Identify Weeds That Look Like Small Trees

Weed trees? Have you ever heard of them? Maybe or maybe not.

But don’t worry, now you have reached the right place. 

Weed trees are a big deal. Potentially. But identifying and controlling them is far difficult without proper knowledge.

Weed trees are actually the tree species of youngsters that are aggressive invaders if not checked properly. They colonize very quickly while choking out the nearby trees and plants and preventing their growth.

If they are not controlled and destroyed then their fast-growing roots can threaten the foundations of buildings.

Sooner or later, you will need to get them done.

In this guide, I will show you the tactics to identify them by getting rid of them as quickly as possible without harming the actual plants and ruining your property. All of the methods are discussed to control newer or established plants.

Let’s get started.

What Are Weed Trees?

The word “weed” defines it as any plant growing in other places where it is not actually wanted.

Weed trees are definitely trees but they are referred to as weeds due to their growth at irrelevant places. Weed trees are the species of trees or varieties, having speedy germination and colonization.

Not all the new seedlings that are unknown to you are weed trees, they are actually called volunteer trees.

Weed trees choke out other plant species and slow down their growth. They came from the nearby tree flowers through wind, birds, and animals.

In their earlier growth stage, they are not a big problem to control. While the problem occurs when they are chosen as ornamental trees and they become hardy and hard to kill.

The primary control is to keep an eye on the small saplings when they tend to grow and get rid of them if identified as a weed tree.

How To Identify A Weed Tree

Whenever you observe a new sapling in your yard or garden. Make sure to keep an eye on them and start identifying them by following these steps:

  • Firstly, observe the stem of the new growth. If it’s woody then there are more chances that it’s a tree. But if they have a thick green stem, then you can rule it out.
  • Secondly, observe the leaves of young plants. The leaves of young trees will be exactly similar to the mature trees. You can see them at the end of small branches instead of growing out from stem-like other plants.
  • Finally, make a final decision by taking a look at the surrounding area. Most of the tree grows near to the mother tree. If you found any similar nearby then, probably, you have found the culprit.

Weeds that look like small trees

Tree Of Heaven

Tree Of Heaven

It seems to be an angel by its name, but don’t get fooled by its name. It is certainly no angel.

Tree of heaven is native to China that was introduced to the US in the late eighteenth century as an exotic deciduous tree.

It is recognizable by its grey coloured bark, light green seed pods, reddish-brown twigs, and pinnate groupings of leaves. During the spring season, the yellow-green flowers grow on panicles that grow up to 16 inches.

It has a speedy growth rate that is almost 5 feet every season, and it finally grows to almost 60 feet in height.

Besides the fast growth pattern, it produces seeds in huge amounts that reproduce through the roots while producing chemicals that choke out all the nearby plants. 

This invasive tree species has a high success rate and destroys the natural growths through its aggressive root system. It does also damage the building foundations.

If you find any young plant of this species in your garden, pull it out with your hand before it develops the taproot. The best controlling method of the tree of heaven is hand pulling.

Norway Maple

Norway Maple

Norway Maples are attractive, shade-loving, well adaptive, and heightened trees that grow to the height of 65 feet. 

They grow lobed leaves having a dark green color that is 6 inches long and 5 inches wide. The dense, rounded canopies provide dense shade that will wipe out plants growing beneath.

They can be identified through their smooth and mottled gray colored bark. 

These trees bloom during May in the form of yellow-green flowers that produce winged seeds. Such winged seeds can easily blow to far off places with the wind.

During the fall, the tree leaves turn yellow to orange.

If you have one in your surrounding, be aware to watch out for volunteer seedlings all over the property.

White Mulberry Tree

White Mulberry Tree

The white Mulberry tree is commonly regarded as a nuisance tree and is native to China.

It was named white mulberry by the small white buds growing on its stems. It can be identified by its orange-brown coloured bark and edible mulberries that are white in color and later turn to purple and pink.

These trees are fast growers and sustain their growth in almost all soil types. So they are difficult to control if not watch them in the younger growth stage.

Birds are the major source of their dispersal to nearby places in the form of berries. 

Once they get established, they are much difficult to control.

Black Locust

Black Locust

His name doesn’t sound pleasant, so his behavior.

Black locust is native to the Appalachian and Ozark mountains and an invasive plant species that self-seeds easily.

This medium-sized tree can grow to 50 feet in height. It forms a narrow canopy with clusters of flowers growing during the spring and clusters of feathery leaves during the summer.

The major problem of this species is that it gets established quickly and becomes very difficult to control once it starts to colonize.

How do weed trees enter your garden?

Weed trees enter your garden through the seeds from well-established trees that are dispersed by wind, birds, and animals. These trees may be already present in your yard or neighbor’s yards.

If the tree is present in your yard then you will get a huge number of growths in your garden as the dispersal of the seeds will be more. But in case of birds dispersing from the far tree, there will be less number of plants to show up.

No matter how much attention you pay, they will show up even in less numbers and it will be your time to control them.

How To Get Rid Of Weed Trees

Controlling or getting rid of weed trees is the most critical point in this whole work. Generally, the pulling out is adopted as the one easiest way to remove weed trees. 

The practice of pulling works to some extent while walking along with the plants especially if you have hidden crannies and nooks. If left undisturbed and summer passes, it will be too late for this job.

There are some effective management strategies or methods for the effective control of weed trees in your garden.

1. Paint method

In this method, the top part of the plant is cut down and paint is sprayed all over the cut point. This will ultimately kill the plant.

2. Bark peeling/Girdling method

Any plant gets its nutrients and water through the xylem and phloem that is present under the bark. If you peel away all of the bark layers, then there are pretty sure chances that it will kill the tree. 

Use a hatchet to cut about ½ to 1.5 inches deep and remove all the bark around the tree. For small trees try a 2-inch wide girdle while 8 inches wide for big trees.

It’s a slow process, but it will kill the pesky trees.

3. Chemical method

The use of chemicals for killing weeds is a well-known method. Using the chemicals is also effective in controlling the weed trees’ growth but there are risks of killing surrounding vegetation.

4. Salt method

The home remedy to kill the weed trees includes the pouring of bleach or salt into the open cut of trees. Salt kills the tree for sure. 

The only demerit of adopting the salt method is that it will make soil infertile for other plants for some time until the salt leaches down completely.

5. Pulling out method

The easiest method for getting rid of weed trees is pulling them out from their truck. But make sure that the tree is not growing near the foundation of the building.

Is Chopping down the weed trees is Enough?

A big NO! Be prepared to adopt another method if you really want to get rid of them permanently. Chopping them down will get them off your sight for a few times but it will again appear back in next season.

In the next season, when they again begin growth it may get a thicker stem that is far difficult to control.


Weed trees are any trees that are growing in places where you don’t want them. Whether it is near to your house, or in flower beds, they are referred to as weed trees. 

Removing or killing them is much easier in their early growth stages after the proper identification. Keep a close watch around your garden and yards. If you identify any, firstly try the bark removing method and then cut the top and paint it with weed killer.

If left uncontrolled, then pour the salt solution by making a wound on the tree. But keep in mind that salt will stop any growth in that soil until salt leaches down completely.

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