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When it comes to landscaping and curb appeal, trees can be a wonderful addition to your yard. From a functional standpoint, trees can provide shade or even utilize standing water in areas of your yard that may become over saturated when it rains. Aesthetically, trees can provide color and dimension. But certain trees can also be more trouble than they are worth. In fact, certain trees can be a hazard if you are not careful in which varieties to pick to plant in your yard. Here is a list of some trees that you should avoid planting, as well as some varieties you should consider the next time you head to your local nursery.

Trees to avoid:

Silver Maple

While the Silver Maple is a large, fast growing tree that provides lots of shade; Its rapid rate of growth makes for brittle limbs. Brittle limbs are more likely to break during storms and could cause property damage or worse, injuries. In addition to brittle limbs, the Silver Maple also has a shallow root system. Because the roots remain closer to the surface, they often cause cracks in sidewalks and driveways.


Unlike the Silver Maple, Ash trees tend to be very sturdy. But the health of these trees is threatened here in the Midwest by an insect called the emerald ash borer. The emerald ash borer is a small beetle that reproduces inside Ash trees, causing loss of bark and damage to the branches. Weakened branches pose a safety issue, and could cause damage to property. Because the emerald ash borer has become so prominent in Ohio it is best to avoid planting Ash trees, especially in residential areas. Existing Ash trees should be monitored closely by professionals for health and stability.


Possibly one of the most recognizable of all trees, willow trees have long, slender branches that are beautiful to look at. The downside of the Willow tree is its root system. Willows have a very aggressive root system that craves water, thus causing damage to sewer lines in residential areas. In addition to its invasive root system, the Willow tree has weak, brittle wood that can pose a hazard during storms. Lastly, compared to most other trees Willows have a very short lifespan of only about 30 years.

Trees to consider:

Red Oak

Red Oak trees are very sturdy and have a reddish-orange hue that adds beautiful color to any landscape. It is also an excellent source of shade.

Japanese Maple

The Japanese Maple produces beautiful colors in spring as well as fall.  During the fall, its textured foliage changes to a color that can range anywhere from deep red to purple. To maintain its form, it requires regular pruning or it will reduce into a small shrub. It enjoys minimal sunlight (too much causes the leaves to burn), light shade and grows best in well-drained soil. This tree is typically very hardy in Ohio. Consult your local nursery to see what variety of Japanese Maple is best for your region.


The Dogwood tree is quite popular in the Midwest. Originating in Minnesota, this variety of tree prefers full sun or partial shade. The foliage of this tree is a beautiful purple that is stunning during the fall. Dogwoods have a pleasant aroma and beautiful white blossoms during the spring.


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