I see this consistently - oaks, usually. Why not plant trees that are short lived and grow quickly (mulberry, tulip poplar, etc.) instead? And almost always the trees they plant never make it to adulthood as some other landscaper will come in, remove them, and plant newer, slow growing trees.

  • 1
    I'm with you on your point, but let's avoid planting mulberry trees in parking lots, okay? My deck is in full-swing "purple polka-dot poop" glory at the moment because of those gals. (Don't get me wrong, I love how much wildlife they attract - but purple poop... purple poop everywhere.) Jun 27, 2016 at 4:38
  • Conversely in the Netherlands in the growth period after WW2 fast-growing poplar trees were planted everywhere in new suburbs and along new highways, and now they're dying and their wood has a bad reputation and people say we should've planted more slow-growing trees. Jun 27, 2016 at 7:19
  • 3
    A mix of species is actually the best bet, but it requires long term thinking that's all too uncommon - slow, fast, medium, fast, slow... with a plan in mind to cut the fast trees as the others get bigger, and then later cut the medium when the slow ones get to the point that it's encroaching on their space.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 27, 2016 at 13:12
  • @PaulNardini There are sterile, non-berry bearing mullberries. :-)
    – figtrap
    Jun 27, 2016 at 14:13

2 Answers 2


I think this depends on the city and builders guidelines where you live. Where I live the standard tree in front of each new house was the Ash (Fraxinus) or the Linden. Cheap because they propagated easily and a fast grower. Oak trees and hard maples were usually an upgrade.

Sadly the Emerald Ash borer has decimated the Ash species which comprises up to one third of the tree stock in my city.

Your question implies that Oaks are slow growing which is not always the case. In my area a weedy tree can put on more than six inches a year of top growth but many oak species can do the same.

This site in missouri quotes growth rates of up to two feet a year for a number of species including oaks which I find astonishing but growth rates for trees vary widely depending on location, species and after care.

Most urban arborists understand that the best kind of trees to plant are a variety of species so one problem like the Emerald Ash Borer does not cause such a significant problem.

  • Maybe your cold winters keep them under control, but ash would be a terrible choice in the UK. Plant one, and get at hundreds of seedlings a year springing up everywhere the wind can blow the seeds.
    – alephzero
    Jun 27, 2016 at 3:44
  • Yes, late to leave out, early to drop leaves, lots of seeds but cheap to buy and fast to grow. That's all developers and some cities are interested in.
    – kevinskio
    Jun 27, 2016 at 9:52

What FUN!! You are incredibly observant!! One of the reasons I hated commercial work was that you sat at a table deciding what to plant, where to plant without being able to even go to the site. Deciding on types of trees and shrubs; number one priority was...what was on sale? Gross. Second, what would last for a long time before having to be replaced...(oaks, maples). I felt responsible for the HOMES given to the plants I chose from the nursery.

And THEN they stake these these these STICKS! Staking is so very wrong. Only to be used temporarily when using bare root plants or wind blown mature trees.

When I walk through a parking lot or development I CUT the straps of the stakes and around the tree and pull the dang mulch (non decomposed bark chips usually) away from the bottom of the trunk. Just doing those two things doubles, quadruples the life expectancy of any tree.

I stayed with residential. Cities were mind boggling retarded. Sorry, but true. Anyone can be a 'landscaper'. So sad. Landscraper...all one has to have is a mower, a weed wacker and a blower. Then people think these guys know what the hell they are talking about. So wow. So wrong. So much money is thrown at these idiots. When things don't go right, it is the client's fault, or the soil's fault, or better yet, the neighbor's fault.

  • I thought the stakes were there to limit damage by vandals. I often see trees snapped in half by hooligans. It's harder when you have three stakes surrounding the trees. Jun 27, 2016 at 5:42
  • What? That is interesting...vandals? If someone wants to vandalize newly planted trees, staking won't help one bit. Those stakes damage the trees just fine by themselves! Imagining that those stakes will be montitored and not allowed to girdle those trees the primary no no is staking trees reduce the movement of the tree in response to wind. That movement causes deep, stronger roots...especially the roots meant for support versus taking up chemicals and water. The difference between staked trees and non-staked trees is incredible. Thicker (easily twice to three times the caliper)...
    – stormy
    Jun 28, 2016 at 21:27
  • ...and virtually no chance of being blown over. We get these little 'sticks' to plant as baby trees and then stake them down so they barely move. Baby trees have little to no resistance to the wind and staking is just dumb. Trees will grow straight without OUR HELP. That movement by the wind causes that tree to grow its own support system BIG TIME. As well as THICKER trunks. This is a fact. A normal situation is some company comes in, by specifications does staking then no one thinks of those trees again...to take the staking and girdling stuff off. A big wind and duh, tree in half.
    – stormy
    Jun 28, 2016 at 21:30
  • You don't have the wind we have! No amount of staking is going to stop our trees from moving. Jun 28, 2016 at 21:32
  • How the heck do you think I don't know about wind sweetie? No amount of wind could blow a stick with a healthy, grown in clay (normal), root ball! The artificial 'movement' because of stakes is relative to being a normal tree free to move. The only trees that need staking are bare root and mature trees downed already. Check out the difference between staked trees and non staked trees. This is sort of like giving our babies bottles and formula. We humans THINK we know more than the natural world! If the new tree has a big head and small root ball, thin to allow air to flow through.
    – stormy
    Jun 28, 2016 at 21:38

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