Gallery: ASK INHABITAT: Which trees are NOT huggable?


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.

-Biannti, CA

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.

Emily can be contacted at


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  1. B. Nitz December 20, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    You might want to look into this website: My landlord wants us to remove some very productive Apple trees and we decided to offer them to a gardener at a local convent. But if this is an invasive species in FL, you’re probably better finding a carpenter or artist who can use the wood. Good luck!

  2. R December 19, 2007 at 11:54 am

    How about Fusilade? It’s an herbicide that readily biodegrades within a couple months, and in fact has been approved for use by FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

  3. Scott December 18, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Roundup becomes inert after it’s done its work on whatever you spray it on, so it’s not such a terrible choice if you really have to do that. However, you could probably just cut it and let it cure for a few months before putting it to use. From the picture, it sure doesn’t look big enough to do something useful. Maybe put that bad boy through a wood chipper and make some mulch?

  4. asark September 8, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    toilet trees are not huggable

  5. Henry Boyle July 3, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    I second Karen….throwing a reccomendation out for this kind of corporate toxic sludge so casually is disturbing…..
    and irresponsible…especially since tthe source you are citing is anonymous…..Hasn’t the existing info for the cause of sustainability left an impression on you at all?

  6. Karen Dallas Hartig April 28, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    i sure as heck hope that you are NOT telling anyone to use any pesticide that is nicotine based!!! it’s okay if their cigs are put out into a small bowl of water and then the nicotine collects there, then to take that water and put it into a spray bottle for flowers. but nicotine based commercial insecticides that just came onto the market in the past two years, miracles to those that want a perfect lawn and yard trees with no problems, are being investigated now due to the severe threat of colony collapse disorder of honey bees.

    i truly think that the problem should not get out to the public! there are a bunch of stupidos out there that know only that bees sting. let them keep thinking that. they have no idea that bees are the only pollinator that will help our crops to grow. i can see rioting in the streets, i can see looting, i can see myself being held up at gunpoint for them to take my groceries from me! do not talk about this, but do the right thing: do not use the new nicotine based pesticides!!!

    just for safety because i do not believe it could be the cause: don’t use your cell phone in your yard near flowering or fruit bearing plants and trees. do research.

    kiki, chicago

  7. Charlotte March 20, 2007 at 11:26 am

    I don’t think it’s very eco to put round up on anything.

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