The Four Worst Trees To Plant In Your Garden

If you are thinking of planting any of these trees in your garden, think again! These are the worst trees to plant close to your house in a Brisbane (or any Australian) garden.

1. Eucalyptus tree (gum tree)

Eucalyptus has many varying types, differing in height, shape, and colour, but they all have similar characteristics that make them unsuitable for planting near a home on your property:

  • This species of tree can grow quite large, and both root system and canopy will pose possible issues.  
  • Eucalyptus trees' root systems can be quite aggressive and far-reaching, and it is common for retaining walls or building foundations to be disturbed by searching roots. Roots can travel dozens metres, and further than their dripline.
  • Branches are likely to die off but not fall straight away. This leaves dangerous objects that may damage a person or property during storms or times of strong wind. Often eucalyptus branches can just become weak and fall to the ground without any external help.
  • Often, single large gum tree specimens are lone survivors of development. Where once they were a part of a larger stand of trees, naturally designed to withstand strong wind and storms, now alone and possibly structurally weak.
  • It is vital to have a qualified arborist to maintain your tree at least every two years to remove dead branches and check the structural integrity of the tree for safety.

 
2. Ficus species (fig tree)

Ficus plants are common as house ornament specimens in pots, and as neat topiary ‘lollipop’ shapes by the front door. They have lush green leaves and straight white trunks - they really are a beautiful plant. But as most potted plants go, once neglected they are thrown out to the yard where the roots break through the pot to the ground. Sometimes they are planted neatly in the ground, and maintained as a topiary.

  • These are rainforest giants that will grow 20-30 metres tall and wide. It is not a tree for a suburban yard.
  • The root system is very aggressive and strong and will easily knock down a masonry retaining wall. Even root barriers will struggle with this species.

 
3. Palms

Palms are beautiful plants in a domestic situation while young. The fronds are visible and can create a tropical oasis feeling in the yard or next to the pool. As they get older however, the problems begin:

  • Palm canopies grow higher and higher, until all you can see is a ‘telephone pole’ in the garden.
  • Palm fronds can be large, and falling down on windy days are disturbing and messy.
  • Some species of plam tree produce dates or fruit, that either attract annoying wildlife (screeching bats) or create a mess around the pool or in the pool (clogging filter systems).
  • If planted too close, the expanding trunk and roots of a palm tree will lift pavers and have been known to damage retaining walls.

 
4. Deciduous trees

Frangipani trees, Pink Trumpet trees, Golden Rain trees, Flame trees, Liquid Amber trees and other deciduous trees are wonderful features in the garden and can provide a spectacle in the turning of the seasons. Be careful of where these are planted though:

  • Dropping leaves can clog gutters and cause continuing damage if not cleaned out regularly.
  • Leaves on shady, wet paths can also cause injury to pedestrians if not frequently removed.

If you're even thinking of planting any of these trees, call me to chat about your landscape design. Head back here next week to find out the four best trees to plant! (If you forget, why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn).

Photo credits: 1: Averain, 2: Mosman Council, 3: ishane, 4: robynejay