trees you hate that aren't the commonly-hated ones?

hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)July 2, 2014

Just thinking about this.

I know why people hate Callery pears, Silver Maple, etc...but what are some trees you hate, or, intensely dislike if you don't like the term "hate"...that aren't so commonly hated, and why?

For me:

Lindens - anything in the Tilia genus. I've just never liked them - I hate their blooms and mess, they rarely produce fall color despite some being "supposed" to, they're overplanted, and they're rather boring.

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Crape myrtles.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:19AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Lots of Southerners hate Crapes it seems - probably becuase down there, they're everywhere.

I loved them when I was in Raleigh a few weeks ago. They are fairly common here, too, but since I grew up in Ohio and they don't exist there, I haven't gotten sick of them, yet.

They looked so much nicer in NC than here, though.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:31AM
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Pin oak - limbs always grow down no matter how much pruning is done to prevent this and is a nuisance to lawn mowing. Also, way WAY overplanted.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:32AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Agree on Pin Oak. As much as I'm a fan of the Quercus genus in general, Pin Oak is by far my least favorite oak.

Nuttall oak is superior in almost every way to Pin Oak (although for zones 4/5 probably a better choice due to hardiness) - tolerates similarly wet conditions, better fall color, better high pH tolerance, more upright.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:40AM
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It isn't just that crape myrtles are overused, it's also that they have no value to wildlife in the US. And then, since they are used so much, that's a lot of opportunity missed.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:36AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Sumac. I've hated it ever since I was a kid. It grew all over the road verges, and looked ugly.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:42AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

'CRAP' Myrtles - though some are better than others. I can tolerate some Red, true Purple, and a few bright hot pink.

Eastern Red Cedar Juniperus virginiana - Freak'in everywhere in some areas. IMHO they are good for three things..... chain saw practice, fence posts, and mulch.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:53AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Sumacs aren't the prettiest trees, but they make up for it in fall, at least around here - they are some of the strongest of the early reds and oranges in the natural woods around here.

I'm not a Juniperus fan in general - of the "scale" leaved conifers I favor pretty much all the others (Thuja, Chamaecyparis, Cupressus) over Juniper for some reason.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:23AM
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Norway spruce - I think I mentioned that before. 39% of all trees here in Sweden is NS, much of it is planted for timber. They ruin the soil, taking all the nutrients av make it acid. Almost nothing can grow below them, there are no herbs or understory in spruce woods.

Hybrid linden tilia x europaea - extremely overused as a street tree. They simply arn't pretty, especially with all those suckers on the trunk. They are often pollarded to, and I like free growing trees better. Small-leaved linden are really pretty though.

Grey willow salix cinerea - a bush growing everywhere. Can't just be cut down, it will come back twice as big with stump shoots. Can't even be limbed up, they just get top heavy and bend over. And as the name suggest, they are kind of gray and dull.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:38AM
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Honey locust. Thorns
Sweetgum. Sweetgum balls & honking big surface roots

Black locust used to be on my list, but I've come to appreciate it, if only for its toughness - and the excellent fence posts it can become.

Honestly, I've never understood the love some have for American elm... but admit that I grew up in an area where oaks and pecans were more common as 'shade' trees than elms. Don't hate it, just don't find it very appealing.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 12:44PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Red maple. A brittle, invasive, short-lived weed-tree in the forest w/little aesthetic value. Silver maple at least is graceful.

Pin oak is one of my favorites.

Edit: Black locust too -- invasive & a magnet for pests. The look by mid-summer is retched.

This post was edited by beng on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 13:14

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:03PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Tricolour Beech - in fact any excessively gaudy variegated tree. e.g Acer negundo 'Flamingo'. Also not fond of dwarf conifers, especially in quantity.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:20PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

Star Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) Formal form, but planted alone they look silly. Especially when they tower 60' above a small ranch home. They make better houseplants.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:27PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Native trees by definition are not invasive. Therefore the Red Maples and Black Locust are aggressive colonizers. In this case Homo sapiens is the true invasive in every facet of the definition. Just something to think about.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:32PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Pin Oaks.
Who wants a dead looking tree all winter long and then have to rake up the leaves in the Spring when the Crocus are blooming?
It's mostly a parking lot tree or builder installed tree here.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:36PM
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Purple leaf plums and the vast majority of flowering cherries. Only look great the week or two they are in bloom then a host for myriad pest and disease issues. And weeping cherries top the list!!

