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The Worst Trees to Plant in Portland

Tree planting is a terrific way to add nature to your landscaping project and provide a long-term result with short-term effort. But, not all trees are created equal, so it isn’t simply a matter of heading to a nursery, grabbing a few that sound good or look good, and then digging the dirt and plopping it in.

Trees are our source of oxygen and keep the air clean, so it is usually always a good idea to plan a tree or three. Just do your homework ahead of time by consulting a Portland tree service so you get the best results.

The Worst Trees to Plant in PortlandLocation Matters

Depending on where you live, deciding on a type of tree often requires some research and consideration before heading to the nursery. Picking the wrong tree can be costly down the road and cause more harm than good if bugs, disease, and even untimely removal of the tree occur. A few minutes spent online or talking with someone at a Portland tree service company can save you trouble. Find out what trees are native to Portland and Oregon, and which ones will have more promise with planting than others.

To ensure the best results, it is advisable to have a professional plant the tree(s) for you and someone at Portland tree service can come out and make sure the job gets done right. Many times when people who aren’t familiar with how to properly plant a tree for maximum success (the tree taking to the ground and adapting to its new environment), they end up doing the job improperly and the results often mean a tree that eventually dies because the root system didn’t take hold.

Trees aren’t cheap to buy, so protect your investment and get professional help. Ask someone to come out and assess the area, the soil, and location, and make recommendations before you choose which tree to plant.

Location matters: location meaning the city and state you’re in and what trees work best in that environment, and the location as in where on the property you want to plant the tree. The wrong location can stress the tree and lay way for potential bugs and disease or not provide enough room to grow or sun to flourish. Consider these variables and you will ensure better success for tree survival.

Trees to Avoid Planting in Portland

The City of Portland has a handy list on its website that outlines Nuisance Plants and Native Plants lists. This list is kept updated and is certainly a reliable resource for which trees to plant and not plant in the area. The list is comprehensive and detailed; a good checklist to reference when making a tree purchasing decision.

The plants listed on the Nuisance Plants List are prohibited from being planted within the Environmental Overlay Zone, Greenway Overlay Zone, and the Pleasant Valley Natural Resources Overlay Zone. Also, note that species on the Nuisance Plant List can’t be planted as street trees.

Even if you do not live in this regions, these trees made the list for a reason, so it’s a great starting point when deciding which tree is best for your landscape.

Here are just a few that are among the worst trees to plant if you live in or around the Portland area.

Ash. Part of the olive and lilac genus of flowering plants, Ash is considered a problematic species. The trees tend to grow medium to large. However, even though considered a troublesome tree to grow in Portland, the City of Portland’s Native Tree List does indicate that Oregon Ash (Fraxinus latifolia) is a tree that is adaptable to the city’s environment.

This is a great example of why it is a good idea to speak to a Portland tree service expert to see what’s recommended. These professionals know why it may not be a good idea, or why it could work out well for you. At any rate, it deserves a conversation.

Bradford Pear. This tree is noted to have poor branch structure, growing far too many branches at weak or narrow angles. The branches have a tendency to split as the tree reaches full maturity. If you have your heart set on a Bradford Pear, it’s best to plan for Portland tree services, so the development of proper structure can be ensured through pruning, at the very least.

Leyland Cypress. The Cypress is a very fast-growing tree, and opinions are not equally shared about this tree. That being said, the downsides are clear: the Leyland Cypress requires a tremendous amount of trimming and care.

More to the point, they can be fire hazards. Before planting this tree, check with a tree service expert to make sure it fits with the environment you have in mind. In areas with short growing seasons, such as Bend, the Leyland Cypress could be an okay choice as long as the right spot is chosen.

Siberian Elm. The Siberian Elm is a truly horrible tree to plant and have in your vicinity. It is known to be an invasive plant, crowding out surrounding pastures and land. It grows very rapidly too. It’s a hazard for wild animals and livestock because of the dense thickets that it forms, displacing native vegetation these animals forage. The tree is susceptible to diseases and has a brittle wood structure. Overall, this Elm is problematic and should be avoided.

Silver Maple. The Silver Maple grows quickly and has an aggressive root structure that can cause sidewalks to buckle and drains to clog. The wood is weak and susceptible to breaking. Best used for firewood.

Sycamore. The sycamore is a massive tree that is simply too big and oversized for any kind of city use. They are messy trees, requiring a lot of grounds keeping, and are susceptible to many diseases and fungus.

Willows. Willows have invasive roots which make these trees a lot of work to keep properly maintained. They are romantic trees, but they are not recommended for Portland yards. If you really want one, there are three types of willow okayed by the city of Portland: Scouler Willow (Salix scouleriana); Pacific Willow (Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra); and Rigid Willow (Salix rigida var. macrogemma).