Trees that tend to fit this description include:
While a weed tree is not a species of tree, many unwanted tree seedlings fall into a handful of species. These are types of trees with high seed germination rates, fast growing trees that colonize quickly and choke out the slower-growing species. They are usually not native trees in the area.
What is a weed tree? If you buy the idea that a weed is simply a plant growing where it isn’t wanted, you can guess what a weed tree is. Weed trees are volunteer trees the gardener doesn’t want – unwelcome houseguests who arrive without invitations. What should you do when you find young trees you didn’t plant springing up in your backyard? Read on to find out your options including tips on how to get rid of volunteer trees.
About Unwanted Tree Seedlings
Some other “weed trees” may get planted by squirrels, such as with oak trees. Squirrels will often stow away acorns from the tree in various parts of the landscape for later. And occasionally fallen acorns that are missed by birds or squirrels will germinate.
Weed trees are not a special kind of tree. They are unwanted tree seedlings that grow in your yard, young trees that you didn’t plant and don’t want.
What is a Weed Tree?
If that moment has passed and the unwanted seedling is already well-rooted, you’ll need to try other techniques. You can cut down the tree and paint the stump with full strength weed killer or regular paint to kill it. Keep in mind, though, that the toxicity from the use of chemicals may spread to other areas of your garden, killing other plants or making the ground infertile.
The status of “weed tree” is determined by the gardener. If you are thrilled to find the seedlings, they are not weed trees at all but volunteer trees. If you are not thrilled and want to get rid of volunteer trees, they qualify as weed trees.
That’s still not all: Tree-of-heaven also is among the fastest-growing trees. At 3 to 5 feet per year, it can quickly outstrip competitors, whether they are cultivated plants or weeds. It also tolerates adversity. This is “a tree that grows in Brooklyn,” thriving despite heat, cold, alkaline or acidic soil, wet or dry soil, even infertile soil and polluted air, just as Francie, in Betty Smith’s 1943 novel, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” thrived under less-than-ideal conditions.
Another reason tree-of-heaven is snubbed as a weed: Cut it down and it won’t go away. New sprouts enthusiastically pop up from the cut stump, even after years of re-cutting. What’s more, the spreading roots send up sprouts that eventually can grow into full-size trees at some distance from the mother plants. “Full-size” for tree-of-heaven means 40 to 60 feet or more.
Is it thumbs up or thumbs down for tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), now standing out among the general greenery for the mops of yellowish or orangeish seeds capping its stout branches?
Given tree-of-heaven’s ability to seed and grow, it’s no wonder that it’s famous for popping up in cracks in pavement and along abandoned railroad tracks, as well as in the woods. The plant is native to China, but has been hopscotching around the eastern U.S. since 1784, when a Philadelphia gardener introduced it by way of England. In the 18th century, tree-of-heaven was often planted as a street tree in urban areas; that legacy survives, as weeds.
With compound leaves and coarse, chubby limbs, this tree could have been mistaken for staghorn sumac or black walnut earlier in the season, before the seeds became prominent. (The peanut-y aroma of crushed tree-of-heaven leaves or stems easily distinguishes this tree from the others any time of year.) And those seedheads are one of the problems with tree-of-heaven: It is extremely fecund, each tree potentially casting over 300,000 seeds to the wind.
Despite tree-of-heaven’s weedy nature, we can’t write it off as just another weed; if nothing else, it has some practical uses. Those Chinese immigrants used it as a medicine and insect repellent. It also has been used to re-vegetate mine spoils, where soils are very acidic.
The plant’s short lifespan, rarely more than 50 years, does nothing to diminish its weediness. Those roots sprouts stand ready and waiting to replace any old top growth in decline.
The berries are usually immature when white, although ripen into shades of purple and pink. You may often see these scattered across the ground on sidewalks in the summer. Birds are the main way these seeds spread.
It is a very invasive plant species and successful at taking over natural garden areas. Furthermore, the roots are aggressive and can cause damage to buildings if nearby.
The tree gets its name from the small white buds. The orange-brown bark can recognize it, and the edible mulberries it produces.
How Do I Get Rid of Small Trees in My Yard?
While they can be the sprouts of a tree, they are considered a weed as they are growing in an area, they are not desired or planned. (Read 5 Weeds That Look Like Flowers)
It doesn’t take too much time for the toxins from the herbicide to reach roots in the ground and kill the plant.
Let the large, stubborn unwanted seedling tree grow if you can’t deal with it. Once it becomes established, and leaves are growing. Using garden shears, cut the stem around two inches in size, above ground level as the plant is actively growing from late May to early September.
Here you can find 4 of the most common varieties of weed trees you can come across in your garden.
Maples in Norway are attractive trees rising to over 65 feet high, but, will shade plants below with wide, dense, rounded canopies.