Also topiaried conifers, like those trained in spirals or pom-poms or the dwarf types grafted onto a bare trunk. Look like stupid lollipop plants! So much more appealing when left to a natural form.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:40PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)


Red Maple - I like them, actually. Well, it's more love/hate. Love them in fall, hate them at other times *if planted in inappropriate areas* but they're actually very nice trees in the right spot. Sugar Maple is superior as a tree to me, however, although less adaptable.

Black Locust - love the flowers - hate that they turn brown by now (the ones around here just went from a nice fresh green to brown over the last 2 weeks) thanks to that G*dawful locust leafminer that I wish would just kill the d@mn things.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:42PM
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ALL pine, fir, whatever the whole shebang of needled trees is. How I hate those long bunches of dried out needles everywhere and the boring pinecones too.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:47PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Saucer Magnolia - M. x soulangeana. Not a horrible tree per se, but way overplanted, and too gaudy in bloom, IMHO. There are so many better hybrid and species deciduous mags out there.

Goldenrain tree - Koelreuteria paniculata - I never found the flowers all that attractive, they look more like overgrown weeds to me.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:50PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Wow, Deeby, don't go over the the conifers forum, they might not take too kindly.

I admit Pinus is probably my least favorite conifer genus, but there are still plenty of pines I like.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:51PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I used to hate Zelkovas, but they've grown on me. A lot, actually.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Red Maples. no fall color whatsoever, leaves turn brown when every other tree is in stunning color. They produce a billion seedlings and Im sure were given away by traveling salesmen they are so numerous. Overused, over-admired way overrated.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:56PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

You sure you're talking about the same red maples we are, unbiddenn?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:57PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

"Norway spruce - Almost nothing can grow below them"
Huggorm, when I moved onto this property a japanese honeysuckle had completely enveloped a mature 35' Norway spruce and surely would have killed it in a few more years. It had branch calipers well over 1" (the honeysuckle) One of my first tasks when I got a Kubota BX was to circle 2 coupled 50' chains entirely under the root zone except for the trunk of course. Then I filled the ballast box with granite mini-boulders and started backing up. I left some gashes in the "lawn" - which back then was nothing but dandelions, bermuda and crab grass thanks to the hayseed (no pun intended!) prior owners - but I pulled all the honeysuckle out with only minimal damage to the tree. A few small branches got broken here and there. The resulting bundle of honeysuckle was about 1/2 the size of a school bus. (there was some Virginia creeper in there, too, but the Lonicera was dominant.) Even those "littlest" kubotas are amazingly powerful; I've dragged 10" caliper Prunus serontina trees across swampy ground when I wanted to cut them up somewhere else. As for the "real" ones like the B4200 I imagine the could pull down the block walls of an elementary school gym if you rigged them up correctly.

BUT I forgive you for being tired of them in their native habitat - certainly understandable.

My vote here is the monkey puzzle. Except I really wouldn't say i hate them, I just hate people wanting them in their small yards. They belong in botanical gardens, certainly...and if you own a huge property and you really want one, I suppose it is ok. But I think some people - obviously those on the east coast of the US - buy them w/o realizing how truly horrifying the full grown ones are, because they've never seen one up close. Like branches of rebar coated with industrial razor blades, as I've said before. At Longwood in one of the student gardens, they planted one in a narrow bed surrounded by walkways. Sure, fine for now so people can see the thing while it is still a baby tiger...but not going to be good if it ever matures. (Which it almost certainly won't, give that 99.5% of ones planted on the east coast die in their first decade.) That being said I've decided to try an Araucaria angustifolia in my yard, so, talk about the pot calling the kettle black! It will be in the one of the last "middle of the yard" spots though, well away from anything else.

Oh, and before you say I'm just jealous they are hard to grow here. No. I'm perfectly willing to admit there are things in maritime climates I'm disgusted I can't Eucryphias...but monkey puzzle certainly isn't one of them. Besides, there are a few. If someone on the east coast really wants to see one without doing a transcontinental or transoceanic flight, they can.

