4 Trees You Should NOT Plant

The “Lost” Treasure Trees
2022 Annual Impact Report

By: Katie Gunzenhauser and Kate Bolkin

TreesCharlotte typically encourages you to grab your shovel and plant a tree, but there are a few species you’ll want to avoid before doing so. The Bradford Pear, Mimosa, Tree of Heaven, and Princess Tree are a few of the many trees that threaten the ecoregions of North Carolina.

Split Bradford Pear due to poor branch attachment

Bradford Pear (pyrus calleryana)

Also known as the “callery pear,” these trees were brought to the United States to be used as street trees, since they are fast growing, adaptable, and relatively disease-free. These trees cross-breed with our native pears, threatening the livelihood of our native trees and bees searching for pollen. The Bradford Pear also has weak branch structure that may be dangerous in high winds.

Mimosa, “silk tree” (Albizia julibrissin)

Mimosa trees have dense foliage that prevents sunlight from reaching the forest floor and threatens a wide variety of native North Carolina plants. Due to their durable nature, mimosas sprout at an overwhelming rate from their seed pods that can be carried far distances via waterways. You might even find them popping up in unwanted spaces like garden beds or sidewalk cracks. You should definitely reconsider letting one of these guys on your property!

Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus Altissima)

Another invasive tree that has wiggled its way into native landscapes is the Tree-of-heaven. Native to China, these trees reproduce quickly, kill other plants through chemical secretions, and affect human health by inducing allergies and rashes. Not to mention, their flowers are quite stinky! Let’s avoid planting them and maybe even reconsider their “heavenly” title.

Princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa)

Wow this tree can grow quickly- up to 15’ a year! Princess trees can root in all types of soil and produce seeds like crazy, which quickly limits space from native plants that are more beneficial to native wildlife. This tree is definitely not the right choice for your yard.

What should I do about a pre-existing invasive tree? 

Remove any invasive species in your yard and replant them with native ones. If you aren’t sure if you’re dealing with an invasive, there are lots of plant ID apps that can help you! For a full list of invasive plants, visit North Carolina Native Plant Society’s list of non-native species. 

You can check out the native and naturalized that TreesCharlotte plants at “How do we pick our trees?” 

Or check out a list of recommended NC native trees HERE!

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