Least favorite trees

General discussions of forests and trees that do not focus on a specific species or specific location.

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Re: Least favorite trees

Post by TN_Tree_Man » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:01 pm

lucager1483 wrote: but probably would not plant any of the above on my land or that of those I love, and I've been known to exterminate some of these (buckthorn) with extreme prejudice from time to time.

This reminds me of a radio garden show that I used to listen to from time to time. Whenever someone had some sort of concern regarding Silver maple, the show host would always say the same thing. In his dry wit, he would say, "One of the best landscape improvement treatments for Silver maple one can utilize includes a chainsaw!"

Steve Springer
"One can always identify a dogwood tree by it's bark."

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Re: Least favorite trees

Post by ElijahW » Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:33 pm

"One of the best landscape improvement treatments for Silver maple one can utilize includes a chainsaw!"
I love it! The strange thing about silver maple, blue spruce, and a few other commonly planted species is that I really enjoy seeing them in their native habitat. Some trees just don't belong in certain places, kind of like a fat lady in a swimsuit contest or boxed wine in a fine restaurant or an AMC Gremlin...anywhere in public view.
amcgremlin.jpg (11.96 KiB) Viewed 1078 times
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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Re: Least favorite trees

Post by Erik Danielsen » Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:19 pm

Old thread, but I have to chime in with my dislike for a new acquaintance- Callery Pear. If you can really even call it a tree. NYC's second most-common street tree (at least red maple is the first), ugly, self-stunting, with a will to die. Better yet, their spring flowers exude a particular odor most readily compared to the reproductive emissions of the human male. hence the more colorful colloquial terms by which the tree is often referenced. Almost surprised I haven't seen this tree on anyone else's list, but that may be because this non-starter of an excuse for a tree has pretty much zero probability of successfully invading native forests.

After that, Paulownia is a definite second due to its incredible invasive tendencies, though it is rather nice as an old specimen tree.

Norway maples round out my list, but only when displacing natives in either plantings or forests.


Re: Least favorite trees

Post by Joe » Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:09 am

Interesting thread and thanks for reviving it, Erik.

My least favorite trees are those that are left in a high graded forest- here in central New England- usually including weeviled white pine, crooked, diseased red maple, beech with bark disease, hemlock, poplar and others- after they harvested the fine red oak, sugar maple, black cherry and the best pine.

I don't dislike any of these species when they are healthy trees and not too many of them.

I've been screaming here in Mass. for decades that high grading is a form of severe ecological pollution but I get few listeners, especially the forestry establishment and even, strangely, the major enviro groups.

I suggest the penalty for high grading should be 100 lashes.

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Re: Least favorite trees

Post by dbhguru » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:36 pm


I'm with you on disliking the trees (not tree species) on the plundered, high-graded properties. On Monday Monica and I began exploring a section of the Mahican-Mohawk Recreation Trail where it crosses Route #2 in Florida, MA. Starting out the trail, the trees of several species are mature to old growth and fairly aesthetic. However, the trail soon reaches the boundary of Savoy Mountain SF, and basically you look across private lands populated by coppice red maples and weevil pines - a pretty sad site. I hope no environmental groups will think this area is pleasing, aesthetically or ecologically, simply because it has trees, but I suspect that a few will.

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Re: Least favorite trees

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:05 pm

The callery pear on my street had the most impressive blooms of any pear I've seen, and it's 53' tall. One third of it blew out in a storm last year. I guess it's not much stronger than the Bradford pear.

My least favorite trees are dead hemlocks. Silver maples and box elders generally don't appeal to me either, with the exception of Ed's silver maples and a couple of local box elders.

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Re: Least favorite trees

Post by Lucas » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:18 pm

Weedy grey birch thickets vex me.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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Re: Least favorite trees

Post by RayA » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:56 pm

While box elder may not be much of a tree to look at, as a woodturner I appreciate its wood when it's been invaded by ambrosia beetles. The story is quite fascinating...
Ambrosia Boxelder hollow vessel
Ambrosia Boxelder hollow vessel
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Ambrosia beetles have special organs ("mycangia") within their bodies to carry the spores of symbiotic ambrosia fungi; upon chewing a tunnel in the wood, the beetle releases some of these spores from her body, which quickly grow on and into the walls of the chamber. The fungus digests some of the wood tissue, and makes nutrients available on the tunnel walls. The female essentially cultivates her own "garden"... she's a fungus farmer!

She deposits her eggs in short side galleries, and the hatched larvae are raised there, feeding on the fungus the female has been growing for them. She tends to them while they grow; both adult and larvae feed on the fungus growing on the tunnel walls, not on the wood. The tunnels are kept clear of wood dust and excrement produced by the larvae, the female often pushing it out of the tree (if you examine the small beetle holes in ambrosia lumber, you'll usually find that they're clear of wood dust; the tunnels created by other boring insects will often be packed with wood dust). When the larvae have grown to become adults, they gather fungal spores and emerge from the tree to start their own colonies. These critters don't tunnel voraciously through wood, eating all the wood they can; rather, they exploit the moist environment within the wood only to grow their main food source, and raise young.

The red streaks in the vessel above are stains caused by the ambrosia fungus. And that's why I like Boxelder!

Now, here's a tree I totally dislike-- Scots pine!


Re: Least favorite trees

Post by Joe » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:21 am

Ray, there's a good lesson in your story- an otherwise, unremarkable tree species, nobody's favorite- has within it great beauty, to be brought out by somebody with a lot of talent!

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Re: Least favorite trees

Post by Rand » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:23 pm

Do woody shrubs count? How about Lime Prickly ash? It grows waist to shoulder high, and covered with hard, sharp spines on stiff branches. They like to hide out with the spice bush, so when you blunder into them the spines cut deep. Ouch!

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