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 0:10

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 2:25PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Pinus virginiana (w/exception given to 'Wates Golden'). Ugly, scrubby things, usually.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 2:58PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

Cottonwoods!!! I hate their damn fluff. They are all around here and it makes it look like it's snowing in June. I also hate dwarf Alberta spruce, weeping cherries, and weeping mulberries.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 3:13PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Generally, I dislike most weeping trees, except for some Acer palmatum cultivars and prostrate dwarf conifers.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 3:17PM
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I never have liked green ash. Way overplanted as a street tree, and they look uglier as they get older and the lower branches start drooping. I don't mind seeing a big one growing in the woods though. Anyhow, I guess I won't have to worry about them for much longer.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 5:45PM
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I can't say I hate them, but I'm not particularly fond of Kentucky coffee trees. Every source says 'ya gotta have one...blah, blah, blah" Well I got one. I think I'd appreciate it more had I not sited it in a prime situation that I should have reserved for a tree I actually loved. It's course and ungainly and the only season where I can tolerate it for its unique traits is dead of winter, where the clumsiness of its structure actually looks good in a snow landscape.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 5:46PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Anything with thorns unless it's a fragrant tree on someone else's property.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:01PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Want to clarify on the Eastern Red Cedar. Anything that looks similar in foilage, other Junipers, Thuja, Chamaecyparis, Cupressus etc., I JUST CAN'T FREAKING STAND! IMHO ugly as #$$%, all of them.

Forgot to add one earlier. Golden Rain Tree. Not much to like about them as far as I'm concerned. The week of yellow is OK, but then I DETEST the "lanterns" that follow just afterward. I'm also not to crazy about Purple European Smoketrees, Purple Norway Maple (and Norway Maple don't spread here either).



    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:37PM
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OK, I'll stay away from the conifer forum. That was funny ! : )

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:27PM
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jowall(Z6 Nashville TN)

1. Agree on the red maple. Way over-planted, and I even have one. They were on clearance sale a couple of springs ago when it was so warm. The nursery that I go to had missed the opportunity to dig tulip poplars because the warm winter had caused them to bud early, and I was desperate for a tree - was talked into a 2.5" caliper red maple for $50 because they had such a glut. Just underwhelming from a shade, structure and size perspective. The color on the cultivar that I bought is even underwhelming - leaves too small, turns way early, and color is fleeting.

2. Sweetgum - don't mind the balls so much, and I like a fully grown tree, but the youth and adolescence for this tree as it grows the first 15-20 years produces an awkward and messy form.

3. Goldenrain tree - when I look at it I think immediately: WEED.

4. Hackberry - can have a nice form, but more often than not, it has been butchered by the electrical service or government or some idiot tree surgeon creating a monstrosity. Also the rotting from the inside out is a problem.

5. Bradford Pear - what the heck made these things so popular?

6. Crape Myrtle

7. Any dwarf cultivar of a tree that is meant to grow large - let it go people. Thinking specifically about those mini magnolias you see so often these days. A magnolia is meant to be a magnificent giant - not a 'little gem'.

8. Dogwoods planted in full sun - just can't stand to see such a beautiful tree tortured in the heat.

9. Redbuds - really hate the resulting seed pods.

  1. Zelkova - I've yet to see one that grows to any respectable height to provide any decent shade. Far to geometric, with hard lines and no grace or elegance.

  2. Ginko - Obviously the females (or is it the males) that stink are a problem, but more than that - this is a tree that yes will grow large, but it takes forever, and in the end I've yet to see one that really yields the kind of shade that they should given the overall size. The crown tends to be too narrow. So many people think these are beautiful trees - I just don't see it.

This post was edited by jowall on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 22:58

