer.

Moreover, the white birch has a very shallow root system that makes it rather unstable and dangerous to grow anywhere near your home.



The ash tree is known as one of the sturdiest and most durable trees you can come across. The problem is… often when it comes under attack – the emerald ash borer is the ash tree’s biggest enemy, as this small beetle can easily destroy it.

Leyland Cypress


The Leyland Cypress is a very special type of tree, as it grows very fast and it does not require too much maintenance either – overall. It is safe to say the Leyland Cypress is fairly hassle-free.

Nonetheless, these trees often get uprooted during storms and severe winds, even if they are tens of years old, which makes them dangerous to grow around houses.

Silver Maple


The Silver Maple is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and majestic trees out there. Not only does it offer great shade during winter, grows quickly, but it is also very easy to trim and prune.

Once again, the problem is with this tree’s brittle and rather weak wood. In spite of its strong root system (that can often crack walkways or driveways).

Silver maple is one of the most popular types of trees, as it is planted all across the United States, primarily in urban areas.

Inexpensive, easy to establish and low-maintenance, the Silver Maple has quickly become one of homeowners’ favorites.

But you must know that this tree’s roots have become its worst enemy. The largest Silver Maple in the United States of America measures more than 110 feet tall and it has a circumference of over 340 inches.

Do you really want one of these around your house?

Honey Locust


Last, but not least, another tree that you should really stay away from is the Honey Locust.

This deciduous tree with an average height of about 70 feet has a very distinctive leaf structure.

The biggest problem with this tree is that it is often attacked by the honeylocust bugs in late spring.



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