Trees are easy to love- they absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, shade you from the summer heat, and have even been proven to increase property values. However, certain species of trees aren’t as healthy as you might think, and can be considered noxious and invasive to their surrounding environments. If you’re doing any landscaping work, it’s worth doing the research to figure out exactly which species are growing on your property, what maintenance they require, or if they should be removed.
Q: I have several carrotwood trees that line a property where I am doing a design job. The client wants them to be removed because they shed in their pool. I considered using them as fence posts, but cannot find any info about the wood. Anything you can tell me would be really appreciated.
A: I’m no botanical expert, but I did manage to find some info for you. While you may be feeling a little sad about your client’s decision to remove the tree, it’s probably the right thing to do, as carrotwood trees are considered highly invasive and in some damper climates like Florida, are categorized as noxious. As for using the wood, here’s what I found, courtesy of the Global Invasive Species Database:
“The wood is bright apricot colored in cross-section, and resists breakage because it is hard. If you cut one down, save the wood. Woodworkers enjoy turning it on a lathe and making spindles and bowls.”
Another resource I found said that wood could be used for landscaping, fences, etc, but MUST be treated with some type of herbicide to prevent regrowth. They recommended Brush-B-Gon and Roundup Super Concentrate which are apparently widely available.
Hope that helps! Also, a great resource is TreesAreGood, a website run by the International Society of Arboriculture. You may be able to contact someone who has some more expertise on the subject, or find a local tree-care company that can help with the removal and herbicide treatment. Good luck!
Emily Pilloton is the Managing Editor of Inhabitat, a furniture designer, and freelance design writer based in Chicago and San Francisco. Trained in architecture with degrees from UC Berkeley and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she now designs conceptual and sustainable furniture and writes for print and online publications. She has also taught design in Chicago, given lectures about green design and sustainability, and worked with Chicago-based Foresight Design Initiative, a non-profit organization that supports sustainable design and business practices.