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:55PM
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Passing by from Recent Posts to say: hello, I'm Flying C, and I hate Japanese maples. First, because most of them have funny colored foliage, which I generally dislike. But also, they just look too...manicured. Like someone sneaks out every night and snips them just so. That look suits a Japanese garden, but in other settings it feels really out of place to me.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:19PM
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I'm not really a fan of Burr oaks. That's mainly because any more they all look diseased and sick here in Iowa. The acorns are the only appealing thing to me about a Burr oak. The leaves just turn brown in the fall. To me this tree belongs growing along the streets in a Tim Burton film. Just not a fan, that's just me.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 2:03AM
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Gingkos do take forever to get large, I used to work at Mt Macrina Manor nursing home, and there is one (Gingko) across from the kitchen exit doors, I swear in the 6-7 yrs I worked there it never grew more. It wasn't wide and impressive either. It was fairly old by it's height, about 30 ft tall. Silver Maples can be impressive, but the wood isn't very strong. My neighbor has 4 on the property line. I am tempted to plant some shade lovers near, my Willow oak and a Nuttal's will cast some shade in 7-8 years, but if the Sil maples fail in a storm before then........ My Pin oaks and most in my area are okay. I have neutral soil 7 PH, but my 2 pins are fine and green, red in fall. Sumac are weed trees here, we do have one along the driveway here, though, I believe it is a Staghorn sumac, no special cultivar. They even pruned it when they moved my doublewide in back in 1996. I don't own it anymore, but, the tree looks okay for a weedy tree. I hate Red Maples, we had one, it never got wide, it got tall and skinny, then lightening got it one spring. Norway Spruce is okay in my yard because we have a variety of other trees as well, if it were the main tree here, I would hate it too, though. If I had many Pines, instead of 2 (Pinus Strobus) I would hate them. Okay, I hate Smoke tree, my grama had a couple, I just don't see the attraction. THORN_BEARING Honey -locust. I used to walk in a wooded area near my home in regular tennis shoes in the 70's when I was a kid. I was always getting my shoes thorned into the bottom of my feet. There was a little stream with lizards in it after you walked far enough. If it wasn't the regular Honey locust, it had to be the Osage Orange. I was younger than my teens then, and I am in my 40's now, so it was in the woods, I THINK Osage Orange likes MORE sun than Wild Honey Locust. I am just guessing here. I would say regular Honey Locust is my most hated tree after walking in the woods and getting my shoes joined to my feet quite painfully, very often, and being so dumb that I was shocked most every time it happened. I did love my Gramas Cherry tree, it broke up her concrete driveway, and that beautiful flowering tree with beautiful bark went Bye Bye because of a stupid slab of grey concrete. Black Locust are super weedy trees. Lucky -p get a thornless Honey Locust. Norway maples, you can't plant much under/near them.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 2:07AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Arizona Ash. Chinaberry, arbotvitae

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 10:56PM
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I don't like Catalpa; leaves too coarse and are a pain to clean up when they fall.

Ginkgo, I love! Mine grows fast enough. True, the shade is not the deepest, and most tend toward the vertical, but I exploit that as an advantage and underplant mine with ferns and flowering perennials. You want horizontal and shade, plant any magnolia, nothing will grow under them, LOL!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 2:51PM
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1.) Arbotvitae/Thuja. Boring trees without flowers, berries, wildlife value, colorful fall foliage, or that nice pine scent. Always look fake to me. WAY over planted by landscapers. At least Eastern Red Cedar have berries that birds like, interesting bark, and scented wood.
2.) Austrian pine. Kind of ugly, and just don't survive in my area....but people keep recommending them anyway.
3.) Boxwood. Very boring plant.

Don't really understand this concern about planting underneath trees...honestly, do you need grass in every square inch of your yard? A tree that nothing will grow beneath is a tree that no weeds will grow beneath. Bonus.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 7:35PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Some of these "hate" selections are strange to me.

The entire genius of Tilia?? T. tomentosa and T. mongolica cultivars are what I'd consider gorgeous plants that are under utilized.

Sterling Silver's extremely dark top sides contrasting with the silver undersides are mesmerizing even with a subtle flutter.

Harvest Gold has exception bark qualities and amazing golden yellow fall color.

Picea abies? First time I've ever seen that listed as a hate tree. They are certainly used in the wrong spots on a regular basis. The variability in the species is all over the board. Some of the most graceful specimens are produced by this species.

Ginkgo? Another genus with extreme variability. I've come across numerous 40' specimens that are maybe 30 years old...the species is where you see the growth. My Autumn Golds average about 12" a year.

Arbs/Thuja....gotten checkout the cultivars like Rheingold, Sherwood Frost, Firechief, Sunkist, Wandyke's Silver. Nothing short of boring with the colors they showcase in spring and winter.

Ok I gotta stop...

Two I'd like to add to the list.

Acer negundo.
Its a weed tree plain and simple. Poor branching habit. Weak wood. Generally poor fall color. A myriad of pests. Boxelder bugs galore...need I say more?

