With fall planting time right around the corner, I think it would be a good time to talk about trees you should AVOID planting…
The only hard and fast rules in regards to trees are there are no hard and fast rules!
You may find a tree that you think is the bees’ knees on this list, and plant it anyway. Just remember, I told you so :)
The top offenders, in no particular order are:
Leyland Cypress: great parents, but wretched offspring at best (you can do better)
White Birch: yes, they are beautiful, and right when you get attached to them, they croak
Raywood Ash: for every good one around there are a THOUSAND bad ones. Avoid ‘em like the plague!
Modesto Ash: I don’t think plant nurseries even offer them for sale anymore
London Plane: the wet springs we get in the valley make a fungal petri dish out of the terminal end of the branches, disfiguring them year after year
Siberian Elm: fast growing, bank account vampires that will suck you dry, as the maintenance schedule is about 2-3 years apart!
Italian Cypress: the good genetics are long gone with this species, and the new generation has some pretty funky growth habits
Boxelders: hard to find a good one, and difficult to keep in good health, even when you do find a good one
Southern Magnolia: wet snow makes them implode, and end-weight reduction pruning makes them look ghastly
Liquidambar: With the exception of “formosana” and “rotundaloba” which are sterile, expect to have a good deal of work done on these, throughout the tree’s (and your) life
Quaking Aspen: unless your planting site is at least 5500’ elevation and snowy in the winter, you are asking for heartbreak, they just don’t like the lower valley elevations
Lombardy Poplar: actually, this one should have been closer to the top of this list… these trees are the king of time bombs and extremely expensive to have removed when they are long dead
Eastern Redbud: there are a few varieties that I really like; they just don’t like me…
Red Maples: I know this one will ruffle a few feathers and there are some really spectacular varieties and specimens around, but unless you really know what to look for in a young tree, steer clear
This should give you a good start towards your “trees to avoid” list, and if you do choose to plant any of the aforementioned trees, remember, the best place to plant would be your ex’s house! More to follow…