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Messy Trees To Avoid Planting If You Don't Like Yard Work

As you consider which species of trees to plant in your yard, learn which common residential trees to avoid if you don't enjoy yard work. You can expect some amount of work with any tree, but some are much messier than others.


These trees are great for providing fruit for birds, but large numbers of berries fall onto the ground. You might think this would be okay in a remote part of the yard where people don't walk around, but birds carry the berries, dropping them on paved and wood surfaces, as well as vehicles.

The fruit can leave reddish stains that take some elbow grease to remove. 


The catalpa is a beautiful tree, but it sheds flowers along with long seed pods, twigs and even bark. That's in addition to the large leaves that fall off throughout the season and that blanket the lawn in autumn.

One of the worst nuisances with this tree is its appeal to a species of caterpillar-like worms. Catalpas can become infested with hundreds and even thousands of the critters. 


Trees that produce nuts tend to be messy. Think of acorns and hickory nuts falling all over the yard. The walnut tree is a particular case in point, however, because the nuts leave stains that can be difficult -- if not impossible -- to remove. It also drops leaves when the weather turns dry, in addition to the usual autumn falloff. 

One of the tree's worst features is its toxicity to many other plants. Most components contain a chemical known as juglone, which kills vegetable plants in gardens, as well as fruit bushes and flowering bushes such as lilacs. 

Box Elder

Having box elder trees means doing battle with their opportunistic suckers that pop up regularly. The tree's wood is brittle, which means the branches are susceptible to breaking during wind. In addition, the trees drop a lot of seeds.

Box elder trees attract insects that are relatively harmless. They don't cause much plant damage because they like to munch on seeds, and they don't bite people or animals. However, they are drawn to sunny home exteriors and pavement, and have a tendency to come indoors. Their worst characteristic is leaving droppings wherever they go. 

Consult the Tree Service

Ask a tree service professional like A-1 Expert Tree Service about additional trees to avoid if you don't want a lot of yard work. Then ask about trees that create the least amount of mess and that are suitable for your region's climate and your own property. You'll be able to have a lovely yard without any excessive problems with trees shedding nuts, berries, seeds, wood or bugs.