Populus deltoides
Holy hell do I hate this tree. Another weed tree. Poor branching habit. Canker galore. Drought intolerant so it drops its leaves early in the year. The weakest wood I have ever seen. I just took another one down from my neighbors yard. 5" caliper. Two swipes with a felco saw to score it and I was able to break it with my OWN two hands! Generally poor fall color to top it off. Oh and that dang cotton blowing everywhere and congregating in my garage! They are also taking over in some of the lower areas that have more moisture since the grow incredibly fast. 15 year old next to my house is going on 60 to 70' tall. I have to talk them into removing it before it falls on one of our houses.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 9:45PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Some of these trees are in the "it depends" category. At least when it comes to really hating them, versus merely considering them inappropriate for planting. I would never plant any poplar, but one of my favorite trees when I was a kid was a scraggly old P. deltoides that hung over my bus stop, which was about a 1/4 mile walk from my house. Last time I was in that neighborhood, it was still there. It was in a sheltered bottom land so I guess storms couldn't get to it. It sort of looked like one, albeit a bit smaller. The bark was lighter...maybe an ecotype?

BTW Thuja seeds are eaten:

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:17PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Here's a better view of what I think of cottonwood bark looks like. On winter mornings it had a luminous quality. Again, not worth planting, but it wasn't a terrible tree in that situation.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:29PM
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There are some beautiful old ginkgos in DC such as on the grounds of the US Capitol. For some reason the DC government has recently planted female ginkos in several places in the city (the fruit smells like excrement if you haven't smelled it). I can just imagine stepping on that mess on the way to a job interview.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 7:57PM
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Restoner, the Ginko seeds are eaten in Asia, I hope they taste better than they smell! Maybe it's like some of the rotten fish dishes that some cultures eat, Asia and I think Northern European traditional food, (or so the TV tells me) that it tastes different than it smells?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 8:47PM
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Lakeview Jasmine tree - at first you think it's a wonderful pretty little tree - then after smelling that sickeningly sweet smell for a month - you are quite over it.

Not too crazy about the 80' high Florida Slash Pines in my yard - they are terrifying during hurricanes.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 8:51PM
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I thoroughly dislike eucalyptus globulus (blue gum) and acacia mearnsii (black wattle), but that's because they were invasive where I grew up and the pollen from the black wattles was horrible.

I've seen people try to grow eucalyptus in Raleigh and it's a dismal sight. Even I feel it borders on abusive to take a tree that should be evergreen and magestically tall and have this poor, half dead, stumpy thing dripping bark in your garden.

I'm not crazy about the native pines in the southeast US, because they all have prickly pine cones. I can't walk in my back garden in bare feet because of all the cones from the loblollies and long leafs (long leaves? LOL).

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:57PM
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I am with Deeby. Almost all of the conifers are evil. Pokey, resin-y, pine cone messes. Good for telephone poles only.

I am ok with the non-pokeys... white pine, bald cypress, dawn redwood, white cedar, etc...

Also hate pokey broadleaves - black locust comes to mind. That is WICKED nasty.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:52PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

"I've seen people try to grow eucalyptus in Raleigh and it's a dismal sight. "

Yes but I don't want a huge Euc. parvula in my yard, so I plan to either cut mine back every 3-5 years or let mother nature do it. Which is what happened - it is now regrowing from the roots. I think it looks perfectly fine as a large shrub because most winters barely injure it. Yes it's a shame I won't get to enjoy the bark, but the foliage is still exotic looking (and smelling)
I do seem to recall E. neglecta being popularized by Plant Delights. Maybe that is what you've seen. They don't look as good when they are small because the structure is coarser.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:25AM
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I think i have more 'trees i love that are commonly hated'.

Don't like my ancient tulip poplars. What a mess. Just suffered through the annual three weeks of 'tulips' dropping all over the driveway and cars. Stinks and stains and only come down when it rains...very difficult to remove the slimy mess.... slippery, like walking on black ice.
May not fit this category as i can't imagine anyone liking them.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:41AM
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I love tulip poplars, but I havn't experienced that mess since I don't have any of those trees my self. They are pretty rare over here and often freeze back in cold winters. But a healthy one is a fantastic tree.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:47AM
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