What are Weed Trees and Should I Removed Them?

Kleber C's Danbury Tree Service are nerds when it comes to trees.  We always try and educate homeowners in Norwalk about the dangers of invasive tree species growing in yards all over the state.  Our Connecticut Tree Service is one of many that keeps an eye out for weed trees such as the Black Locust or Norway Maple.

Weed trees are trees that have sprung up in places that you didn’t plant them, and don’t want to keep them.  If they spring up and you like their location, the terminology changes to calling them a volunteer tree.

One problem with weed trees is that their seed germination is high.  They not only grow quickly, they can also take over an area in a short period of time.

Another issue is that many of the weed trees are planted as an ornament tree, and they are hard to kill.  If you like the species, and it happens to grow somewhere you like, you can keep it.  But for those who don’t want one, the problem is that your neighbor may have one, and the seeds make their way to your property.

A few well known species of weed trees are Black Locust, Norway Maple, White Mulberry and Tree of Heaven.  See www.ctwoodlands.org for more their CRPA Invasive Plants Common in CT Brochure.  Keep them if you will, but remember that they will take over an area if you don’t address the extra growths quickly.


You can identify a weed tree by three simple indicators.

Check the plant’s base.

  1. Is the stem green and thick?  A regular tree has a wood stem most of the time.
  2. Where are the leaves?  Small trees usually have leaves that are the same as that of a full grown tree of the same species.  They are usually on the ends of the branches.  The leaves on a week grow on the main stem and fan out.
  3. Where is the tree located?  Does the tree stand out from the rest, as if it is out of place?  Because seeds of weed trees are carried by the wind, birds, etc., they often spring up in places they don’t belong.  Regular trees usually grow around trees similar to their own kind.

Ridding Your Property of Weed Trees

The sooner you spot a weed tree growing on your lawn or in your flower gardens, the easier they will be to remove.  The more the tree grows, the stronger it becomes.  Remember that they are also fast growing.  Ideally, pulling the weed out while it is small and young is the best method for this problem.

However, if you discover that you have one of these hardy plants after it has grown and gained strength, pulling will be too difficult and you will need  to choose another option to rid your lawn of the undesired tree.

You can use paint.  You can cut off the overhanging section of the tree and apply paint to what is still in the ground.  It will cause the rest to die.

Bark peeling is a slow process but will eventually take care of the problem.  When you peel away the bark from the weed, you are cutting off the flow of nutrients.

Chemicals are another way to remove weed trees.  You can purchase something made specifically for killing the unwanted weeds.  Keep in mind that with chemicals, you may also harm the surrounding plants.  New plants also might not be able to grow in that area.

One other option is to use chains and a truck.  Avoid this method if the weed tree is growing close to the foundation of your home.  Otherwise, the chains with the power of a truck behind it can pull the weeds out completely, roots and all.

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