Nightmare trees – right tree, wrong place.

Nightmare trees – right tree, wrong place.

We wanted some shade and some biomass. We’d both done a PDC and thought a powton would be good, we could easily chop it back to ground level each year, sure. We made a  raised bed around it so we could dig it up when we left. We chopped it back for a few years, but as the root system grew it would spring back faster each year, then after a while we realised it was drying out the garden bed and stealing all the nutrition, all the time adding to its monstrous growth!


Tiny powton sucker near the stump

And the Gleditsia Sunburst, gorgeous thing, huge, shady, would have made some excellent honey for someone nearby with the 100’s of bees that would visit the 1000’s of small flowers.

But in the end it was too shady, the trees were sucking all the water out of the ground. It took time but we knew they had to go. We got a friend to visit, excited he could test his chainsaws that he bought from the second hand markets and repaired, to come and drop them for us.

TWO years later.. now spring is here.. the honey locust has started to sucker in quite a few spots. Last year I used poison on a few parts. This is when systemic poisons are useful – for small, precision jobs, not for pouring over acres and acre of food crops, but I digress. The main stump looks pretty dead.. but new bits keep coming up.


Follow the tiny suckers along the roots to the main trunk stump.


Tiny green suckers.. so many suckers.

And there’s also this other smaller tree. Another permaculture plant, nitrogen-fixing, fast growing with edible parts. And 1000’s of seeds. Oh, boy.. this one could get out of hand quickly in the wrong climate. Or if someone planted one and wasn’t around to deal with the many seedlings that would come up. I actually pocketed the seed many years ago from a permaculture gnome’s garden, so I knew they were a permie plant, but not what it was and we were at a party, so I didn’t get to ask him.


Stump covered in sprouts. Busy little thing.

Leucana is a really useful plant. The small leaflets make good mulch as they break down quickly, feeding the soil. But those pods, woah. So well pollinated and so many seeds.

But I kept an eye on them and we cut that tree back to this stump. The seedling had fallen over and started to grow sideways. Since removing the main part, the stump has been sprouting.

Between these three we are always on the lookout for sneaky suckers popping up anywhere. And I haven’t mentioned the Ailanthus.. Horrible, smelly trees.. that ALSO sucker..

Consider well what trees you want to grow. How big will they get and how much shade will they cast over your garden? Most foodie gardener types know you need a lot of sun to grow vegies.

It’s tricky to have ornamentals and fruit or nut trees. Besides, fruit and nut trees are actually rather good looking too. Maybe plant natives on the verge or front garden and grow some more food out the back.. or the front, depending where your northern aspect is.

Happy planting.



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