Home Tree Care Weed Trees: Identification and Removal Guide for a Pristine Yard

Weed Trees: Identification and Removal Guide for a Pristine Yard

by Gregory
4 minutes read

What is a Weed Tree?

If you think of a weed as a plant that grows where it’s not wanted, then a weed tree is simply a tree that you don’t want in your yard. These are trees that pop up without your invitation, like unwelcome guests. So, what do you do when you find young trees sprouting in your backyard that you didn’t plant? Keep reading to discover your options, including tips on how to get rid of these unwanted trees.

What are Weed Trees?

Weed trees aren’t a specific type of tree, but rather unwanted tree seedlings that grow in your yard. They’re young trees that you didn’t plant and don’t want. Whether a tree is considered a weed or not depends on the gardener’s perspective. If you’re happy to have the seedlings, they’re not weed trees at all, but volunteer trees. But if you’re not thrilled and want to get rid of them, they qualify as weed trees.

About Unwanted Tree Seedlings

While weed trees aren’t a specific species, many unwanted tree seedlings belong to a few common types. These are trees that produce a lot of seeds that germinate easily, allowing them to spread quickly and overtake slower-growing species. They’re often non-native to the area. Some examples of trees that tend to fit this description include:

  • Norway maple: These trees produce many winged seeds that can spread far and wide.
  • Black locust: Black locust trees self-seed easily and can become invasive.
  • Tree of heaven: A native of China, this tree multiplies by root suckers.
  • White mulberry: Also from China, white mulberry trees have edible berries that birds spread around, leading to new seedlings.

Squirrels can also contribute to the spread of weed trees, especially oak trees. Squirrels often bury acorns in different parts of your yard for later, and sometimes these acorns germinate and grow into unwanted trees.

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Trees

Once you’ve decided that a volunteer tree is a weed tree, act quickly to remove it from the ground. The sooner you pull out the seedling and its roots, the easier it will be, especially if you water the area first to soften the soil. The key is to remove the entire root system so that the tree won’t grow back.

If the seedling has already become well-rooted, you’ll need to try other methods. You can cut down the tree and paint the stump with full-strength weed killer or even regular paint to kill it. However, keep in mind that the chemicals used in weed killers can spread to other areas of your garden, harming other plants or making the soil infertile.

Another option is to girdle the weed tree. This involves cutting a one-inch or wider strip of bark off around the trunk, deep enough to reach the hard center. This will slowly kill the tree over a period of a year or two and reduce the chances of it producing suckers.

Tips for Removing Weed Trees

  • Remove weed trees as soon as possible, especially when they’re still seedlings, to prevent them from becoming established and more difficult to remove.
  • Water the area around the tree before removing it to soften the soil and make it easier to pull out the roots.
  • If the tree is too large to pull out by hand, use a shovel or axe to cut it down.
  • Be sure to remove all of the roots to prevent the tree from growing back.
  • If you’re using weed killer, follow the instructions carefully and take precautions to avoid harming other plants or the environment.
  • Girdling is a less harmful method than using weed killer, but it takes longer for the tree to die.

By following these tips, you can effectively get rid of weed trees and keep your yard looking its best.

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