Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Town Monday: Worst Tree In The World?

Autumn is my favorite time of year, everywhere except here in Anaheim, that is. Where other parts of the country have trees with leaves changing colors, we have Chinese elms shedding yellow crud all over everything. These trees are a pet peeve of mine. :( I'm currently suffering through an attack of sciatica, so that's not helping my mood any. It hurts just to sit.

According to Wikipedia, the Chinese elm, scientific name Ulmus parvifolia, are native to China, Japan, North Korea and Vietnam. They're described as "a small to medium-sized deciduous, semi-deciduous (rarely semi-evergreen) tree growing to 10-18 m tall with a slender trunk and crown, and has been described as "one of the most splendid elms". I looked it up and 10-18 meters is a range of 32 to 59 feet, which sounds pretty big to me, but what I know about trees can be scribbled on the back of a postage stamp. Some may find the trees "splendid", but to me they're just messy.

To continue: "The flowers are produced in early autumn, small and inconspicuous,.." To whom, pray tell?

"... with the seed maturing rapidly and dispersing by late autumn." Around here, the yellow flowers and appear and drop off within a couple of weeks, followed by reddish leaves that drop off later in the season. The green leaves finally turn brown and die around December. So the trees basically shed something or other from Sept. through the end of the year, blanketing the sidewalk, the yard, not to mention any cars parked anywhere nearby.

"The Chinese Elm is highly resistant, but not immune, to Dutch elm disease... The tree is arguably the most ubiquitous of the elms, now found in all the continents except Antarctica. It was introduced to Europe at the end of the 18th century as an ornamental, and is found in many botanical gardens and arboreta. In the United States, it appeared in the middle of the 19th century, and has proved very popular in recent years as a replacement for American Elms killed by Dutch elm disease."

Will someone send me some Dutch elm disease, please?

"The tree can become invasive, notably in southern Africa, and is known as one of the 'Nasty Nine' in Namibia, where it was planted as a street tree in Windhoek. The Chinese Elm has also shown invasive species tendencies in some gardens in North America."

Not to mention some yards in Anaheim. We have several baby elms trying to grow in the middle of our hedge, the Bird of Paradise, the hibiscus bushes. (Yes, we need a professional gardener and the sooner the better.)

What do you think? Is the Chinese elm the worst tree in the world? Or at least the messiest?


My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin, Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.


debra said...

I hear Ginko is pretty special, too.

Travis Erwin said...

Without elms we wouldn't have hardly any trees in my area so I view them as a necessary evil.

Barrie said...

Well, it does look pretty messy. However, I great up with some sort of cherry tree. It was incredibly messy too.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We have a few of these around. They get on my shoes and I carry them inside.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Debra, I don't think I've never seen a Ginko tree so I'll have to look them up.

The Chinese elms are hardy, Travis, I'll say that for them.

Barrie, I bet the cherry tree was messy. Blossoms in the spring, and fruit staining the grass and sidewalk in the summer. We had a mulberry tree once. Same deal.

Patti, yes, the yellow blossoms get in the car, in the house, in your hair, etc. When it's windy, look out, lol. It's like yellow rain.


Anonymous said...

What a shame that beautiful tree can leave such a mess on the ground... and everywhere else. Our neighbor has this lovely white birch (I believe it's a white birch) and every year these wormy looking things fall from it. They're part of the tree but look disgusting and... crawly. Plus, they're a mess to clean up. Still, they're not as bad as what you describe. I don't envy you your elms.


Beth said...

OMG Linda! Where would one get Dutch elm disease? I have seen these trees and am glad we dont' have any. They are pretty but I wouldn't want to park under one. My in-laws have trees that drop purple flowers all thruought their neighborhood, they are just like the Chinese elms. Beautiful but messy. Try to resist the urge to buy a chain saw.

Reb said...

Just think though, if you didn't have a tree to drop stuff how would you know the season is changing? ;)
All kidding aside, my sister had a tree that used to drop tiny purple/red berries on her white car. They stained everything and were everywhere.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Debbie, the wormy looking things sound disgusting. Maybe that's worse.

No chain saws, Beth, I promise, though it's past time for the city to send someone round to trim the trees.

Reb, the red/purple berries do sound worse. Berry stains are really hard to get out.


Kathleen Rowland said...

Linda, sorry to hear about your bout with sciatica. Hope you feel better soon.I see many Chinese Elms down here in Irvine, also. Yes, they are messy trees. -Kathleen